Kansas abortion doc killed in church; suspect held

I normally do not do posts like this but things like this really got me going.  An abortion doctor going to Church was killed at Church.  What a contradiction for a Christian and my faith. To kill a person.  A church where sinners are SUPPOSED to be attending.  Oddly this is the same city that had the serial BTK killer a few years ago get captured and they found out he was the laymen in the Church.  The Lutheran Church the BTK killer attended, I am thankful,  stood behind him through all of it.  I hope this did not happen in the same Church.

Church and Jesus are meant to attract sinners so we can start the process of sanctification.  Sinners need to be challenged but feel safe at Church so they can develop the process of Holiness.

WICHITA, Kan. – Dr. George Tiller, one of the nation’s few providers of late-term abortions despite decades of protests and attacks, was shot and killed Sunday in a church where he was serving as an usher.

The gunman fled, but a 51-year-old suspect was detained some 170 miles away in suburban Kansas City three hours after the shooting, Wichita Deputy Police Chief Tom Stolz said.

Although Stolz refused to release the man’s name, Johnson County sheriff’s spokesman Tom Erickson identified the detained man as Scott Roeder. He has not been charged in the slaying and was expected to be taken to Wichita for questioning.

There was no immediate word of the motive Tiller’s assailant. But the doctor’s violent death was the latest in a string of shootings and bombings over two decades directed against abortion clinics, doctors and staff.

Long a focus of national anti-abortion groups, including a summer-long protest in 1991, Tiller was shot in the foyer of Reformation Lutheran Church, Stolz said. Tiller’s attorney, Dan Monnat, said Tiller’s wife, Jeanne, was in the choir at the time.

The slaying of the 67-year-old doctor is “an unspeakable tragedy,” his widow, four children and 10 grandchildren said in statement. “This is particularly heart-wrenching because George was shot down in his house of worship, a place of peace.”

The family said its loss “is also a loss for the city of Wichita and women across America. George dedicated his life to providing women with high-quality health care despite frequent threats and violence.”

Stolz said all indications were that the gunman acted alone, although authorities were investigating whether he had any connection to anti-abortion groups.

Tiller’s Women’s Health Care Services clinic is one of just three in the nation where abortions are performed after the 21st week of pregnancy. The clinic was heavily fortified and Tiller often traveled with a bodyguard, but Stolz said there was no indication of security at the church Sunday.

Anti-abortion groups denounced the shooting and stressed that they support only nonviolent protest. The movement’s leaders fear the killing could create a backlash just as they are scrutinizing U.S. Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor, whose views on abortion rights are not publicly known.

“We are shocked at this morning’s disturbing news that Mr. Tiller was gunned down,” Troy Newman, Operation Rescue‘s president, said in a statement. “Operation Rescue has worked for years through peaceful, legal means, and through the proper channels to see him brought to justice. We denounce vigilantism and the cowardly act that took place this morning.”

President Barack Obama said he was “shocked and outraged” by the murder. “However profound our differences as Americans over difficult issues such as abortion, they cannot be resolved by heinous acts of violence,” he said.

At Tiller’s church, Adam Watkins, 20, said he was sitting in the middle of the congregation when he heard a small pop at the start of the service.

“We just thought a child had come in with a balloon and it had popped, had gone up and hit the ceiling and popped,” Watkins said.

Another usher came in and told the congregation to remain seated, then escorted Tiller’s wife out. “When she got to the back doors, we heard her scream, and so we knew something bad had happened,” Watkins said.

He said the service continued even after an associate pastor announced that Tiller had been injured. “We were just really shocked,” he said. “We were kind of dumbfounded. We couldn’t really believe it had happened.”

Tiller had in the past endured threats and violence. A protester shot Tiller in both arms in 1993, and his clinic was bombed in 1985. More recently, Monnat said Tiller had asked federal prosecutors to step up investigations of vandalism and other threats against the clinic out of fear that the incidents were increasing and that Tiller’s safety was in jeopardy. Stolz, however, said police knew of no threats connected to the shooting.

In early May, Tiller had asked the FBI to investigate vandalism at his clinic, including cut wires to surveillance cameras and damage to the roof that sent rainwater pouring into the building.

In 1991, the Summer of Mercy protests organized by Operation Rescue drew thousands of anti-abortion activists to this city for demonstrations marked by civil disobedience and mass arrests.

Tiller began providing abortion services in 1973. He acknowledged abortion was as socially divisive as slavery or prohibition but said the issue was about giving women a choice when dealing with technology that can diagnose severe fetal abnormalities before a baby is born.

Nancy Keenan, president of abortion-rights group NARAL Pro-Choice America, issued a statement praising Tiller’s commitment.

“Dr. Tiller’s murder will send a chill down the spines of the brave and courageous providers and other professionals who are part of reproductive-health centers that serve women across this country. We want them to know that they have our support as they move forward in providing these essential services in the aftermath of the shocking news from Wichita,” Keenan said.

After the 1991 protests, Tiller kept mostly to his heavily guarded clinic, although in 1997 he opened it to three tours by state lawmakers and the media. He wore a button that read “Trust Women.”

The clinic is fortified with bulletproof glass, and Tiller hired a private security team to protect the facility. Once outside the clinic, Tiller was routinely accompanied by a bodyguard.

At a recent trial, he told jurors that he and his family have suffered years of harassment and threats and that he knew he was a target of anti-abortion protesters.

Federal marshals protected Tiller during the 1991 Summer of Mercy protests, and he was protected again between 1994 and 1998 after another abortion provider was assassinated and federal authorities reported finding Tiller’s name on an assassination list.

Tiller remained prominent in the news, in part because of an investigation begun by former Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline, an abortion opponent.

Prosecutors had alleged that Tiller had gotten second opinions from a doctor who was essentially an employee of his, not independent as state law requires. A jury in March acquitted Tiller of all 19 misdemeanor counts.

“I am stunned by this lawless and violent act, which must be condemned and should be met with the full force of law,” Kline said in a statement. “We join in lifting prayer that God’s grace and presence rest with Dr. Tiller’s family and friends.”

10 thoughts on “Kansas abortion doc killed in church; suspect held

  1. josiahe

    Please, before you answer, watch the video at http://www.abortionno.org

    Let me ask you a question ….. If you’d have had a chance to kill Hitler, knowing what he was doing, would you have?

    Would the one who did, be considered a hero? Is killing a killer wrong? It’s easy to be self-righteous; these are the hard questions. Easy to condemn; but what about those who watch and do nothing?

  2. centralityofthegospel Post author

    It doesnt matter. I have seen these videos before and have a great understanding of what abortion is. God is sovereign and his commands are absolute. Animals killing animals. Sinners killing sinners. People killing people.

    The problem I have is all of this was to fix the here and now. None of this had an eye toward the eternal. None of this had an affect on the eternal. Christians need to remain fixed on the eternal. As a matter of fact, this act probably damaged the eternal since it makes Christians look like they are hypocrites!

    2 Cor 4
    17For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

  3. centralityofthegospel Post author

    Steve, I see he WAS shot at a Lutheran Church… but not the same one as Dennis Rader.

  4. centralityofthegospel Post author

    I completely agree abortion is a huge tragedy. However, humanity has a number of deal breaker sins… a kind of singradation scale if you will … that God hjimself needs to be the judge of and not man.

    I have read a number of BLOGS regarding this. Most of which are much harsher on tyhe doctor than the killer of the doctor. I, however, am taking the stance of Jesus toward the pharisees in regard to the man killing the doctor.

    Matthew 23

    13″Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the kingdom of heaven in men’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.[c]
    15″Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as you are.

  5. centralityofthegospel Post author

    Sadly, one person typing in a search engine item today to get to my BLOG typed in the name of the person who killed the doctors followed by “hero” in the search engine.


  6. theoldadam

    There are many liberal Lutheran churches (usually associated with the ELCA)

    It is a shame what has happened in many of these churches that have thrown God’s law overboard.

  7. centralityofthegospel Post author

    Actually, very proud of Dennis Raders Lutheran Church to stand behind him but yet not condone his actions. Many Churches would have ostracized him or just wanted to silently forget about him.

    I believe a southern baptist Church would have a much tougher time doing this.

    My ex Lutheran Pastor in Rochester, MN I know continues to visit a double homicide person in prison from the congregation twice a year.

  8. theoldadam

    Loving a convicted criminal is great.

    But condoning someone’s sin is another thing altogether.

    The ELCA has crossed the line in many respects by throwing out the doctrine of sin, and not holdong up God’s law.

    Remember, Jesus said, “repent and believe”

    Sometimes we remove that first word too quickly in an attempt to not be judgemental.

  9. centralityofthegospel Post author

    The Old Adam lives! That WHY we need continual repentance.

    As I look across the landscape of Christian postings on this topic… most of them, as I do, condemn Dr. Tiller. Almost none of them condemn the shooter.

    I think this is sad! Because the damage the shooter has done to the Church has vast and far outreach to the message that Jesus wants to send to the Church and the Gospel message.

  10. theoldadam

    “Because the damage the shooter has done to the Church has vast and far outreach to the message that Jesus wants to send to the Church and the Gospel message.”

    That is what many people do not realize.

    Great point, Jon

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