Violence against Abortion Clinics – An Evangelical or conservative Catholic Problem?
After a decade of quiet, the United States has again experienced the murder of a doctor who performed abortions. Scott Roeder shot and killed Dr. George Tiller, perhaps the best known abortion doctor, in Wichita, Kansas in front of his church congregation.
Preface to the revised edition August 2009

After a decade of quiet, the United States has again experienced the murder of a doctor who performed abortions. Scott Roeder shot and killed Dr. George Tiller, perhaps the best known abortion doctor, in Wichita, Kansas in front of his church congregation. What does this new case do to change the assessment that I prepared in 2008? Even though I only have access to media reports from the United States, and the public prosecution associated with the investigation has not been completed, for the moment the following can be said:

1. If after a decade a murder again occurs, that still means that millions of Evangelicals and Catholics in the USA and hundreds of millions of Evangelicals and Catholics worldwide who object to abortion advance their view absolutely peacefully! According to the most recent surveys, 51% of Americans oppose abortion. That is to say, 120 million peacefully oppose it, and one does not. Yet this is sufficient for the press to ‘toss’ them all into the same pot.

2. No authority has attempted to link the offender Scott P. Roeder with Evangelical or Catholic camps. Just as with the perpetrators in the 1990s, up until now no one has been able to establish any connection whatsoever with the large anti-abortion organizations. When the atheist blog wrote: “Assassination: Bible-believing Christian shoots and kills abortion doctor,” this is pure slander. To be sure, the offender left an entry on the Operation Rescue website. And while the newspapers Neue Zürcher Zeitung and the Süddeutsche Zeitung have used this information to go in the backdoor and establish a desired connection, this really says nothing since nowadays anyone can leave an entry in a public blog. Operation Rescue, which has all its 2 staffers sign a declaration renouncing the use of violence, deleted the entry, and has strongly condemned the murder of Dr. Tiller.

3. By all accounts, the culprit, as in the case of earlier offenders from the Ku Klux Klan, is a member of the right-wing extremist scene. After a 16-month jail term, he was classified by a court as mentally ill (“symptoms of schizophrenia”). His ex-wife confirms both pieces of information. In the mid-1990s, Roeder belonged to the so-called Freeman Movement, which, in the place of the highest court in the USA, installed its own high court and fought the government and laws of the United States. According to the daily newspaper Die Welt, in his life of paranoia, he “belonged to practically every vigilante group that America has to offer.”

Without in any way seeking to sugarcoat the murder, the victim George Tiller, was, by the way, a typical example (as was his opponent) of just how much more aggressive and culturally warlike such debates are that are conducted in the USA. As with his opponent, Dr Tiller used television not only to advertise his clinic for late term abortions. Rather, he used television as well to aggressively plead for late term abortions. He was, as Die Welt wrote, “obstinate like his opponents.” It should not be kept secret that at the time of his murder, there were proceedings underway relating to the withdrawal of his license to practice medicine. For that reason, he was working under strict state supervision. One might offer the criticism that he was covered up with litigation, but this is not uncommon in the US. Throughout the country, Tiller was also a disputed figure among what are basically abortion proponents. This was due to his concentration on late-term abortions. He was one of three doctors in the USA who conducted abortions all the way up to the time of birth. For this reason, no successor was found for the clinic he managed (, and the clinic was subsequently closed.

I would like to bring in a quote from a fully unsuspicious critic of Evangelicals, the Munich Professor for North American Cultural History Michael Hochgeschwender: “Indeed one has to guard against setting the number of violent offenders from the neofundamentalist scene too high. When bomb attacks were at their peak in 1994, four people died. In total, seven people died as a result of attacks on abortion clinics in the 1990s. When compared with the overall level of violence found in American society, or even compared with the proneness to violence found in the extreme right wing in the USA, the neo-fundamentalists have hardly gotten out of line. Beyond that, most offenders were pathological. In this they did not vary from their sympathizers. The absolute majority of neo-fundamentalists, that is to say 95 %, behave in the face of all verbal militancy in conformity with the system. Furthermore, in spite of the tradition of extralegal, or illegal, violence committed by citizens in the USA, they do not resort to terrorist violence. Religious fanaticism alone does not necessarily lead to terrorism. To state it more succinctly: There have been violent fundamentalists, but there has not been violent fundamentalism“(Michael Hochgeschwender. Amerikanische Religion: Evangelikalismus, Pfingstlertum und Fundamentalismus. Frankfurt: Verlag der Weltreligionen, 2007. p. 199).

The quoted article “Tod eines Überzeugungstäters“ dated June 2, 2009 in Die Welt can be found in a similar form at
Neue Zürcher Zeitung:
Regarding George Tiller:
Indictment against Scott P. Roeder:
Click to View

Posted : 2012-04-16 11:28:54 GMT
Author/Authors : Prof. Dr. phil. Dr. theol. Thomas Schirrmacher
Publishers : International Institute for Religious Freedom of the World Evangelical Alliance
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Revision Date : 2009-11-20