Despicable murderer Eric Rudolph gets his due:
An unrepentant Eric Rudolph gave an impassioned defense of his murderous bombing of a Birmingham abortion clinic Monday as a judge sentenced him to two life sentences and victims confronted him in court for the first time.
The wife of a police officer killed in the blast and a nurse maimed in the storm of shrapnel described him as a cowardly, bumbling American terrorist.
“I faced five pounds of dynamite and hundreds of nails, yet I survived,” said the nurse, Emily Lyons. “Do I look afraid? You damaged my body, but you did not create the fear you sought.”
“In the name of faith, you hate,” said U.S. District Judge Lynwood Smith, who imposed the life terms worked out in a plea deal. “For the professed goal of saving human life, you killed. Those are riddles I cannot resolve.”
While it would be profoundly unfair to directly link Eric Rudolph to mainstream anti-abortion activism, it is important to recognize the impact the rhetoric of the anti-abortion lobby and how it may have impacted the behavior of this deranged individual. From Rudolph’s prepared statement back in April:
Abortion is murder. And when the regime in Washington l0galized, sanctioned and legitimized this practice, they forfeited their legitimacy and modal authority to govern. At various times in history men and women of good conscience have had to decide when the lawfully constituted authorities have overstepped their moral bounds and forfeited their right to rule…
Because I believe that abortion is murder, I also believe that force is justified and in an attempt to stop it…
However, if you do recognize abortion is murder and that unborn children should be protected anal you still insist that force is unjustified to stop abortion, then you can be none other than cowards standing idly by in the face of the worst massacre in human history.
There are those who would say to me that the system in Washington works. They say that the pro life forces are making progress, that eventually Rob v. Wade will be overturned, that the culture of life will ultimately win over the majority of Americans and that the horror of abortion will be outlawed…
I ask these peaceful Christian law abiding Pro Life citizens, is there any point at which all of the legal remedies will not suffice and you would fight to end the massacre of children? How many decades have to pass, how many millions have to die? Is there any point when the cries of the children will not go unanswered? I think that your inaction after three decades of slaughter is a sufficient answer to all of these questions…
Along with abortion, another assault upon the integrity of American society is the concerted effort to legitimize the practice of homosexuality. Homosexuality is an aberrant sexual behavior, and as such I have complete sympathy and understanding for those who are suffering from this condition…
This effort is commonly known as the homosexual agendas. Whether it is gay marriage, homosexual adoption, hate crimes laws including gays, or the attempt to introduce a homosexual normalizing curriculum into our schools, all of these efforts should be ruthlessly opposed…
After laying low for a year, I succeeded in making operational a command detonated focused device that would greatly reduce the risk for handing innocent civilians when carrying out these operations. Over a million human beings had died in the past year, and as the anniversary of Roe v. Wade approached, the idea was to send yet another message to the killers and those who protected them…
I had nothing personal against Lyons and Sanderson. They were targeted for what they did, not who they were as individuals…
While Rudolph’s behavior and murderous rampages were well beyond the mainstream, his language is not considered extreme when compared to the day to day rhetoric employed by those within the mainstream anti-abortion lobby.
Abortion is Murder:
Eric Rudolph, April 2005: “I believe that abortion is murder, I also believe that force is justified and in an attempt to stop it..”
Eric Rudolph, July 2005: “What they did was participate in the murder and dismemberment of upward of 50 children a week,” he said. Abortion is murder, Rudolph said, adding: “I believe that deadly force is indeed justified in an attempt to stop it.”
James Dobson, January 2003: “Abortion is murder. These are not matters of opinion.”
Randall Terry, May 2005: “ABORTION IS MURDER. It is the deliberate destruction of a judicially innocent human life in a time of peace.”
Operation Rescue, current: “We hold true to the great and historic creeds of our Christian faith: the Apostolic Creed, the Nicene Creed, and the Athanasian Creed. We reject all modern heresy and apostasies, including the ?Apostolic Mantle? doctrine. Furthermore, we assert that mankind is created in the image of God Almighty. Because of this, we assert that all violent assaults upon innocent human life defy the revealed will of God. Those assaults that end an innocent human life are murder.”
Judge William Pryor, 2002: “Abortion is murder, and Roe v. Wade is an abominable decision.”
And, as a truly American testament to the mainstreaming of this rhetoric, bumper stickers. Again, the belief that abortion itself is murder is not one that is problematic (from the standpoint of excessive rhetoric and the results of said speech). Millions of decent people deeply feel that abortion is murder. I, myself, do not view abortion favorably, and will do my level best to make sure I do nothing to support the practice. The problem is when the rhetoric is so pitched, so heated, that it leads to extra-legal behavior and violence. What happens when the abortion is murder rhetoric takes the next step?
Dehumanizing Abortion Providers:
Eric Rudolph, April 2005: “I had nothing personal against Lyons and Sanderson. They were targeted for what they did, not who they were as individuals…”
Paul Hill, August 2003: “It’s as though a machine gunner is taking aim on bound peasants, huddled before a mass grave, and you are forbidden to stop him. In much the same way, the abortionist’s knife is pressed to the throat of the unborn, and you are forbidden to stop him. It’s as though the police are holding a gun on you, and forcing you to submit to murder— possibly the murder of your own child or grandchild.”
Randall Terry, May 2005: “This is not killing in war. This is not an accident. This is not manslaughter. This is not self-defense. This is not the execution of a capital offender.
It is the cold, calculated murder of a human child for money by an abortionist, with forethought and malice. Abortionists are little more than hired assassins capitalizing on the distress of pregnant women.”
EAEC, current: “While those who condone the murder of innocent babies like to label themselves as “pro choice,” the FACT is, they are ‘pro murder of innocent babies.'”
Operation Save America, January 2001: “There were 12 abortion mills in Dallas in 1988 when we first began this ministry,” said Rev. Benham, “Today there are only six. The battle for the lives of little boys and girls is being won on the streets. We give all praise to God.”
Representative Chris Smith (R-NJ), 2004: “Women wounded by abortion – like actress Jennifer O’Neill, singer Melba Moore, civil rights activist Dr. Alveda King, niece of Dr. Martin Luther King, and co-founder of the National Silent No More Awareness Campaign, Georgette Forney – have called on us to listen to their heart wrenching stories and take seriously our moral duty to protect women and children from the predators who ply their lethal trade in abortion mills throughout the land.”
Eric Rudolph, April 2005: “Two attacks were carried out in the winter of 1997. The first in January was an abortion mill (Northside Family Planning). The second was a homosexual establishment (The Otherside Lounge). The abortion mill was closed that day but occasionally there was staff on hand to clean their blood-stained equipment, and these minions and the facility itself were the targets of the first device. The second device placed at the scene was designed to target agents of the Washington government.”
Greg Cunningham, CBR, 1998: “The man who organized the week-long display said he would make no apologies for the Holocaust comparison. ‘Abortion is genocide. That’s the whole point,’ said Gregg Cunningham, director of the Los Angeles-based Center for Bio-Ethical Reform [CBR].”
Again, these are just a few samples, and I really don’t need to provide more. A concerted effort has been made to dehumanize the opposition, to label abortion as genocide, and to color those who support abortion as murderers, killers, and the like. Along with the rhetoric, non-violent calls for action are made. Unfortunately, psychopaths and sociopaths do not always stay within the parameters of those non-violent calls to action, and take matters into their own hands.
Borderline and Violent Calls to Action:
Paul Hill, Why I Shot an Abortionist,”: “When I first appeared on Donahue, I asked the audience to suspend judgment as to whether the action had been wise, but I took the position that Griffin’s killing of Dr. Gunn was justified. I later realized, however, that using the force necessary to defend the unborn gives credibility, urgency, and direction to the pro-life movement which it has lacked and which it needs in order to prevail.
I realized that using force to stop abortion is the same means that God has used to stop similar atrocities throughout history. In the book of Esther, for instance, Ahasuerus, king of Persia, passed a law in 473 B.C. allowing the Persians to kill their Jewish neighbors. But the Jews did not passively submit; their uses of defensive force prevented a calamity of immense proportions.
I realized that a large number of very important things would be accomplished by my shooting another abortionist in Pensacola.
– This would put the pro-life rhetoric about defending born and unborn children equally into practice.”
Paul Hill Action Statement: We, the undersigned, declare the justice of taking all godly action necessary to defend innocent human life including the use of force. We proclaim that whatever force is legitimate to defend the life of a born child is legitimate to defend the life of an unborn child. We assert that if Michael Griffin did in fact kill David Gunn, his use of lethal force was justifiable provided it was carried out for the purpose of defending the lives of unborn children. Therefore, he ought to be acquitted of the charges against him.
Randall Terry, date unknown: “If you believe it’s murder, act like it’s murder!”
Central Illinois Right to Life, explaining Michael Griffin’s behavior: Michael Griffin may be delusional, but delusion is often born of frustration, and frustration is an inevitable by product of an increasingly Tyrannical Society that is devoid of Truth, lacking in Moral Leadership and impervious to Democratic Change.
As for pictures of mutilated babies, the victims of abortion, that’s not delusion, that’s reality!
Rev. David Trosch, head of St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, advocating the murder of abortion providers: “Michael Griffin has used a method which is unfortunate, to say the least, but I can’t go against him for doing it.”
Trosch is an intense man with a serious, unchanging expression on his face, and a man with an unchanging issue on his mind — abortion.
For the moment, Trosch says, he has no plans to kill a doctor himself. He has “only remotely” thought about it, he said.
“It’s not part of a role of a priest normally to do such a thing,” he said. “It’s not my calling, you might say. My profession is a teaching profession, essentially.”
Still, Trosch wouldn’t say with absolute certainty he’d never kill a doctor.
While Trosch said he has never told anyone else to kill a doctor, he casually acknowledged that the advertisement could have incited people to kill.
“It doesn’t bother me,” he said.
Killing a doctor is justifiable, Trosch claims, if the killer is trying to save the life of babies. That is a defensible position, he contends. It’s like killing a criminal before he kills you or your friend. Or it’s like killing people in wartime to serve a greater good.”
Rev. Trosch, on shooting pharmacists: “According to the Rev. David Trosch, even pharmacists might eventually become targets. “I would see no problem with shooting a pharmacist” who provided a “morning-after pill” to women who seek to terminate their pregnancies. Trosch, in a July 16 letter that predicted the “massive killing of abortionists and their staffs,” pointedly warned that clinic defenders and reproductive- rights activists “will be sought out and terminated as vermin are terminated.”
While there are many more quotes I could include from the fringe, you get the message. The point of this post is not to smear the millions of Americans who truly believe abortion is wrong, and who work through non-violent means to achieve their goal. The overwhelming majority of the leadership in the right-to life movement has condemned this sort of violence.
However, it is important to recognize that the careless rhetoric being bandied about by those on the pro-life side can have disastrous outcomes (here is a brief, albeit out of date, summary of violence at abortion clinics). Most recently, the rhetoric has reached a fevered pitch in certain quarters referring to any court decision as examples of ‘judicial tyranny, ‘judicial activism,’ or ‘legislating from the bench.’
Tom DeLay, the House Majority Leader, stated in regards to the Terri Schiavo case, that “the time will come for the men responsible for this to answer for their behavior, but not today.” I am not making a Clintonesque claim that right-wing radio is leading to terrorism, and I am not stating that Tom DeLay is in favor of murdering Americans. There is, however, in my opinion, a connection between the rhetoric of people who are supposed to be responsible political and spiritual leaders and the horrible deeds of delusional, misguided, and ultimately, evil individuals.
This has been a long post, but let me offer one more quote, as we come full circle back to Eric Rudolph:
“Those who attempt to save the lives of unborn children and who wish to promote a culture that respects life are now treated as fanatics, threats to American freedom,” he said.
Those like Eric Rudolph should be treated like fanatics, and those who enable lunatics like Rudolph should recognize their hand in this, however unintentional. They are not responsible for Eric Rudolph’s behavior, nore Paul Hill’s, nor Michael Griffin’s. But we can;t pretend the day-to-day rhetoric had no impact on the beliefs of these murderers. This is a lesson we should remember.