We who sowed hate share blame in killing of abortion doctor
My late father and I share part of the blame for the murder of Dr. George Tiller, the abortion doctor gunned down on Sunday.
Until I got out of the religious right (in the mid-1980s) and repented of my former hate-filled rhetoric, I was both a leader of the so-called pro-life movement and a part of a Republican Party hate machine masquerading as the moral conscience of America.
In the late 1970s, my father, evangelical pro-life leader Francis Schaeffer, along with Dr. C. Everett Koop (who soon become surgeon general in the Reagan administration) went on the road with me, taking the documentary anti-abortion film series I produced and directed to the evangelical public. The series and companion book eventually brought millions of heretofore nonpolitical evangelical Americans into the anti-abortion crusade.
In the early ’80s, my father followed up with a book that sold over a million copies and which, in certain passages, advocated force if all other methods for rolling back the abortion ruling of Roe v. Wade failed. He compared America and its legalized abortion to Hitler’s Germany and said that whatever tactics would have been morally justified in removing Hitler would be justified in trying to stop abortion. I said the same thing in a best-selling book I wrote.
Like many writers of moral/political/religious theories, my father and I would have been shocked that someone took us at our word, walked into a Lutheran Church and pulled the trigger on an abortionist. But even if the murderer never read Dad’s or my words, we helped create the climate that made this murder likely to happen. In fact, it has happened before. In 1994, Dr. John Bayard Britton and one of his volunteer escorts were shot and killed outside an abortion clinic in Pensacola, Fla., by Paul Hill, a former minister and an avid follower of my father’s.