Wednesday, October 15, 2008

"Down in Wichita"

Gene Veith is one of evangelicalisms best thinkers. Dr. Veith is the Provost and Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College and the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary. He also contributes regularly to World Magazine and Tabletalk.

In a recent blog post Dr. Veith brings his typical clarity and precision to the issue of abortion. One of the things that stood out to me in this particular post was his mention of George Tiller the notorious abortionist in Wichita. Dr. Veith writes:

Down in Wichita, Kansas, there is a physician by the name of George Tiller. On his website he boasts that he has already performed 60,000 abortions, mostly late-term, and week after week he is killing 100 more unborn babies.

Dr. Tiller does not think of these fetuses as clusters of cancerous cells. He knows they are human because he baptizes some of them before he incinerates them in his own crematorium. You don’t baptize non-humans. Dr. Tiller knows that. He is a practicing Lutheran. His former congregation,Holy Cross of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, excommunicated him as an unrepentant sinner. But the Lutheran Church of the Reformation, which belongs to the ELCA, communes him.

Did I mention that he kills 100 human beings every week and has already done away with 60.000? Sixty thousand! In Nuremberg they hanged some fiends for murdering less than 60 –zero point one percent of Tiller’s toll.

Perhaps this little tale will give even non-believers pause if they have not discarded their conscience, known to Christians as the law God has written upon every man’s heart. One day, of this I am certain, this will indeed result in collective shame – and God knows what other horrible consequences.

You can read the entire post HERE.

Worth Reading...
God At Work
The Spirituality of the Cross
Reading Between the Lines
A Place to Stand


rmkton said...

Hi Todd,

Agree that abortion is abhorrent: It is difficult for me to fathom sometimes...I have taken part in anti-abortion rallies and have petitioned local legislators regarding their pro-abortion stance, yet recently I have been rethinking what we are attempting to accomplish thru legislative means.

If abortion is outlawed (or if Roe is overturned and the decision is sent back to states to decide) what is accomplished? Will it end abortion? I don't think anyone thinks that. We will criminalize young girls that get abortions or the ones that perform them at the girl's insistence to prevent her from hurting herself?

From a biblical/historical perspective, if abortion was so abhorrent, why didn't Jesus or Paul speak against it? It was certainly going on. (ref. Hippocratic Oath, 4 B.C.).

The question I raise here is not that I think abortion is a good is not, but I don't think the approach of most of the evangelical world (ie. thru the appointment of conservative Supreme Court Justices) is appropriate. I think it will be like prohibition in that it will just be driven underground. I think the redemptive approach is to look at the underlying reasons why women seek abortions (poverty, education, family structure, etc.) and try to do something about that. It will not end all abortions...nothing will...but it is a step that we can do that will have a tremendous impact.


Harley A. said...

Wow. Where to start..

Will it end abortion ? No

Will it go underground ? Yes, but to a much less extent and this is beside the point, anyway. What crime isn't underground?

Why didn't Jesus or Paul speak against it ? Again, beside the point. They didn't speak exhaustively on every topic immaginable, and they probably figured "do not murder" covered it pretty well.

Redemptive approach is not mutually exclusive to legislative approach - we should do both (and we do). Near Tiller's "clinic" is Choice's Medical Clinic where devoted Christians work with these girls and women to bring the light of Christ into the situation and many lives are spared. I support it regularly. But that doesn't get any press...

Women seek abortions for the same reason I sin - we are sinful. Poverty and lack of education don't cause abortion nor do they make it okay that a person chooses it. In fact, Roe vs. Wade has done more to "cause" abortion by making it "okay".

Point of fact: Abortion is against the law in the United States - there are murder statutes on all the books. Roe v. Wade was an unconstitutional usurping of power by Supreme Court justices that should have been impeached for what they did.

rmkton said...

Thanks Harley for responding...I think I can already see we are not going to see eye-to-eye on this topic either...I pretty much diagree with everything you have stated...except for the point that you support a clinic that provides an alternative to abortion...that I think is admirable.

Todd Pruitt said...


Well it will probably be no surprise that I disagree with you.

I honestly don't understand the position that we cannot overturn Roe until people's hearts change. Do you know of any law that is based on that criteria?

Would it make sense to have that attitude toward any other violent crime? (Abortion is a violent crime.)

We have laws against violent crime not simply because those laws are deterents. We have laws against violent crimes because it is moral and just to have those laws. Abortion ought to be illegal in our country not because it would stop every abortion but because abortion is evil.

If you ever get a chance, read "The Revenge of Conscience" by Dr. J. Budziszewski. Dr. B. is a prophesor of philosophy at University of Texas. He makes the argument that abortion is something you "can't not know is wrong." He makes a compelling argument.

Anyway America is more "pro-life" than it was in the early 1970's. This is an opportunity for God's people to speak to the culture with moral clarity.

rmkton said...

not surpised that you disagree with me...yet what are we really trying to accomplish here? Are we trying to pass laws or saves lives? Overturning Roe will not end abortion and there is no evidence to suggest that laws against abortion do so. So if you are happy with a law against abortion you would be satisfied with overturning Roe...if you want to save lives you won't be.

I also don't buy the argument that we ought to overturn it just because it is evil...if the destruction of human life is what is evil about it then simply overturning it with no real end to abortion does not solve the problem of why it is evil...this makes absolutely no sense whatsoever

Despite the fact that you and I may agree that abortion is a violent crime from a moral perspective...let's face it, a large majority of America does not. Even John McCain said that Roe would not be a litmus test in the appointment of Supreme Court justices and the most conservative justices on the bench (Scalia and Roberts) have affirmed that although the judgments in Roe were not sound the precedent stands and has stood the test of time.

I agree that we should try to create a situation where abortion would be minimized (it will never be stopped) but let's focus our efforts on something that we can really do...which is not legislative.

Todd Pruitt said...


How can you say that laws against abortion will not stop abortions? If this is true why have any laws at all? You are minimizing the reality that all laws reflect a set of moral values particularly those laws against violent crimes.

We will always have those among us who violate laws but this does not stop us from establishing and seeking to enforce laws.

I cannot imagine that you would say these things about any other violent crime. I can only conclude that you and I have a very different attitude about what abortion actually is.

rmkton said...

I can say that laws against abortion will not stop abortions by the history of abortion in Ireland. Irish women travelled to England to get an abortion when there were Irish laws against it. It is the same reasoning that laws against alcohol did not stop drinking. Laws may make it harder to get an abortion but in the case of the Irish laws there is no evidence that the legalization of abortion (or the outlawing of abortion for that matter) had any affect on the abortion rate (as well as it can be known). Interestingly the abortion rate in the U.S. has gone down signficantly in the U.S. since the 1970's to its lowest point ever...even when abortion is considered legal.

Harley A. said...

If a man has no problem with (nay, but vehemently supports) the murder of babies, what on Earth makes you think this man would truly give a rip about Darfur, the Congo, AIDS, etc... It is incongruent for him to do so. Now, he might hand-wave for political gain as he will for every other issue. About the only issue they really care much about are economic issues and they still mismanage those on a regular basis.

Abortion is not a "one-issue" issue - it is foundational to your world view. I don't understand why you don't grasp this.

And, to think I'm a big McCain supporter (or Bush for that matter) would be wrong. I can probably count on one hand anyone in Washington I could support.

I truly fear for this country - and that's not empty rhetoric. I mean, I have real tangible fear and feeling that the US is about to be rightfully judged for spitting in the face of God and promoting on a large scale perhaps the most despicable act imaginable.

At least the Israelites were passing their children through the fire in an attempt to appease a false God. And they were judged severly. We do it out of convenience...

rmkton said...


Your statement " We do it out of convenience..." is what I mean by oversimplification. Do you know anyone that has had an abortion? It can be truly agonizing...even years later. Yes there are those that do it out of convenience yet to broad brush it that way overstates the case.

I think non-Christians view us a ones who throw moral jabs from the abortion issue or homosexuality...but who never really get involved on a personal level. I think we are afraid that to be involved at that level will make us change our minds about our world view....I know it did mine.

Todd Pruitt said...


Clearly we think differently about the nature of abortion. You wouldn't say any of the things you are saying about burglery, for instance.

Crimes against armed robbery do not stop armed robbery. But there is no way to measure how much armed robbery is dettered by such laws.

Abortion is agonizing precisely because it is evil. Only a very small percentage of abortions are preformed to save the mother's life. The vast majority of abortions are performed for convenience. They are performed to avoid embarrasment. They are performed because the parent(s) can't "afford" it. They are performed because it will call for too much of a change in the parent(s) lifestyle.

I have known many people both teenagers and adults who have had abortions. It should be agonizing. They have had their child burned, poisoned, or torn apart in their womb. I truly fear for the one to whom this is not agonizing. Abortion is something we can't not know is wrong.

The fact that abortion wounds the conscience should not change in anyway the fact that it was an evil deed. That agony is CONFIRMATION that the deed was evil.

That is not to say that we should not have compassion for the one who has had an abortion. As a youth pastor and pastor I know what it is to minister to people who have had abortions. I know what it is to assure them of God's blessed forgiveness in Jesus Christ.

I also know that for healing to take place there must be repentance and acknowlegment of wrongdoing. This is true for all sin. But the sin of abortion carries with it a great deal of baggage. And it should. It is a violent crime ending in the death of the most vulnerable.

Todd Pruitt said...

Wow! I just noticed a few misspellings in my last comment. I was typing fast. Plus, I'm not very smart.