Tiller’s Murder an Attack on America

Dr. George Tiller was murdered because he performed abortions. Those who defend such actions justify them by claiming that it … Continued

Dr. George Tiller was murdered because he performed abortions. Those who defend such actions justify them by claiming that it is entirely appropriate to kill a person in order to prevent them from killing other people. Unless one is a genuine pacifist, the argument that we kill one murderer to prevent the murder of many innocents is not an unreasonable argument.

But are those who defend such behavior when it comes to doctors who perform abortions correct in their application of that ethical principle? It’s important to ask this question, upsetting as it may be, because the fundamental claim (no pun intended) made in defense of Dr. Tiller’s murderer claims to follow that logic. If correct, it might justify the actions of Dr, Tiller’s accused killer and his defenders.

Simply asserting that they are wrong, is both as pointless and arrogant an approach as theirs – relying on the “obvious” truth of one position and the wickedness or stupidity of the other. Progress on this issue will require more than sanctimonious harangues of that nature from either side.

According to Jewish law, the principle which the murderers argue is, in fact correct. It’s called the law of the rodef or pursuer. Based on a rule found in Exodus 22 and explained by the Babylonian Talmud on page 73a, this law actually demands that one preempt a murderer by killing them before they commit their crime. Based on these facts, one might come to the conclusion that the events in Kansas actually have the biblical and religious grounding that supporters of accused murdered, Scott Roeder, claim. They are wrong, at least from the perspective of Jewish law.

Under no circumstances is a fetus considered a human life, according to Jewish law. Ironically, Maimonides, calling a fetus a rodef, uses this law to explain why a baby must be aborted if the pregnancy endangers the mother’s life. While Jewish law is no fan of abortion, and does not sanction abortion on demand regardless of circumstances, it is never murder.

Now, I have no expectation or desire to see Jewish law become the law of the land. Nor do I expect to convince radical Christian murderers to change their ways because of a Jewish reading of scripture. But I think that all of us who want to see Dr. Tiller’s murderer prosecuted to the full extent of the law, and even more importantly, bring about an end to such murders, consider the claims made by the murderers. We must, because actually our views are ultimately not so different. Yes, I really mean that.

If we truly believed that abortions were murder, and had the ability to stop someone from performing them, would we not be justified in using all available means to do so? Would we not want someone to do just that if a person was heading off to kill one of our kids?

So how would you respond to someone who genuinely believes that is the case in this case? What arguments can be used to dissuade the future murderers from following a path to what they imagine to be a justifiable homicide and most of us know to be murder?

One approach would be to work with hard-core pro-life advocates, such as Operation Rescue, who claim not to support these murders. We need real alliances to protect the sanctity of those lives which we all agree are actual lives. We need to establish relationships that empower them to use their own credibility in an effort to end the killing and assaults. If they don’t, then at least we smoke out their true views.

Ultimately though, we need to reframe this debate from one about abortion to one about democracy. This debate needs to be framed as being about nothing less than democracy in America. When zealots act as they did this week in Kansas, they are making war on America, upon the constitution and the rule of law. Whether pro-life or pro-choice (terms that I don’t even like, and which fail to capture the nuance of most Americans’ position on this issue), attacks like the one on Dr. Tiller are an attack on us all.

We can and will probably disagree about abortion for a long time to come. We may well be divided precisely because we all cherish life but can not find a common definition of when it begins. And until we do, the one thing we must share, is a commitment to keeping abortion from being the cutting edge of a crusade which trades our shared democracy for some people’s theocracy.


Brad Hirschfield An acclaimed author, lecturer, rabbi, and commentator on religion, society and pop culture, Brad Hirschfield offers a unique perspective on the American spiritual landscape and political and social trends to audiences nationwide.
  • NomoStew

    Thank you for your calm, deeply considered, truly religious analysis. Your article is the one thing everyone should read on this issue.

  • ccnl1

    Rabbi, You noted:”When zealots act as they did this week in It was not those/”they” zealots. It was ONE “nut-job”. With respect to abortion, lets recommend some things to do to reduce said ending of young life (it is life no matter how you define the moment of human creation). Once again, here are some suggestions for your next sermon/commentary:It is obvious that intercourse and other sexual activities are out of control with over one million abortions and 19 million cases of STDs per year in the USA alone. from the CDC-2006″Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) remain a major public health challenge in the United States. While substantial progress has been made in preventing, diagnosing, and treating certain STDs in recent years, CDC estimates that approximately 19 million new infections occur each year, almost half of them among young people ages 15 to 24.1 In addition to the physical and psychological consequences of STDs, these diseases also exact a tremendous economic toll. Direct medical costs associated with STDs in the United States are estimated at up to $14.7 billion annually in 2006 dollars.”How in the world do we get this situation under control? A pill to temporarily eliminate the sex drive would be a good start. And teenagers and young adults must be constantly reminded of the dangers of sexual activity and that oral sex, birth control pills, and chastity belts are no protection against STDs. Might a list of those having an STD posted on the Internet help? Sounds good to me!!!! Said names would remain until the STD has been eliminated with verification by a doctor. Lists of sexual predators are on-line. Is there a difference between these individuals and those having a STD having sexual relations while infected???

  • semidouble

    too bad the killer didn’t get aborted before he was born.

  • arancia12

    For those who say the actions of Roeder were the actions of one man and do not reflect on the anti-choice movement, they are fooling themselves to ease their conscience. Those who standby and allow the rhetoric of Randall Terry to incite the faithful bear culpability in the act. Terry said that it was unfortunate Tiller didn’t get a “trial of a jury of his peers and to have a proper execution.” This statement is chilling. It is vigilante justice spoken aloud. It is unconstitutional.Those who perpetrate this violence are no better than the radical Jihadists who terrorize others. Roeder is a domestic terrorist and Terry, O’Reilly and other strident anti-choicers who incite hatred and egg on violence are nothing short of aiding and abetting murder. The anti-choice movement can not divorce itself from Roeder, Rudolph and the other murderers simply because it makes them feel better. Just as the defense of “just following orders” is not acceptable neither is the defense of “I never told him to do anything.” In 1170 Henry II asked what manner of knights he had who would let a lowly priest treat him as a common and four of his men assassinated Thomas Becket on the alter of his church. Much earlier Pontius Pilot tried to wash his hands of the murder of Jesus. History is rife with the weak and fearful who encourage others to do their dirty work and then refuse to share the blame. Operation Rescue and other anti-choicers have not repudiated Roeder. Randall Terry’s words are thinly veiled thanks to a domestic terrorist, who like the terrorists of 9.11, believes he will receive his reward in heaven. I don’t call for their death, I only ask that God have mercy on their souls.

  • salero21

    .Every assassination and murder is an attack on everyone, on any nation and on the whole of Human race. Not just this one or just this nation. Every human being is a fellow a brother. That includes those Humans that have been conceived but not born yet. So, UNJUSTIFIED Abortion ON DEMAND. Just because the baby is not wanted or conceived outside of marriage, or the product of an Adulterous relation. Is also an Assassination a Murder. .

  • elfraed

    It may not be murder, but it is not always done in self-defense, either. No other situation allows for the assumption of self-defense before the act is even committed, which abortion does. Even the acts of soldiers in wartime come under scrutiny. The killing of human fetuses; let’s be honest, they are human inasmuch as they have no potential for anything else; is wrong. But, they are worth money to the economy as fodder for fertility clinics, and for scientific research as much as they are for abortionists.

  • ralph5

    I recently read an article that postulated something I have often thought about: People don’t REALLY believe that a baby is being murdered, when an abortion takes place.


    IN REPLY TO (IRT)WHO IS THE MURDERER?“The unborn are people and “all people are created equal (the Declaration) with “the right to be secure in their person”(the IVth Amendment)The women who flagitiously paid a murderer to have their unborn children murdered reciprocated Tiller’s violence with their own violence upon their unborn. Tiller’s murders were reciprocated by the murder of Tiller. Hence, violence begets violence.Evil begets Evil. The Sexual Revolution begets Abortion. Abortion begets Embryonic Stem Cell Research upon unborn children. Subsequently, there ensues the malevolent Culture of Death.Homosexuality, encapsulated in the Sexual Revolution, fermented pedophilia, pederasty, AIDS, STDs, and eventually the Drug Culture and Suicide. It is unmitigated hypocrisy to support these cultural abominations and then to lament the murder of Tiller. Those who advocate such nefarious immorality have inevitably wrought such tragedy upon themselves. Abortionists had unwittingly created this reckless profligate of evil and they share in the consequences their evil has wrought.There is a Natural Moral Law (NML); though many don’t believe it. Tiller, the child murderer didn’t believe in it; Tiller’s murderer didn’t either. They paid the consequence. Their God was the world, itself, and the world has devoured them both. Unfortunately, when evil triumphs, the innocent suffer too. Those innocent that suffered here were the 60,000 unborn children murdered by Tiller.The smallest act of immorality echoes throughout humanity like a pebble dropped into the center of a silent pond. Its ripples travel to all the edges that contain the pond. Likewise, evil travels to the boundaries of all mankind, and as well, all humanity is defiled. The Natural Moral Laws are the universal objective Commandments for human behavior. The sooner man lives within them, the less violence will ensue, and that is a historical fact. These tragic consequences are unequivocally illustrated in the violence visited upon the people of China, the Middle East, and the people of North Korea, Sudan, and the Congo wrought by the violence of their leaders.

  • Athena4

    What “Natural Moral Law”? We here in America don’t follow that. We follow the Constitution, the U.S. Legal Code, and various laws enacted by the States. In Kansas, that means that late term abortions were legal. So you can take your “Natural Moral Law” and stick it.

  • persiflage

    Oh Boy – he’s at it again. There is noLife is purely subjective at every level and in every domain, based on whatever relative standards one chooses to apply.Acorns are not oaks, and fetuses are not people – murder involves the wanton, pre-meditated killing of a full-fledged person.The law very firmly discriminates between legal abortions and the homicide of a person. The rest is subjective blather…….

  • ccnl1

    Or is it the Laws of the Horned God, The Triple Goddess or the reincarnated Supreme Court Justices of 1973???

  • ccnl1

    Ahh, there is only one true Natural Law and that is the one established by the great Babs!!!


    FETUSES AREN’T HUMAN?That’s very interesting. Maybe you ought to tell that to one of the greatest Geneticists in the world.“Dr. Jerome Lejeune, known as “The Father of Modern Genetics,” also testified that human life begins at conception before the Louisiana Legislature’s House Committee on the Administration of Criminal Justice on June 7, 1990. Dr. Lejeune explained that within three to seven days after fertilization we can determine if the new human being is a boy or a girl. “At no time,” Dr. Lejeune said, “is the human being a blob of protoplasm. As far as your nature is concerned, I see no difference between the early person that you were at conception and the late person which you are now. You were, and are, a human being.”Dr. Lejeune also pointed out that each human being is unique — different from the mother — from the moment of conception.He said, “Recent discoveries by Dr. Alec Jeffreys of England demonstrate that this information [on the DNA molecule] is stored by a system of bar codes not unlike those found on products at the supermarket…it’s not any longer a theory that each of us is unique.”Dr. Jerome Lejeune died on April 3, 1994. Dr. Lejeune of Paris, France was a medical doctor, a Doctor of Science and a professor of Fundamental Genetics for over twenty years. Dr. Lejeune discovered the genetic cause of Down Syndrome, receiving the Kennedy Prize for the discovery and, in addition, received the Memorial Allen Award Medal, the world’s highest award for work in the field of Genetics. He practiced his profession at the Hôpital des Enfants Malades (Sick Children’s Hospital) in Paris. Dr. Lejeune was a member of


    FETUSES AREN’T HUMAN?After you’ve enlightening or corrected Dr. Lejeune, “The Father of Modern Genetics,” you might also inform the Embryologist, Microbiologists, and Doctors and Professors of Medicine below as well.Dr. LANDRUM SHETTLES sometimes called the “FATHER OF IN VITRO FERTILIZATION”:”Conception confers life and makes that life one of a kind.” And on the Supreme Court ruling Roe v. Wade_, “To deny a truth [about when life begins] should not be made a basis for legalizing abortion.”DR. HYMIE GORDON, Chairman, Department of Genetics at the Mayo Clinic: “By all the criteria of modern molecular biology, life is present from the moment of conception.”DR. MCCARTHY DE MERE, medical doctor and law professor, University of Tennessee:”The exact moment of the beginning of personhood and of the human body is at the moment of conception.”DR. ALFRED BONGIOVANNI, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine:”I am no more prepared to say that these early stages represent an incomplete human being than I would be to say that the child prior to the dramatic effects of puberty … is not a human being.”DR. RICHARD V. JAYNES: PROFESSOR EUGENE DIAMOND: Statement by PAUL E. ROCKWELL, M.D.: “Eleven years ago while giving an anesthetic for a ruptured entopic pregnancy (at 8 weeks gestation), I was handed what I believe was the smallest living human ever seen. The embryonic sac was intact and transparent. Within the sac was a tiny human male swimming extremely vigorously in the amniotic fluid, while attached to the wall by the umbilical cord. This tiny human was perfectly developed, with long, tapering fingers, feet, and toes. It was almost transparent, as regards the skin, and the delicate arteries and veins were prominent to the ends of the fingers.”"The baby was extremely alive and swam about the sac approximately one time per second, with a natural swimmer’s stroke…. When the sac was opened, the tiny human immediately lost his life and took on the appearance of what is accepted as the appearance of an embryo at”Any country that accepts abortion, is not teaching its people to love, but to use any violence to get what it wants. It is a poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish.—Mother Theresa”


    IN REPLY TO (IRT)IRT:ANS:God gave man an intellect so that man may be able to reason to do good and avoid evil. Therefore, God gave man His Two Great Commandments, “Love your neighbor as you love yourself and as God loves you,” and “Do unto others as you would do unto your self.”Second God revealed His will when He gave Moses the Ten Commandments, and Jesus gave man the Corporeal Works of Mercy. Not only are these things written, but also they are imbued in mans human nature.Third, God gave man a conscience. You do have a conscience. It should tell you what is right and wrong. However, if you don’t exercise it, it becomes atrophic and useless, as do all the muscles of your body when they are not exercised.The way you exercise your conscience is to seek the truth so that your conscience may be informed. An uninformed conscience is an atrophic one and a dead one.Fourth God sent his Beloved Son to you that you may know God’s will. Consequently, Jesus established a Church and endowed it with impeccable certitude, viz. infallibility in its teachings of faith and morals so that man may not screw it up.Thus, it is written, Mt. 28:20 Mt.10; John 15: 26-27Further, God told his Church, “What ever you bind on earth will be bound in Heaven, and what ever you loose on earth shall be loosed in Heaven Subsequently, The Constitution on Divine Revelation (Dei Verbum), states:”Therefore, since everything asserted by the inspired authors or sacred writers must be held to be asserted by the Holy Spirit, it follows:“That the books of Scripture must be acknowledged as teaching solidly, faithfully, and without error that truth which God wanted put into the sacred writings for the sake of our salvation” Historical or scientific assertions made “for the sake of our salvation” would be inerrant too.”Fifth, the authority of the Scriptures is verified by the miracles performed by their author Jesus and by the fruits that the teachings themselves bear.

  • persiflage

    Please provide at a least a modicum of evidence that ‘God gave man consciousness’.A person so well versed in the law should know that solid evidence is the best proof of one’s assertions and beliefs. Otherwise, it’s all hearsay…….

  • CalSailor

    I am NOT pro-abortion. Like most people I believe there is no question that he fetus if carried to term is a human being. What its rights are at different stages of development is a more difficult question. But the death of Dr Tiller compels me to note the following:Operation Rescue has managed the public debate in such a manner that the public often believes that the alternative to late abortions (which Dr Tiller performed) is a healthy, happy infant. The problem is, that a normally developing child cannot be aborted in the third trimester simply because of the “desires” of the mother in any state in the US, including Kansas. Third trimester abortions do not happen just to fit the convenience of the mother. These are children with gross deformities, who cannot live once delivered. Anacephalic (no head or brain) infants, blood vessel abnormalities that mean that the mother CANNOT safely deliver the child without bleeding to death, or where the fetus has already died in the womb (yes, some doctors believe that these dead fetuses must continue to be carried until delivered), etc. These abortions are pretty rare (he was one of only a very few who did this procedure– I heard the statistics of only 3 such clinics in the country).In these late abortions the choice is between a child who will not survive in any case and may either kill the mother in the process or may mean she can never have another child, OR aborting this child, so that the mother will survive and may be able to have other children. (The issues in the abortion of a 10 or 11 year old girl who has been raped, or is the victim of incest, is a different one, albeit no less heartbreaking.)This is not a black white issue…it is a tragedy no matter how they decide. Most families who face this decision do not survive, even when both parents are in agreement, because of the stress and lingering guilt–even as they felt they had no choice. It is a horrible decision to have to make.I would love the day when abortions are never necessary, but there are times when, as horrible it is, may be the lesser of two evils.Pr Chris

  • Athena4

    “God’s Natural Law” pre-supposed belief in the Judeo-Christian-Moslem God. There are many people in the world, not to mention the U.S., who do not believe in this concept of the Divine. Or, for that matter, believe in a Divine being at all.

  • ccnl1

    One more time, it is the Natural Moral Law of the Horned God and The Triple Goddess!!!!

  • Athena4

    Yes, the laws of Wicca are simple: if it harm none, do as you will; what you do comes back to you threefold. No sin, no burning in everlasting perdition, etc. It’s your Hell – YOU burn in it.

  • ccnl1

    More on the Triple Goddess theme:” Gimbutas interpreted iconography from neolithic and earlier periods of Europen history evidence of worship of a triple goddess represented by:1.”stiff nudes”, birds of prey or poisonous snakes interpreted as “death”2.mother-figures interpreted as symbols of “birth and fertility”3.moths, butterflies or bees, or alternatively a symbols such as a frog, hedgehog or bulls head which she interpreted as being the uterus or fetus, as being symbols of “regeneration” [27]“From answers.com

  • screwyou

    These al Christa terrorists hate America and pose a danger to decent people across the country. No one should fear death for going to their doctor or church. We need to use the laws already on the books and break up their terror networks before they strike again.


    IN REPLY TO (IRT)IRT:ANS:Do you wish to rebuke one of our great contemporary scientists of our time, Albert Einstein?“Einstein is probably the best known and most highly revered scientist of the twentieth century, and is associated with major revolutions in our thinking about time, gravity, and the conversion of matter to energy (E=mc2). Although never coming to belief in a personal God, he recognized the impossibility of a non-created universe. The Encyclopedia Britannica says of him: “Firmly denying atheism, Einstein expressed a belief in “Spinoza’s God who reveals himself in the harmony of what exists.” This actually motivated his interest in science, as he once remarked to a young physicist: “I want to know how God created this world, I am not interested in this or that phenomenon, in the spectrum of this or that element. I want to know His thoughts, the rest are details.” Einstein’s famous epithet on the “uncertainty principle” was “God does not play dice” – and to him this was a real statement about a God in whom he believed. A famous saying of his was “Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.” “That deep emotional conviction of the presence of a superior reasoning power, which is revealed in the incomprehensible universe, forms my idea of God.“He who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead; his eyes are closed.—Albert Einstein.” Thus, any scientists who cannot see God and His Natural Laws caused the Universe, as Einstein said, are brain dead.


    IN REPLY TO (IRT)PROOF OF CONSCIENCE2 Corinthians 4: 1 3.Therefore, since God has said every man has a conscience, then to deny man has a conscience is to refute God. However, only the foolish would refute God, who is Omniscient and Prescient, All Knowing and Wisdom and Truth.


    IN REPLY TO (IRT)IRT:Was Jesus insane, a fanatic? Are His Ten Commandments deranged, His great Two Commandments harebrained? Are His Beatitudes madness.God told his disciples to go forth and teach all nations what He has taught them and He will be with them till the end of the world. Namely, and God will speak through them, and protect His Church’s teachings and beliefs with the Holy Spirit from the errors of man. Hence, it is written, Matthew 19:23-30 “Who then can be saved? And Jesus beholding, said to them: With men this is impossible: but with God all things are possible.”For God not to insure His Church, (which He spent some 33 years instituting} against error, viz. from having man screw it up in a matter of few years, God would be a fool. But God is not a fool; He is Omniscient and Prescient.The necessity for an infallible Church protected by the Spirit is substantially illustrated by the existence of some 26 to 35 thousand different denominations of Christianity alone, not to mention all the other religions defining who is and what God wants. 2 Cor 4: 27cf.And if our gospel be also hid, it is hid to them that are lost, In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of unbelievers, that the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should not shine unto them.”Those who are dishonest, walk in craftiness, and adulterate the word of God. The truth is hidden from them. Hence, the unbeliever’s conscience remains in darkness.God’s will is manifested in the Scriptures. In addition there is man’s conscience notwithstanding the Beatitudes, the Ten Commandments and the two Great Commandments. ”Love your neighbor as you love yourself and as God loves you,” and “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Moreover, there is the command, “Give unto God what is God’s and to Caesar what is Caesars.

  • persiflage

    TTWSY and so forth…..Einstein is not making your case for you, so why conjure up the spirit of Einstein??He didn’t believe in a personal God and you do, so how are these two views similar, or even remotely related? An impersonal creator is completely without foundation – and in fact, makes no sense (it is by definition, an oxymoron). The truth is, Einstein didn’t know, and had not the slightest idea how it all came to pass…..but apparently you do. You, my friend, have the last word in all things pompous – who is in your league, other than that famously Crossanized Catholic, CCNL? PS…there is no Natural Moral Law other than in your imagination, but science tells us there are natural laws. Modern science knows nothing of moral laws – and isn’t interested, since it’s an untestable hyposthesis. And even so, these natural laws do not function without one another e.g. in isolation – and the true substance of these ‘laws’ is not known apart from the observable relationships that allow said laws to function. So far as we know, there is no substance to substance, in the ordinary sense of the word. This is what Einstein refused to believe – being an avowed materialist. You may infer God as a causitive agent if you like, based on your religious background and preferences – there is no conclusive evidence for your beliefs. That’s what faith is all about…….


    IN REPLY TO (IRT)IRT:Now try reading Spinoza – one of those 18th century philosophers that did get it.”ANS:“According to Spinoza the Holy Scripture of the Old Testament are not without error and are not inspired in the strict sense. They do not teach us with certainty as to the nature of God and His characteristics, but only concerning obedience to God, piety, and love. Consequently, the text of the Bible can never come into conflict with philosophy and civil law. But, according to Spinoza, the limitations of philosophy and law are also clearly defined. As it is only in the State that justice and law, injustice and transgression are conceivable.The individual, in order to be able to live according to reason, must surrender his rights to the community. Then, too, he must obey the government in everything, even against his reason and conviction, unless a command contradicts universal feeling, as the murder of parents. That is a direct contradiction of the Founding Fathers and the Declaration of Independence.Freedom of thinking and speaking, however, cannot be forbidden by the State; if it has the power to do this, the right, indeed, cannot be denied it, but the prohibition would be disadvantageous to it, because its own existence would be endangered by such tyranny. No man can ever act according to his convictions, if a law of the State stands in the way. Thus, Spinoza upholds only a partial freedom of conscience. On the other hand, the government has the right to supervise the external practice of religion. It is easy to understand that the Church councils and synods of Holland took energetic measures against this work, which appeared anonymously in 1670. Up to 1676 at least thirty-seven decisions or edicts against the work had appeared.”Sorry my friend, if the Founding Fathers were anything like Spinoza there wouldn’t have been a United States but another USSR or China.

  • coloradodog

    IRT TTWSYFAMDGGAHJMJ2When is your Church going to stop the violation of little boys while you pontificate to the rest of us about abortion and your Pope and Cardinals look the other way?Is life more important before it is born than after?


    IN REPLY TO (IRT)IRS:IRS:ANS:Without reality, there would be a void of emptiness. However, we know that things do exist or else we would not even know that we exist. Consequently, it would be absurd to believe you don’t exist because you couldn’t believe anything. Accordingly, we know we can believe in many things that are real. Hence, from the efforts of Empirical Science planes fly, lights light, and there is a Law of Gravity.However, the Science of Being and Existence is the Science of Metaphysics, not Empiricism. Metaphysics, is the intellectual pursuit of knowledge of the fundamental principles of Being, through the recognition of First Principles of thought and the subsequent constituting of a method of reasoning through Laws of Logic to arrive at the predication of the cardinal truths of our existence.

  • persiflage

    The history of Christianity is strewn with apologists, whereas Eastern religions seldom bother to justify their philosophies – realizing that truth in whatever form, is based on individual experience in a completely subjective world. It seems clear that one discovers a way to the truth they seek through their own efforts. Salvation and transcendence are a private matter, no doubt best achieved as solitary pursuits. Harangues aimed at justifying one’s religious beliefs convince no one, convert no one, and save no one from themselves. Preaching the superiority of one’s religious beliefs is taken as the first sign of doubt among the unconvinced…..

  • Athena4

    Two things:1) Everyone should go out to Andrew Sullivan’s blog on The Atlantic website and read the very personal stories of women who have had late-term abortions. It may not change your mind, but it will certainly make you aware of why women have late-term abortions.2) In answer to Farnaz… the “Judeo-Christian-Moslem” God is the one in the Bible, Talmud, and Koran. Many people in the world do not view the Divine in this particular way. Pagans view the Divine as both male and female, and this both equal. Hindus believe in many aspects of the Divine (male and female). Many others do not believe in any Higher Power. We’ve already discussed what Buddhists believe, but there are different denominations of Buddhism just like there are Christian denominations.


    IN REPLY TO (IRT)Half-truths will do you in. Spinoza sees that if Civil Law is not obeyed than the social order becomes disruptive or chaotic. Therefore, Spinoza concludes “that only in the State that justice and law, injustice and transgression are conceivable. The individual, in order to be able to live according to reason, must surrender his rights to the community. Hence, No man can ever act according to his convictions, if a law of the State stands in the way.”What Spinoza fails to see is what the Founding Fathers saw, and that it is the people who define the community, not the community defining man. Since man is a social being, man orders the society to be in consonance with human nature. Hence the common good is based on the nature of man and thus, the State exist only for the good of man.Moreover, Spinoza’s God has potentiality that makes him mortal, and material. However, God is infinite and unchangeable or else he wouldn’t be God.Subsequently, Spinoza is a prelude to Marxism, and Communism, where the individual exist for the Good of the State that may or may not be for the good of the individual. Hence, if anything proves to be an obstacle to the State, the State has the authority to destroy it for self-preservation.Accordingly, the old and infirm contribute nothing to the State and Hitler decided to exterminate them. Joseph Fletcher, the recent late Chairman of Ethics at the University of Virginia, concurred. Fletcher defined humanity as did the Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade, and because of Roe, we have the Tillers of America and the death of over 50 million unborn. Fletcher claimed if a person didn’t have an IQ over 40 or if they were disabled in anyway, or even repugnant to look at, they could be eliminated. Two doctors wrote in the AMJ that orphans in a New York State Orphanages should be used to test Swine Flu Vaccine since they contributed nothing to the State but were a burden on it.No, Spencer never got it right; he only got it half-right, and that has proved to be atrociously brutal and shockingly cruel.

  • Athena4

    The news is reporting that Tiller’s family is going to close his clinic. The terrorists have won this round. I’m sure that CCNL and Globalone will come out with wonderful proclamations about how this is “saving babies” now.

  • ccnl1

    Athena, Athena, Athena,As noted before, this article summarizes my position: From Sunday’s Philadelphia Inquirer’s Opinion and Editorial pages-”The slaying of Dr. George Tiller last Sunday was an evil, despicable act. The fact that he was shot dead near his wife makes it even more heinous. That the killing took place at a house of worship makes it blasphemous. Or more blasphemous.I was pleased to see the antiabortion movement immediately condemn Tiller’s killing. This, even though he was the medical director at Women’s Health Care Services in Wichita, which is one of only a few clinics in the nation where abortions are performed after the 21st week of pregnancy.He became infamous for championing partial-birth abortion, the late-term procedure in which the skull is cracked open and the brains are sucked out, something the late Sen. Patrick Moynihan said “comes as close to infanticide as anything I have seen in our judiciary.”I oppose everything Tiller stood for. I wanted him prosecuted in our courts. Unfortunately, that’s now impossible. This man’s life was taken. His family mourns. His death diminishes the rest of us. Anybody who is not outraged by this shooting lacks humanity. Tiller deserved to live out his golden years in quiet, savoring whatever sunsets were left to him, watching his grandchildren run across the lawn.We should all pray for the repose of the soul of Dr. George Tiller.Then, we should pray for his victims.”

  • Athena4

    CCNL, I haven’t seen that much tapdancing since Gregory Hines died. “I don’t condone violence, but I’m glad that he’s dead.” Sounds a lot like “will someone rid me of this troublesome priest?”

  • coloradodog

    TTWSYFAMDGGAHJMJ2 wrote:”Half-truths will do you in.”What about the “half truth” of claiming to be “pro-life” and supporting capital punishment and pre-emptive war?What about the “half truth” of claiming to be a defender of helpless children when it comes to abortion and then looking the other way while Bishops, Cardinals and the Pope continue to hide pedophile predators in the clergy?Those well studied in religion like you often cherry-pick their morals and scriptures for the convenience of their arguments and political prejudices.Are you part of the O’Reilly Catholic clergy?

  • persiflage

    TTWSY – again, not an accurate portrayal the Buddhist view. All states, and the existence of all dieties and individual entities, are viewed as temporary and ultimately mind-made (in exactly the same way that dreams are made). While the relative world seems to rely on causal relationships based on the concept of determinism, the Buddhist views none of these activities as permanent or fundamentally real – all and everything in the phenomenal universe is both co-dependent and transient at every moment (this includes any ‘spiritual’ realm that one might conceive of). There is no ‘salvation’ without a true realization of the Dharmakaya (and one’s identity with it) – and which is the essential and timeless reality behind all manifest realms/worlds/heavenly regions/dimensions and ineffable activities that comprise the spontaneously existing or manifest universe. You may refer to this essential reality as God if you wish – but by no means is this understanding of the Absolute accompanied by the idea of an individual and separate creator with a specific identity and personality. The Nirvanic state consists of the full realization of this fundamentally aware infinitude – and is beyond all characterization. Nothing more can be said about it.

  • ccnl1

    Note Farnaz does not respond to the fact she was caught using other ID’s by kjohnson3 | February 17, 2009 10:29 AM by: themoderate | February 11, 2009 and by: Mary_Cunningham | January 13, 2009 7:22 AMAgain her other ID’s-and some possible straw-men-Whistling and pgibson being recent straw men.and a combination straw-man and then a “friend”-stadtbearand one must wonder after all this trickery, if Farnaz was not the infamous impersonator named SUSAN_JACOBY????And she says “Jesus” weeps?? Farnaz is a professed Jewish atheist who also believes said Jesus did not even exist!! Again, Farnaz is one very strange person!!!

  • DMZ1

    Rabbi Hirshfield:I hope you are well. I have apparently been permanently banned by WAPO for posts that don’t even come close to the hate that you permit. Try the posts of TTWSYFAMDGGAHJMJ2. Far more hateful than anything I have ever written. But, so be it. There are other things to do and other places to go. Plus, I’m sure that you realize how easy it is to go around the ban. However, the flagrant anti-leftist bias in WAPO makes it not worth it. I have zero tolerance for supporters of torture, and I have zero tolerance for people who deny that Israel is one of the worst torturers on the planet. BTW, I am a Jew and quite happy about it.BTW, very nice essay, one of your best. I wish you well even though you turned out to be a major jerk.

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