Killing in the name of being pro-life is an oxymoron. I said as much 15 years ago on Bill Maher’s TV show back when it was on ABC.
Every Christian and every pro-life leader I know stands four square against what alleged shooter Robert Lewis Dear did on Friday at a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood. As of this writing, his motives are unclear at best.
The first victim killed was a pro-life, part-time pastor, police officer Garrett Swasey. He died protecting life.
For this column, I asked a number of Christian, pro-life leaders to provide me a statement. I received many comments. Here are many responses:
*Dr. Robert Jeffress, Senior Pastor of First Baptist of Dallas: ”What this Colorado gunmen did was horrible and there is no justification for it—just as there is no justification for the slaughter of 50 million innocent children through abortion since Roe v. Wade. Murder is murder.”
*Father Frank Pavone, the director of Priests for Life, said, “The hardest part of the phrase ‘respect every human life’ is the word ‘every.’ Violence isn’t a solution to any problem.”
*Troy Newman, president of Operation Rescue: “At the heart and soul of the pro-life movement is the ethical standard that all human beings are created in the image and likeness of God and deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. Therefore violence against other human beings is never an acceptable pro-life ethic.”
*Robert Spencer, director of Jihad Watch: “In contrast to the broad approval of Islamic jihad among various Islamic sects and schools of law, no Church, no sect, no denomination, no Christian group has ever approved of doing evil to prevent evil. Killing in the name of pro-life is the very definition of moral inversion and ethical myopia.”
*”Violence of any kind is abhorrent. Taking a life in the cause of life is deeply pathological.” Janice Shaw Crouse, Ph.D., author and columnist.
*Dr. George Grant, author of the classic expose on Planned Parenthood, Grand Illusions: “The Gospel calls believers to be a light in the darkness, to be champions of life and hope and love in the midst of this poor, fallen world. Violence of any sort therefore has no place in our work or our witness. The pro-life cause is sorely damaged every time a zealot confuses revolution for reformation.”
*Jennifer Kennedy Cassidy, co-host of [D. James] Kennedy Classics: “The incident that occurred at the Planned Parenthood Facility in Colorado Springs is a tragedy. Unfortunately, the ‘new tolerance’ in our country, I feel, is contributing to all the violence that is happening of late. We have lost respect for differing views and it is fueling violent demonstrations. What this ‘extremist’ did does not reflect the values and views of the pro-life movement—we stand for life and liberty. As someone who is pro-life, I would never condone the actions taken by this ‘fanatic.’ It’s time that the American people speak up and vote their conscience, and when they do, it needs to be respected and enforced—judges and courts should not be over-stepping their bounds and enforcing their opinions over the American people.”
*Chelsen Vicari, Evangelical Action Director, Institute on Religion and Democracy: “The very essence of the pro-life movement is the belief that every life is a precious gift from our Creator. Every life. So our role as pro-lifers and Christians is not to induce more violence, but to peacefully advocate on behalf of vulnerable, innocent lives in the name of compassion. Violence in the name of the pro-life movement only perpetuates the evil we work to erase.”
*Bill Donohue, President of the Catholic League: “The intentional killing of innocent persons is never justified. This is an unremarkable position for pro-life Christians to take, though it is unfortunately problematic for those in the abortion industry.”
*Deacon Keith Fournier, founder of the Common Good Alliance: “Robert Lewis Dear committed three murders on Friday, November 27, 2015 at the Planned Parenthood facility in Colorado Springs. Murdering the innocent is intrinsically evil. It has been condemned by everyone who supports the fundamental human right to life from conception to natural death. Efforts to attempt to connect these evil acts with the Right to Life movement are pernicious propaganda and must also be condemned.”
*Dr. Michael Milton, CEO of Faith for Living: “Vigilantism is not only ethically and morally reprehensible, but the senseless violence and bloodshed that we witnessed in Colorado Springs is wicked in the sight of Almighty God. We lament the continued violence in the land, call for concerted prayer by the Church, and plead with all of our political leaders and public policy professionals to address the escalating crises of mental health care that is the sad and undeniable common denominator in these tragedies.”
*David Gibbs III, founder/director of the National Center for Life and Liberty: “Any stand for life should be done the right way with a right spirit. For someone to violate the Ten Commandments and intentionally kill in the name of life is wrong and puts a wrong spirit before a watching world that expects compassion, love, and the protection of innocent life from the pro-life community.”
*Danita Kilcullen, co-leader of the Ft. Lauderdale (the nation’s longest-lasting, continuing) Tea Party: “It appears by most accounts that once again we have a shooter who is mentally ill and left by society. Regardless, violent incidents such as this recent one at an abortion clinic in Colorado Springs are horribly wrong and solve nothing. Additionally, it gives the abortion industry a reason to cry ‘victim.’”
*Rev. Dr. Rob Schenck, President of Faith and Action in the Nation’s Capitol: “Acts of violence against innocent, unarmed victims is sinful, cowardly, and ant-life. This case also points to the urgency of protecting society from pathologically dangerous people by addressing their mental health needs and doing what is necessary to prevent them from harming themselves and others. ‘Thou shalt not kill’ has two sides: Prevent murder and promote life.”
*Donna Rice Hughes, President of Enough is Enough: “Returning evil for evil is evil and is never justified. The recent attack on a PP clinic is a crime against humanity and is completely antithetical to the pro-life movement which fights for the life and dignity of unborn children. We must defend the unalienable God ordained rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all Americans, born and unborn, friend or foe.”
*Ken Ham, president of Answers in Genesis: “Bible-believing Christians are naturally pro-life. In Genesis 1, we’re taught that all people are made in God’s image, and that’s why we at AiG speak out against abortion and also against the evil madman who killed three people at the abortion facility.”
*Mathew D. Staver, founder/director of Liberty Counsel: “The man who committed murder at the Colorado abortion clinic was not pro-life. He was a deranged person who identifies himself as a woman. His actions speak only to his mentally deranged state and have nothing to do with the pro-life movement.”
*Dr. Ted Baehr, founder/director of Movieguide: “The heart of being pro-life is loving our neighbor, no matter what age, and loving our neighbor’s Creator God, who loves our neighbor so much He redeemed us and took the penalty for our transgressions. Pro-life love manifest itself in tangible ways—love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, and self-control. While hate comes to steal, kill and destroy, those who are pro-life come in the name of Jesus Christ to set our neighbors free so they can enjoy an abundant life.”
*Alex McFarland, Christian apologist: “My heart breaks for the victims and families impacted by the deplorable actions of Colorado shooter Robert Lewis Dear. This killer should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. The immoral deeds of this evil man in no way represent the convictions of those who, like America’s Founders, know that life is a sacred gift from Almighty God.”
*Dr. Peter Lillback, president of Westminster Theological Seminary: “It is a deeply ironic tragedy when a practitioner of abortion is slain by an alleged pro-life gunman to vindicate the principle of life. The commitment to the sanctity of life implies two irrevocable principles concerning ultimate justice and earthly justice: 1. A belief in ultimate justice embraces the profound truth of the Scriptures—‘”Vengeance is mine,” says the LORD, “I will repay.”’ And 2. Earthly justice is to be addressed by the work of the courts and not by vigilantes. When earthly justice is delayed by courts that fail to heed the wisdom of the LORD to protect innocent life, the LORD still has the last and final word of true justice. Faith is willing to wait for God’s pro-life retribution. The lex talionis, ‘an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth’ can never be fully requited in a fallen world even by the best of judicial process. But justice will be satisfied. Our Founders believed this and appealed to it their Declaration of Independence. Having asserted that we have been endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights that include LIFE as well as liberty and the pursuit of happiness, they subsequently appealed to the ‘Supreme Judge of the world’ for the rectitude of their commitment to defend life and other God-given rights. This is the posture that the pro-life position must also take. The test for the rectitude of our actions is simple and direct. Can we stand before God and declare that anyone has the right in His name to be a murderer and so take human life without due process to honor His name? The resounding cry of the justice upholding the sanctity of life declares, ‘NO!’ Both the unjust murderer and the unjust taker of unborn life will give account to the final and perfect justice of Almighty God. No sole executioner can ever act on behalf of God to satisfy justice for the taking of innocent life.”
*Bill Federer, bestselling author and speaker: “Crimes against innocent victims are condemned, but so is the spinning of crimes to promote a political agenda. This administration has a political agenda of gun control as announced by the President in an interview with Bill Simmons of HBO as his ‘top issue’ in the next year. How are agenda’s implemented? To answer this, one must understand Machiavellianism, which is defined by Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary as: ‘…the view that politics is amoral and that any means however unscrupulous can justifiably be used in achieving political power.’ BusinessDictionary.com defines ‘Machiavellian as: Conduct or philosophy based on (or one who adopts) the cynical beliefs of Niccolò Machiavelli (1469-1527) whose name…is synonymous with deception and duplicity in management and statecraft. Born in Florence (Italy), Machiavelli was its second chancellor and (in 1513) wrote the book “The Prince” that discusses ways in which the rulers of a nation state can gain and control power…and condones opportunistic and unethical ways of manipulating people.’ This is the creating or capitalizing of crises to consolidate control, or as the President’s former political advisor Rahm Emmanuel put it, ‘You never want to let a serious crisis go to waste.’”
*Dr. George Grant also sent in a longer statement: “The message of the Gospel is that the Lord God, who is the giver of life (Acts 17:25), the fountain of life (Psalm 36:9), the defender of life (Psalm 27:1), the prince of life (Acts 3:15), and the restorer of life (Ruth 4:15), did not leave men to languish hopelessly in the clutches of sin and death. He not only sent us the message of life (Acts 5:20) and the words of life (John 6:68), He sent us the light of life as well (John 8:12). He sent us His only begotten Son–the life of the world (John 6:51)–to break the bonds of death (1 Corinthians 15:54-56). Jesus “tasted death for everyone” (Hebrews 2:9), actually “abolishing death” for our sakes (2 Timothy 1:10) and offering us new life (John 5:21). Thus, all those who have received Christ are to be champions of life, for we have been made “the sweet savor of life” (2 Corinthians 2:16).”
*Tony Perkins said the following in a Family Research Council press release, issued after the incident: “While the investigation into the shooting at the Planned Parenthood center continues, regardless of what the motive is determined to be, we strongly condemn this violence. As the target of domestic terrorism inspired by the Southern Poverty Law Center, the staff of the Family Research Council empathize with all the victims of this violence. All of us at the Family Research Council join with the pro-life movement in praying for the injured officers and victims of these deplorable acts. Only through peaceful means—not violence—can we truly become a nation that once again values all human life, born and unborn.”
*Dr. Michael Brown, author and radio host, responded to me: “I tweeted these statements out shortly after the news broke: ‘In light of today’s news about a shooter at a Planned Parenthood, we state again that this is NOT the way of Jesus or the way of pro-life.’ Then, as I began to see the mounting charges of ‘Christian terrorism’ or ‘Christian extremism,’ I tweeted, ‘In light of some crazy rhetoric here re: pro-lifers wanting to kill abortion doctors, if that was the case, 1,000’s would be killed by now.’”
One Christian leader declined my request for a statement, noting that we in the pro-life movement don’t need to apologize for this type of event “any more than environmentalists needed to put out statements denouncing violence after the Unabomber.” Duly noted.
Pro-lifers and Christians denounce such violence as Robert Lewis Dear allegedly engaged in. We are reminded once again of what God’s Wisdom says in the Bible: “All those that hate me love death.”