“Our once great western Christian civilization is dying. If this matters to followers of Jesus Christ, then we must set aside our denominational differences and work together to strengthen the things that remain and reclaim what has been lost. Evangelicals and Catholics must stand together to re-establish that former Christian culture and moral consensus. We have the numbers and the organization but the question is this: Do we have the will to win this present spiritual battle for Jesus Christ against secularism? Will we prayerfully and cooperatively work toward a new Christian spiritual revival ― or will we choose to hunker down in our churches and denominationalisms and watch everything sink into the spiritual and moral abyss of a New Dark Age?” - Mark Davis Pickup

Saturday, June 13, 2009

All life is sacred

On May 31st, America’s most notorious late-term abortionist was murdered. Dr. George Tiller of Wichita, Kansas, performed second and third trimester abortions and even performed the horrible partial birth abortion procedure. Partial birth abortion is done by inducing labour prematurely in the mother and the baby is partially delivered breech but stopped with its head still in the birth canal. The abortionist kills the child in a way that is too grisly to mention to civilized readers. The abortionist then completes the delivery of the dead baby.

The man charged with George Tiller’s murder is Scott Roeder (51). At the time of writing this column very little is known about him, other than he was associated with an obscure anti-government militia group known as the Freeman movement. He also has a history of mental illness.

Pro-Life advocates across North America (including me) were quick to condemn the murder of George Tiller, although mainstream media have been trying hard to connect the pro-Life movement to the crime. They are not right.

I have been active with the pro-Life movement in Canada and the United States for more than twenty-five years. I’ve spoken to innumerable conferences and prolife gatherings and met countless pro-Life advocates. Not one advocated violence.

By definition, those who kill or advocate violence are not pro-Life. The shedding of blood, or promoting it, draws the clearest line of delineation and definition about who is pro-Life and who is not.


Being truly pro-Life involves holding the sanctity and dignity of all human life as something dear and worth cherishing ― even the life of a mass murderer like late-term abortionist George Tiller. We deplore what he did and work in non-violent ways to stop people like him. We reach out with love and support to mothers considering abortion. Our humanity demands it.

As a Christian, I mourn the death of George Tiller just as I mourn the thousands of children he killed. He (and they) were part of the human community. Our common bond is the image of God stamped indelibly upon us all. From conception on we are part of Mankind. The Seventeenth Century poet John Donne said, “Any Man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankind."

Being pro-Life is more than decrying the shedding of innocent (or guilty) blood. It also entails working to create a cultural climate that is welcoming to the unwanted, the unloved, the deranged and the derelect.

.Being pro-Life means extending Christ-like love to the woman in crisis pregnancy and her baby. Being pro-Life means tenderly guiding post-abortive women toward Christ’s forgiveness and healing. Pro-Life advocates have the high and sacred honour of being Christ’s emissaries to hurting people. Whether they accept our overtures on Christ’s behalf is not within our power. Our task is point the way toward life and love, not death and despair. We align ourselves with Christ’s way. Having done this, we remember that not everyone accepted Christ’s way when he himself offered it.

The love and mercy that occupied Jesus’ heart brought healing to the sick, returned sanity to the deranged and forgiveness to the adulteress woman, but never did it include killing as an answer to life’s problems.

Peter drew a sword and cut off a man’s ear in defence of the personification of all that is sacred and good. Jesus rebuked his violence and healed the man’s ear. Men need ears to hear the Good News and renounce their inner violence. Interior violence precedes all outer violence to which Jesus relies, “Stop, no more of this.”

The assault on the sanctity and dignity of human life is the great struggle of the 21st Century. It is the spiritual battle for the hearts, minds and souls of humanity; it is manifested in the physical world by violence against the weakest and most vulnerable, the defeated, and the unloved in our midst. It is evil because it is the antithesis of Christ’s love.

Abortion, embryonic stem cell research, assisted suicide and euthanasia are all expressions of this evil. How you and I respond to it will help define our humanity and may even help to save the humanity of other people. The stark choice of the 21st Century is this: barbarity or beauty. Our individual choices about life will contribute to one or the other.

It is a daunting prospect, I know. But we have not been left without resources. We can take solace knowing that in Jesus Christ is life and the light of Mankind (John 1.4-5). We have the Word of God to assure us, the teachings of the Church and the Holy Spirit to guide us. Jesus told us he would not leave us orphans. He told us, “I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

Mark Pickup

(This blog also appears in Canada's Western Catholic Reporter for the week of 15 June
2007, under the title "Pro-Life supporters never adevocate murder of anyone."
See http://www.wcr.ab.ca/columns/markpickup/2009/markpickup061509.shtml )

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