Pick Wayne's Brain

January 29, 2010

A Just Verdict

Filed under: Commentary — Tags: , , , , , , , — Wayne A. Schneider @ 6:39 PM

In March 2009, a jury acquited Dr. George Tiller of 19 misdemeanor violations of Kansas’s abortion law. It took them less than a half hour to reach their verdict. Occasionally sitting in attendance at that trial was a man named Scott Roeder. Deeply troubled by the verdict, Mr. Roeder approached Dr. Tiller in his church a few months later and fired a bullet into his head. Today, in the same courtroom where Dr. Tiller was acquited, Mr. Roeder was found guilty of first degree murder. It took the jury 37 minutes to reach their verdict.

And the right verdict it was, too. There was no question at all about whether or not Mr. Roeder killed Dr. Tiller. He admitted it in open court. He was attempting to use, what lawyers call, an “affirmative defense.” He was attempting to show that he had a legally justifiable reason to kill Dr. Tiller, namely that he was trying to prevent the imminent murder (by abortion) of more babies. Of course, as Dr. Tiller was standing in a church when he was killed, he was not in the process of performing any abortions, so the idea that a death was “imminent” is absurd. And since Mr. Roeder admitted killing Dr. Tiller, it was pretty easy for the jury to find him guilty. He also admitted that he had been planning to kill Dr. Tiller for about ten years, so how he could justify his actions as preventing something “imminent” is another mystery.

What I cannot, for the life of me, understand is why deeply religious people who oppose the legality of abortion would resort to killing someone to make their point. If your objections to abortion are based on your religious beliefs that it is murder, then how can your religious beliefs also be used to justify the murder of any doctor who performs abortions? Don’t your religious beliefs tell you murder is wrong? If not, then how good a religion can it be?

Religion is supposed to provide a moral code for how to behave toward others. How does a society benefit by allowing its members to kill one another? While I am not a religious person myself, I have heard that there is something called a “Commandment” that says “Thou shall not murder.” (Some say it’s “kill,” some say it’s “murder.”) How is what Scott Roeder did not considered murder? Even if you believe that he believed he was saving lives by shooting Dr. Tiller in the head, how is it not considered murder? Do these religious beliefs that these people hold allow them to play God with the lives of others? I sure would like someone to show me where their religious books tell them that. Then I would like them to show me where the Law says that your religious beliefs allow you to kill people at will.

UPDATE: My good friend, Zooey, has some thoughts on this at TheZoo.


  1. Excellent, Wayne. I’m linking back to you. 🙂

    Comment by Zooey — January 29, 2010 @ 7:23 PM

  2. Oh silly Wayne…

    The Xtian religion permits murder because Christ is held to be the Son of God and God is a serial mass murderer who also encourages his faithful to kill in His name.
    Christ’s teachings of peace and compassion are inherently irrelevant and rendered null and void by God’s own authority and commandments: There is only one God and he commands that the child should ‘honor’ the parent.

    The Judeo-Christian religions license immorality whilst only pretending to do otherwise by the simple fact of dividing the world into the faithful and the infidel.

    Comment by 5th Etate — January 30, 2010 @ 12:34 AM

  3. Agreed!

    Comment by notesofasexiststayathomefather — January 31, 2010 @ 4:43 AM

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