Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Gotta Start Somewhere

Sometimes the hardest part of a creative effort is the beginning. I've been wanting to jump into this blogging world for many moons, but was never sure when or how to dive in. Should I write an introductory entry, or should I just let people get to know me as I go along? Should I have a specific set of topics lined up, or should I wing it? The resulting 'paralysis by analysis' kept me from starting -- until now.

The senseless murder of Dr. Joseph Tiller is what has inspired me to kick off this collection of my thoughts. Tiller, a Wichita, KS doctor who performed late-term abortions, was gunned down by Scott Roeder. According to the linked report, Tiller was serving as an usher at his church when his life was taken.

Some people would say, "Why this? Why start here? Surely there's a less controversial topic you could tackle first?" Hopefully, this and each subsequent post will let you in on a little more of what makes me tick. Today's "what does Dan think?" revelation is this: controversy is something to embrace. A discussion that is clear-cut and has general agreement among all participants is really kinda boring. I think there is all kinds of room for disagreement and debate and diverse opinion and mixed perspectives in this one. Take a side and think -- and then when someone who has a different opinion chimes in, think again. Consider multiple viewpoints -- learn from others. We all gain from the exchange of ideas, like iron sharpens iron.

So, we've got a doctor who does not have any qualms about ending the life of an unborn baby, and a man who hates abortion so much that he does not have any qualms about ending the life of the doctor. Further, we've got the doctor serving as an usher at his (Reformation Lutheran) church, and the man who killed him is, according to his ex-wife, "very religious in an Old Testament, eye-for-an-eye way." Mr. Roeder's motivation for killing Dr. Tiller seems to be rooted in his beliefs. Dr. Tiller's commitment to his profession seems to be supercede the beliefs of his church. (Disclaimer: I do not know about and have not researched the Reformation Lutheran Church's stand on abortion, but I am quite certain that Martin Luther would not have permitted Dr. Tiller to worship in his church without renouncing his abortion occupation.)

I hate abortion. An unborn baby is completely defenseless. A doctor and a mother together decide to end that baby's life. It is among the greatest injustices this corrupt world has managed to create.

But, no matter how much I hate abortion, I cannot condone murder to stop it. It is a tragedy that anyone thinks the abortion route is their best option. It is unconscionable that our nation's Supreme Court ruled it legal in 1973. But until people's minds are changed (which would seem to require that their hearts be changed first), it is a legal act. Dr. Tiller, no matter how reprehensible you find him and/or his medical practices, had a right to conduct them, and a right to life.

Mr. Roeder would likely have cursed Dr. Tiller for "playing God" by deciding to take the lives of the unborn babies that have been brought to his clinic. Unfortunately, Mr. Roeder did the same thing when he fired on and killed Dr. Tiller. Mr. Roeder ignored one of the great axioms of life: two wrongs do not make a right. Anti-abortion groups have condemned Roeder's actions, and I agree with them, because people who defend life cannot condone murder.

Until I read a related story about the doctor, I had not realized that he was shot once before, in 1993. He was not seriously wounded in that shooting. I disagree entirely with what Dr. Tiller did for a living, but I have to give him this much: he held firm to his beliefs in the face of adversity, and eventually died because of it. People who live with that much commitment to their beliefs are usually people who change the world, for better or for worse. At least that's what I think.