On May 31, 2009, Dr. George Tiller was shot dead by Scott P. Roeder, ending Tiller’s decades-long reputation as the nation’s foremost late-term abortion provider. Tiller was directly responsible for the deaths of thousands upon thousands of children, for which he profited greatly and showed not one whit of remorse.
On May 1, Osama bin Laden was shot dead by an undisclosed member of the U.S. Special Forces, ending bin Laden’s decades-long reputation as the world’s foremost terrorist leader. Osama bin Laden was indirectly responsible for the deaths of thousands, for which he profited little and showed not one whit of remorse.
Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, commented regarding Tiller, “Clearly the killing of abortion providers is unbiblical, unchristian and un-American. Such callous disregard for human beings brutalizes everyone.”
Land commented again on May 2 regarding bin Laden, “If anyone ever deserved the forfeiture of his life for crimes against humanity, it was Osama bin Laden. This was more of an execution than a killing. It has taken too long, but finally those thousands of Americans who lost loved ones on 9/11 can have some measure of closure now that justice has been visited upon the mastermind behind those terrorist attacks.”
Both Tiller and bin Laden committed mass murder measured in the thousands and tens-of-thousands of lives. Both Tiller and bin Laden poisoned the lives of millions of others with their callous disregard for human life. Both Tiller and bin Laden were summarily executed without trial, and apparently without remorse. How is it, then, that we can so easily condemn the death of one while celebrating the death of the other?
I don’t believe either of these men was ready to face the judgment of a just God, nor do I believe their fruits indicated that either man received the saving grace of a merciful God. In this, I believe every saint of God should lament their passing. How can we be found in the likeness of Christ when we celebrate the eternal condemnation of a soul, even a soul that would condemn us? Jesus told us to love our enemies, and to pray for those who persecuted us. He set the example by praying for those who crucified Him as He hung upon the cross.
What testimony do we offer when we are so inconsistent in our approach to justice? We say that Tiller, who ended far more innocent lives than bin Laden, was “murdered” by a “criminal,” and we condemn the act and the criminal. We say that bin Laden, who just happened to be Middle-Eastern instead of Middle-American, was finally “brought to justice” by a “soldier.” Let the record show that both men were shot in the head by men who believed that they were serving the common good.
The fact is, both Tiller and bin Laden had to be stopped. Those who wantonly destroy innocent human lives are a cancer upon the whole of civilization.
As Christians, we must be prepared to do what is right, even if that means slaying the dragon instead of capturing or taming the dragon. Still, we don’t have to dance around the dragon in celebration. I regret the loss of both lives, Tiller and bin Laden, because I recognize the very real likelihood that both men will spend an eternity in Hell. That is nothing to celebrate.