Guardian on Anti-Abortion Terrorism in the US:
Terror in the name of Jesus
Dr George Tiller’s murder underlines there is no common ground with anti-abortion zealots.
As of 30 May, abortion providers in America had experienced 15,124 acts of violence. On 31 May, the number rose to 15,125. Dr George Tiller was murdered at church in Wichita, Kansas. His wife, who was singing in the choir, was a witness. Tiller had been shot in 1993. His clinic has often been the target of violence and vandalism as one of only three places in the US where women could get late-term abortions, and he refused to turn his back on his patients.
The National Council of Catholic Bishops, the National Right to Life Committee, Operation Rescue, and other groups opposed to women’s reproductive health and privacy are almost all headed by men. In the 36 years since the supreme court decided Roe, followers of these and other groups have performed acts ranging from murder and attempted murder (26), acid attacks (108), bombings (41) and arson (175). Relatives are threatened and support staff attacked.
The question of the title is such an interesting one. Can “we” picture Jesus killing anyone (not just turning over tables of money changers)? There is something to the figure that seems anti-death/murder. But certainly this was not always the case as militant Jesus surely inspired Cruscading knights and others, armed Jesus.
I think Crusaders were sort of very uncomfortable about killing in the name of Jesus, weren’t they? They needed all sort of guarantees that their acts will receive timely absolution.
I don’t know about that M.E., I recall reading a history of the cusades and there was very little reticence. The big problem was getting nobles to leave their money-making lands. There certainly was absolution, but the actions of crusaders – and these are a great variety of persons covering an expanse of time – did not strike me at all of a Jesus-the-meek kind. Perhaps Nicola our Medievalist will come and chime in, but I seem to recall a rather thorough-going ideology of Christological warfare, the kind of thing that is necessary to support such an ardous and foreign series of conquests over time.
You’re probably right, I just remember that besides other hesitations there was a theological issue with killing and that church needed to come up with some sort of sleek justification for it.
Yeah, pretty early on in the religion scads of people started killing each other over the nature of the trinity. They haven’t really let up since then so far as I can tell. . . .