Two weeks ago President Obama gave a moving and memorable commencement speech at Notre Dame in which he reached out to the pro-life movement. He sought to find common ground and asked for people on opposite sides of the issue to approach each other with “Open hearts, Open minds and Fair-minded words.”

At the moment I wondered: Could it be that the pro-life movement has gone mainstream? Have they ceased being a bunch of religious nut jobs carrying around pictures of dead babies and blowing up clinics?

Two weeks later – almost to the hour – an abortion doctor in Wichita Kansas was shot to death as he walked into church.

So much for bringing the pro-life movement into the mainstream.

I understand that religious fanatics must be feeling a bit under-represented right about now with Democrats controlling Congress and The White House and with President Obama about to appoint his first Supreme Court Justice.

But you can’t go around killing people and say your trying to protect ‘life’. It seriously hurts the credibility of your pro-LIFE message.

Welcome back to the fringes, pro-lifers.

  • Joseph, I disagree. I hate it when some left wing nut job does something asinine and the right tars and feathers all of us. I dislike it when we do it as well. I think the vast majority of pro-life supporters are appalled by this. They know it doesn’t help their cause. I think to tie pro-life supporters to this obviously deranged person does a disservice to the liberal cause.

  • We’ll see.

    I’m guessing this wasn’t just some random killing.

    You can’t push your agenda of hate and then act all surprised when someone goes crazy like this.

  • I was just about to post on this. You all know how I love irony!

  • @1: Agree/Disagree. While it’s not right to extrapolate actions of a few to the majority, you can’t go around shouting about how abortion is “murder” and be shocked when someone actually executes vigilante justice against the perpetrator of said “murder”. The pro-life movement is at least somewhat responsible for this if the motives were indeed that of avenging Dr. Tiller’s various “murders”.

    As Joe says, we’ll see.

  • Can we please leave the political jockeying aside for awhile … say, until after Tiller’s buried?

  • Shalom Joseph,

    I don’t think we should lay this on Bill O’Reilly’s head. Because I’m a rabid supporter of the First Amendment — I agree with Lyle Dennison, you do have the right to cry fire in a crowded theater — I’m not willing to tell O’Reilly to shut up because someone else decided to commit murder.

    Incitement is such a dangerous ledge to stand upon.



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  • @5: I don’t think you can police the time at which people discuss news like this. That’s like saying “don’t talk about Al Queda until the towers stop smoking”. I don’t suppose you advocated for that? The political posturing on the right started almost immediately. Same for the left and anti-ward crowd. I find this a weak argument overall.

    I will say though, Alo, that your two posts on the matter are great and I’m glad you’ve taken this stand openly. Such violence does hurt your (assuming your) movement. The way to proactively police it is to consistently dial down the rhetoric. You can only go so long in yelling murderer and carrying around gigantic photos of bloody fetuses before someone snaps. Now after someone has been killed you call for reason? Seems a wee late.

  • @6: Gotta call bullshit here. First, we disagree on the limits to free speech, which leads to a fundamental disagreement which will probably not be resolved here.

    I don’t think anyone is saying “lay this on wingnut talker X” so much as saying free speech has consequences. It’s not about telling O’Reilly or anyone else to shut up as much as it is about telling them to change they way in which they talk about issues like this.

    Freedom of speech comes with responsibilities. You can’t seriously be arguing that if someone hypothetically got on a talk show and said daily “kill every Jew you see” and Jews began to get murdered that you’d support that speech. I find that really hard to believe.

    …and yes, if cattle ranchers began to get murdered I’d be looking askew at PETA.

  • In fairness, lots of rightwing blogs and commenter are taking exception to their more fringe elements. Good to see, but I think they need to look closer at the language and rhetoric they continually support – or at least not oppose.

    It’s a “Palin Mob” thing.

  • @ No. 9

    Shalom Eric,

    Actually, yes, I would support that person’s right to spew hate speech. If I don’t then the first amendment is worthless. Justice Holmes was wrong. Free speech does not carry any responsibilities. If it did, it would cease to be free.

    My obligation as an American citizen is to meet that hate speech with targeted, energetic and devastating speech in response.

    I’ll deal with the murderer after the fact. And if I can prove a conspiracy connection between the person advocating killing Jews and the murderer, then, that’s all the better. But that is a separate issue from Free Speech.



  • I’m not advocating the elimination of anyone’s right to free speech.

    I’m just saying that if you want to be included in the political process then you need to be bring something to the table besides just your outdated religious views and your with-me-or-against-me attitude.

    If you want to move your cause forward then you need to be taken seriously by people on both sides of the debate – you need to move away from the fringes.

    Actions like this will only serve to damage the credibility of the pro-life movement just like it did back in the 90’s when they were shooting doctors and blowing up clinics.

  • @11: That’s fine. We disagree. No worries.

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