It is a longstanding tradition that pastors conducting funeral or memorial services for an individual say good things and – within the obvious parameters of the family’s desires – incorporate a strong emphasis on eternity.
There is rarely a better time to talk about life after death than at a funeral service where we are literally face to face with mortality. The service of someone as publicly visible as Dr. George Tiller is no different, yet the content of what was reported about his service is a deeply troubling perversion of that tradition and a dark glimpse into the souls of abortion advocates.
With all deference to a grieving family who had no control over his actions, I am compelled by conviction to call his service a travesty and an abomination before God and men.
Just a few quotes from the AP article in the Kansas City Star will set the stage.
- “The classic hymn, ‘A Mighty Fortress is Our God’ began the funeral service. The front of the program read, ‘Kindness, Courtesy, Justice, Love, Respect: A Service of Thanksgiving to God Celebrating the Life of Dr. George R. Tiller.'”
- “Readings included the Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi, which begins, ‘Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace.'”
- “The Gospel reading was John 11:25-26 and 14:1-7.”
The plain, simple truth is that Tiller violated every premise and principle listed above as well as his Hippocratic Oath at least 60,000 times in committing the most vile form of murder against the most innocent. I cannot overlook his pastor, the Rev. Lowell Michelson, in this heresy and will get to him momentarily.
Kindness, courtesy, justice, love and respect? Celebrating the life of someone whose fortune was made by using deception, propaganda and coercion to dismember thousands of pre-born babies?
An instrument of God’s peace? Ask girls and women who have suffered at his and his cohorts’ hands. As Operation Outcry: Silent No More has uncovered so dramatically, there are millions of post-abortive women who have faced immeasurable emotional, mental and physical trauma because of their abortions. Tiller’s version of peace is the same as that given by radical Islam – tyranny for those under its rule and death for others.
John 11:25-26 relates the Lord’s words, “Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?'” How then do we know if someone “believes” according to this standard? The Greek word “pisteuÅ” used here describes someone who “commits unto” or “to put in trust with.”
Is there any evidence that a man who invested his life, influence and millions of dollars into judges and politicians to take and advocate the taking of innocent life had put his trust in Jesus Christ? Not according to any reasonable assessment of what such a trust and “rebirth” produces, which must start with loving God and what He loves – not destroying it.
John 14:1-7 also uses “”pisteuÅ” as Christ commends us to “… believe in God, believe also in me. …” The use of these scriptures applied to Dr. Death is not only offensive, it is grievous beyond comprehension. If Tiller had followed these teachings sincerely, his fruits would not have cost 60,000 lives. Back to his pastor – did Tiller ever hear these teachings?
The fact that Tiller had been excommunicated from another Lutheran church over 20 years ago and that he found a home at Reformation Lutheran, which clearly supported his “work,” would declare that he once had – then rejected those teachings.
It is my opinion that Rev. Michelson should be defrocked and disciplined by his denomination. I have no expectation that this will occur because his denomination, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, doesn’t seem to consider protection of life a priority.
ELCA Presiding Bishop Mark Hanson issued a statement responding to Tiller’s murder that said in part, “It is unconscionable that Dr. Tiller, who was serving as an usher and welcoming people to worship, should be brutally murdered.” The problem with that position is that there is no evidence that Hanson ever issued a statement on behalf of the 60,000 unborn children that Tiller murdered under the protection of the law.
The ELCA’s priority issues? Global poverty, health care reform and climate change are at the top of the list. Sanctity of life, defense of marriage and family and limiting government don’t seem to be there.
The reality is that this does not materially differ from the dominant strain of evangelicalism that has stood silently by while the body count rises – still – by 4,000 a day. We will leave Rev. Michelson to his congregation and denomination to deal with – however, the greater question is as stated in Ezekiel 33:10: “If our transgressions and our sins be upon us, and we pine away in them, how should we then live?”