25 June 2009

Christians Aren't the Only Hypocrites

As I drove home from work today, I passed a Mercury Mountaineer (EPA est. 14 mpg city) whose driver was drinking from a Styrofoam cup. Though not an unusual sight, what made this whole scene interesting was the bumper sticker on his gas guzzler: "Tree-Hugging Dirt Worshiper."

Does this make him a bad dirt worshiper? Maybe, maybe not. Perhaps I caught him in a moment of weakness, when he was, for the first time in months, acting out of accordance with his beliefs. Or he just says one thing and actually lives another. If that's what being a tree-hugging dirt worshiper is, I don't want to be one.

(Now you Christians out there catch my drift, don't you? Sometimes we say things about God or Jesus [whether in our words or on our bumpers] up to which our lives don't measure. While every day ought to be characterized by our continual striving for increased virtue and closer discipleship, the truth is that at times we ARE hypocrites, every one of us, Christian or not. Remember that what counts is our overall trajectory: am I bearing the fruit of the Spirit a little more than five years ago? Ten years ago? Do I get back up every time I stumble?)

01 June 2009

A Brief Word About George Tiller

As a Christian who believes that human life and personhood begins at the moment of conception and lasts until death (which, unfortunately, is also a debatable term), I am immensely disappointed and angry with Scott Roeder (the man who shot Dr. Tiller) and those who approve of his actions. Their logic baffles me: one can be so "pro-life" that they are willing to end a life to prove it? I can understand protesting outside a clinic (peacefully, I might add). I can understand feeling baffled and upset at the thought of a doctor who willingly performs late-term abortions (abortions on unborn babies of 21 weeks and older). But I cannot understand how killing a man helps the pro-life cause.

Apart from the horrific nature of the crime, the irony is profound (killing a man based on your convictions about life, and doing it at a church!), and the PR fallout is certainly not going to help pro-lifers gain a hearing among their pro-choice peers. Of course, it would be unfair to lump all pro-lifers into the same group, as if we all would have done the same thing given the opportunity. This man belongs to a fringe minority segment of the pro-life camp which represents me about as well as Fred Phelps represents all Christians. It might even be safe to call him a terrorist. I don't know if he claimed to be Christian or not, but if so, then I challenge that claim as well. Such actions do not represent the ethics of Jesus, who came to seek and save "the lost" and was a friend of sinners who gave his own life because he values every life and desires to reconcile us all to God.

Killing someone because you don't like what they do (even if you consider what they do as legalized murder) reveals a twisted logic, a moral depravity, and a desire to do God's job of judgment for Him. Dr. Tiller does deserve to stand before God and face his sins, just like all of us do. But it is never the job of another human to arrange that meeting (except for cases of self-defense). I hope that pro-choicers see this for what it really is: a lunatic, fringe extremist whose actions warrant the death penalty (which I believe is consistent with a strong pro-life ethic: I believe that life is so precious that if you intentionally take another life, your life ought to be taken as well).