Scott Roeder shot and killed late term abortion Doctor George Tiller May, 31, 2009. No one disputes this fact. Roeder proudly admitted to the shooting while on trial for murder in Kansas. Roeder was convicted of murder by a jury of his peers. Peers, in this case, means twelve people who lived in the county where Tiller died. So here is the question: Will history vindicate Roeder?
The Army of God web site praises Roeder as a hero (Be careful visiting this site – it is extremely graphic). These extremists who advocate violence in defense of their cause use the Christian Bible as their source of justification. Here are a few scriptures copied from their web site:
Hebrews 12:4 Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.
Jeremiah 9:1 Oh that my head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people!
Psalm 106:37,39 Yes, they sacrificed their sons and their daughters unto devils and shed innocent blood, even the blood of their sons and of their daughters.
Psalm 139:19 Surely thou wilt slay the wicked, O God: depart from me therefor, ye bloody men.
Will these Army of God folks one day be judged by society in general as being on the right side of history? There are precedents. A Hollywood movie released in 2009 looks historically at a particular attempted assassination as heroic. We are referring to Valkyrie – framed in World War II Germany. The plot follows a conspiracy of German officers who attempt to kill Adolph Hitler. Their plot failed and all of the conspirators were found guilty of treason and executed. Hitler lost the war, Germany recovered from the atrocities, and the once treasonous conspirators have since been praised as true German patriots – heroes who tried to save German from further destruction.
Some dismiss historical rewriting as the rights of the victors. If Hitler had won the war the conspirators might still be seen as treasonous. But human history has its own way of correcting wrongs. Ultimately the dictatorship of the Third Reich would have fallen. The conspirators would ultimately have been vindicated. We say this with confidence because that has always been the case – ultimately people rise up in revolt and civilization rights itself.
The Army of God advocates see themselves in the same light as the Valkyrie conspirators. The Scott Roeders of the world compare legalized abortion in America to Hitler’s holocaust. Perhaps they are right – history will judge the principle argument. But they are wrong in comparing the killing of Doctor Tiller to the assassination attempts on Hitler. Killing Hitler would have changed the law – killing Doctor Tiller was just an angry misguided attempt at righteousness.
The better historical analogy might be the case of the abolitionist John Brown. John Brown has been judged by history to have been on the right side – human slavery has been judged to be wrong in any case. But John Brown is not seen as a historical hero. John Brown took the law into his own hands – he murdered people who he believed to be pro-slavery. He was caught at Harper’s Ferry, trying to incite a slave revolt, given a half day trial, and immediately hung. The picture of John Brown at the right brings to mind Charlton Heston as Moses – a not so subtle attempt to portray Brown as leading the slaves out of bondage.
Scott Roeder will at best be seen in the light of John Brown. Even if history validates the anti-abortion principle. The Army of God is not an army at all – John Brown’s self-aggrandizement led him to believe an army would rise up with him. He was wrong. Scott Roeder suffers the same delusion. The Army of God suffers the same delusion.
Being on the right side of history means more than having noble thoughts – it also means having noble behavior.