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05/31/2009

We've feared the coming violence. And now...

by Jeremy Hooper

Today this happened:

Dr. George Tiller, a Kansas doctor whose clinic received national attention for performing late-term abortions, was shot to death as he entered his Wichita church on Sunday.
George Tiller Killed: Abortion Doctor Shot At Church [HuffPo]

Why does this matter to you on the gay rights front, regardless of your views on reproductive freedom/choice? Well, because this is the same George Tiller who the far-right have been using as a "culture war" pawn for the past few months in opposition to Kathleen Sebelius' appointment as Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. All of the usual anti-gay suspects have unabashedly stirred up rage about Tiller. Tony Perkins. Mat Staver. Concerned Women For America. Most all of the same birds who daily condemn us have been using the most simplistic, over-the-top demonizations in order to rhyme Tiller with "killer." Now someone who has swallowed those same sorts of condemnations seems to have responded in the form of a bullet.

Fight extremism in all of its forms!

*UPDATE: Oh, and just a point of information: Mr. Tiller was murdered in the lobby of his Wichita, KS, church. If only his version of God matched those who think they have all the answers, then he'd still be alive to breathe another breath. But no. Mr. Tiller is now dead, because of and despite of his own faith beliefs.

*UPDATE2: The notorious Army of God just put out a statement:

Picture 11-125

Gay (and G-A-Y) connection? Well in 2005, the head of that extremist outfit sent us the following anti-gay nastiness:

Picture 10-125

**UPDATE 3: We of course don't mean to imply that the mainstream social conservatives condone this violence.  At all.  We only mean to say that words have power, and thatthe right right's are often overheated, hyperbolic, and intensely personal. 

On the socially conservative agenda, there are two major planks: Gay rights and abortion.  In both fights, these social conservs present the other side not as a mere adversary, but rather as an all-out enemy.  And not only an enemy to them politically, but also an enemy to life, sanctity, family, traditional, morals, and, most of all, God.  So we can't help but see connections in terms of how the messages are received and interpreted by their intended audiences.  And we can't help but fear what this could mean for gay rights activists who take a stand.

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Your thoughts

When your words motivate people to commit acts of violence against anyone who disagrees with you or your religious beliefs, you are not simply practicing your faith, you are a jihadist.

Posted by: Rev. Steve | May 31, 2009 4:40:49 PM

Seems like they've moved on from "lying for God" to "killing for God".

Posted by: Mike in the Tundra | May 31, 2009 5:38:52 PM

They're desperate! That, coupled with their level of mental instability (aptitude/impairment/brain-damage), and their absolute belief in the farcical paradise (or bevy of virgins) that awaits them for carrying out god's will (jihad) MAKES THEM VERY DANGEROUS!

Be very vigilant, my friends. This one lunatic is still out there, and he is just one of many, and they feel perfectly justified in utilizing any means necessary to terrorize. And, more than justified, many of them feel obligated.

Posted by: Dick Mills | May 31, 2009 6:07:34 PM

ANY mainstream Christian church membership, organization, or community would condemn the Army of God's reaction to this murder NO MATTER WHAT THEY THINK ABOUT ABORTION. They do themselves no favors.

Posted by: Bruno | May 31, 2009 7:03:33 PM

Hypocrits. Someone "pro-life" taking a man's life.

Posted by: RainbowPhoenix | May 31, 2009 7:40:43 PM

Wait. Didn't we stop doing this around the 18th century? Christians killing people for God, I mean.

Posted by: Iris Caldor | May 31, 2009 8:36:13 PM

So the pro lifers are turning to murder.

Posted by: Callie | May 31, 2009 8:40:21 PM

The only relevance this has to gay people is that supporters of gay rights are usually of a certain political orientation that puts them in the pro-choice camp as well. I'm sorry to tell you that the LGBT community is more diverse than simply politically liberal pro-choice die-hard feminists. There are pro-life conservative readers of this blog too, and you alienate them by holding a late-term abortionist up as a martyr for the "coming violence", which you sinisterly imply could be related to violence against gay people.

Posted by: Alan Bennett | May 31, 2009 9:51:36 PM

Alan, Jeremy has a point when it comes to rhetoric. Webpages such as One News Now went over the top to demonize Tiller, just like they demonize lgbts. When you create a monster, you usually create folks who seek to kill the monster, whether that perceived monster be a physician who performed abortions or members of the lgbt community.

Posted by: a. mcewen | May 31, 2009 10:20:14 PM

Now hold on a second, Alan. I in no way suggested that the LGBT community is all pro-choice, and even made a note about how (In my view) this has gay rights implications REGARDLESS of one's views on abortion. And in fact, if you have read my five years of work, you will know that I have never -- NEVER -- weighed in on the abortion debate here, leaving my own views up to speculation!

The issue here is that overheated political rhetoric led to a man's murder. MURDER! The reality, borne out by FACT, is that the professional social conservatives have been demonizing Tiller all spring as a way of attacking Kathleen Sebelius. And many of these same people are also strident LGBT foes, who use equally harsh language in describing our figureheads. I heard it every day on Matt Barber/Mat Staver's now defunct radio show. It went back and forth from "Tiller the Killer" to Matt Barber's string of hyperbole about gay lives and loves. These words have power. And when they get so heated and personal, with the social conservatives telling their side that the [fill in the blank] are coming to get them, the potential for fallout is both real and frightening.

We have always known that these sorts of harsh attacks can lead to violence. If we act like the potential for violence is only isolated to one of the two most key "culture war" battles, then we are being negligent.

Posted by: G-A-Y | May 31, 2009 10:23:24 PM

I can see the connection, somewhat, if extremists think gay people can personally affect them by way of say, their children, they can incite violence against them.

But I can also see the differences. Fear of and violence against gay people is bred of ignorance, but no amount of education will cease the philosophical question of whether abortion takes a life.

What is the moral of the story then? Should readers take the side of the abortion providers against the pro-lifers, implicitly endorsing the view that abortion is not violence? Or is this blog post just impartial reporting?

Posted by: Alan Bennett | May 31, 2009 11:11:41 PM

"Should readers take the side of the abortion providers against the pro-lifers, implicitly endorsing the view that abortion is not violence? Or is this blog post just impartial reporting?"

I view that as a false choice, Alan. G-A-Y doesn't claim to be impartial in terms of the "culture war." But at the same time, there is nothing in this post that should make people see it as a sweeping "abortion providers" vs. "pro-lifers" (a term I request as unfair) debate. To me that's an unfair reduction.

Though mostly, I want you to take away what *you* get from it. So however you see it is valid, and I thank you for raising your own views/concerns.

Posted by: G-A-Y | May 31, 2009 11:24:31 PM

"but no amount of education will cease the philosophical question of whether abortion takes a life."

I beg to differ. There's philosophical arguments to be made against everything on God's green earth, homosexuality and the abstract meaning of life included. Also, LOL PHILOSOPHY.

"What is the moral of the story then? Should readers take the side of the abortion providers against the pro-lifers, implicitly endorsing the view that abortion is not violence? Or is this blog post just impartial reporting?"

Reading comprehension fail :(

Posted by: teapot | Jun 1, 2009 12:11:59 AM

Alan, it's very doubtful that all the readers of this blog fall in lockstep on all political views. We're certainly concerned with LGBT rights, but I'm certain there are many different opinions on abortion, global warming, the economy, international affairs, etc. However, I feel rather certain that we all do not favor murder. Nor, do I think it is out of line for Jeremy to warn us about the Army of God when the Army of God has been an outspoken foe of LGBT people.

Posted by: Mike in the Tundra | Jun 1, 2009 5:35:35 AM

"First thay came for the trade-unionest and I said nothing, for I was not a trade-unionest. Then thay came for the jews, and I said nothing, for I was not a jew. .... Then thay came for me, and their was no one left to speak for me."

Posted by: garth | Jun 1, 2009 6:48:55 AM

These Army of God freaks should be on some sort of terror watch list. Jeremy is right, I read an article way back about the signs to look out for when the right was losing it. This is one of the signs.

As the culture war heats up, and the right gets more desperate, as more and more states realize the true meaning of "equality", our homegrown all-American fruitbasket of jihadis (who love life and God so much they'll kill you for him) will only get nuttier, crazier, and more desperate.

Maybe now someone will do something about fiery rhetoric in the 'free speech' debate. When Limbaugh calls Sotomayor a racist, it incites the fringe element. When Pat Robertson says gay marriage will lead to having sex ducks, it incites lunatics (and delightful comedy spoofs).

They know their words have power. The AOG is GLEEFUL that Dr. Tiller was killed. That alone oughta be a crime. All these people should be rounded up and waterboarded.

Posted by: Taylor Siluwé | Jun 1, 2009 6:56:26 AM

What people don't understand about late-term abortions is that they're usually performed on patients who wanted to carry the baby to term, but had to terminate the pregnancy to save their own lives. I get the feeling people have some idea that the women who seek them were just sitting around for several months and then said, "Oh, darn! I forgot to have an abortion!"

Posted by: Bill S | Jun 1, 2009 8:03:13 AM

Fight extremism? You mean like murdering innocent babies? That kind of extremism? The fact is, a mass murderer was killed. How many dead babie's blood was on tiller's hand's? People find it wrong that he was killed, but nobody cares about his victims? That seems odd to me. Mourn for the dead babies, not the killer.

Posted by: Christopher Nelson | Jun 1, 2009 11:39:30 AM

To Christopher Nelson.

Every time you masturbate, you also kill hundreds of thousands of potential babies, so you have way more "dead babie's blood" on your hands (pun intended) than Tiller's.

Posted by: ---- | Jun 1, 2009 12:26:02 PM

Masterbating deals with sperm. You do not have a human being until conception. When the egg and sperm meet. Sperm is not a human being, a fetus is. Besides, who said that I masterbated?

Posted by: Christopher Nelson | Jun 1, 2009 1:43:14 PM

Actually, Christopher, Master Bating deals with a dominant person who possesses the Bating surname.

Masturbating deals with the thoroughly fun and cathartic exercise of stimulating genitals to the point of orgasm. And if you don't utilize this human gift, then boy, you're really missing out on something good.

Posted by: G-A-Y | Jun 1, 2009 2:24:24 PM

Oh great. Talk about hypocritical; a pro-lifer killing an abortionist. What we really need to make this even better is to give the killer a death sentence.

I can only imagine that the man who shot Tiller was acting under his own distorted version of beliefs being fed to him by his religion and whatever media outlets that may have coincided with those religious beliefs.

In my opinion; he acted no differently that an Al Qaeda follower or suicide bomber might have acted.

I'm not blaming religion per se, but sometimes when you mix ideology with an unstable mind these things happen.

Ironically, this does nothing to promote the so-called "Pro-Life" movement.

Whether you believe in a woman's right to choose or not; this is not the answer.

Posted by: Chris Ronk | Jun 1, 2009 4:52:31 PM

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Randall_Terry#Response_to_the_Tiller_murder

Randall Terry, who I never heard of before today, has a disgusting response to the murder.

Posted by: anon | Jun 1, 2009 7:47:26 PM

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