I have waited until now to comment on the shooting last week. I had hoped for us to understand a little more clearly what happened and why. Details are still murky, but I’m sure more will be clear soon. As I write this, the gunman has yet to make his first appearance in court, but he will do so later today. As we await details, here are my thoughts based on what we know now:
1. The shooting was an unmitigated evil. Full stop. The gunman—no matter his motivation—committed unconscionable acts of violence. We need to have the moral clarity to declare that he violated the sanctity of human life with his assault on people created in the image of almighty God. His actions deserve every bit of moral opprobrium we can muster.
2. It is not yet clear what his motivation is. His mugshot offers an image of someone who looks deranged. News reports have been able to piece together a profile of a man who has had frequent run-ins with the law—from alleged peeping-tom incidents to shooting his neighbors’s pets with a pellet gun. He lives alone on patch of land and scares the neighbors when he passes by. He said something about “baby parts” after his arrest, but authorities are still loathe to attribute a motive for his crime. Apparently it is not yet clear. The suggestion that this guy in any way represents the pro-life movement is absurd. He has more in common with the Gerasene Demoniac than the Little Sisters of the Poor. I think most rational people can see that. But then again, not everyone is rational, are they?
3. Some are already suggesting that pro-life rhetoric has contributed to this man’s crime. The logic goes like this. Pro-lifers who exposed Planned Parenthood’s sale of baby parts have angered people. This anger translates into violence like we saw last week. Ergo, pro-life rhetoric leads to murder. Here’s a sampling of this kind of talk:
— Cecile Richards (@CecileRichards) November 29, 2015
Violence against Planned Parenthood & others is a direct result of the rhetoric that paints abortion as “murder,” a Holocaust; etc. — Laura Turner (@lkoturner) November 30, 2015
We should be supporting Planned Parenthood—not attacking it. https://t.co/h8u9LYGMwc
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) November 30, 2015
The culture of death has always hidden from moral clarity, but it is a new low to see them trying to hide behind the Colorado Springs murderer. Here are the facts. Since 1973, fifty-eight million people have been killed legally in our country. Without question, abortion-on-demand is the greatest human rights crisis of our time, and as the largest abortion provider in America, Planned Parenthood is the leading culprit of this killing.
But abortion rights proponents don’t want you to see that carnage. They dissemble and distract from the central moral issue—the people that are killed by abortion. They talk about “choice” and “women’s health,” but what they don’t talk about is the unborn lives that are destroyed in abortion. They have to do this because they know that if the public ever lets the light into their consciences, abortion-on-demand will end. And so they take every opportunity they can to distract from that central moral issue, and now they are doing it again. Except this time, they are hiding behind a murderer. It is pathetic.
It is also transparent what the pro-abortion folks are doing. They are trying to claim the moral high ground by associating pro-lifers with the Colorado Springs shooter. They can’t get the moral high ground through reason and persuasion, so they are going for guilt-by-association—even though the shooter’s motives are yet to be established and even though there’s no evidence of any connection to the pro-life movement and even though pro-life leaders everywhere have denounced the shooting.
Nevertheless, abortion rights proponents are doing what the Bible calls “bearing false witness” (Exod. 20:16), but I don’t think it’s going to work. As Ben Domenech has argued, pro-lifers are so numerous in America that no one accepts that this deranged shooter is an accurate representation of how pro-lifers behave. People know better, but that won’t stop the culture-of-death cynics from trying to perpetrate the lie.
Bottom line: If abortion proponents think they can hide behind this murderer in a cynical effort to distract from the daily killing that goes on in Planned Parenthood clinics, they are wrong. Pro-lifers are not going to be cowed by this. We will continue to shine the light on the sanctity of every human life—both those inside and outside the abortion mills.
4. Although the shooter did not kill anyone inside the Planned Parenthood clinic, he did take the lives of three people—including a police officer who we now know was pro-life evangelical pastor. If you want to know what pro-life people are really like, look at this hero named Officer Garrett Swasey. He rushed in to protect the very ones he disagreed with about abortion. Why? Because every life is sacred, including those working inside of Planned Parenthood. And Garrett Swasey knew this, and he gave his life defending theirs. That is what being pro-life is all about.