The Christian right didn't murder George Tiller, said James Kirchick in The Wall Street Journal. The killing of the late-term abortion doctor in a Wichita church was the work of a lone gunman. The Left is using the attack to smear religious conservatives as a sort of American Taliban, but the truth is that "every anti-abortion group in the country" has denounced the violent methods of "Judeo-Christian extremists."
It's not enough that "most—though not all—of the anti-abortion movement's leaders were quick to condemn Tiller's murder," said Tim Rutten in the Los Angeles Times. The man accused of gunning down Tiller, Scott Roeder, had the phone number of a leader of anti-abortion protest group Operation Rescue in his pocket. Everybody who has ever said that voluntarily ending a pregnancy is murder can now see "the influence their inflammatory rhetoric" can have on an "unstable" fanatic.
Like it or not, said Kathleen Parker in The Washington Post, right-wing "wackos" taint the conservative cause. "The man who pulled the trigger" killed George Tiller, but "fire-breathers on the Right"—including anti-abortion leader Randall Terry, founder of Operation Rescue—also alienate the mainstream. And if the Republican Party doesn't want its image to be stained by fringe elements, it has to do more to "marginalize those who belong in the margins."
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- How our botched understanding of 'science' ruins everything
- The science of sex: 4 harsh truths about dating and mating
- 6 things the happiest families all have in common
- California's epic drought
- How to develop and defend smart opinions
- 11 scientific studies that will restore your faith in humanity
- 13 Urban Outfitters controversies
- Why you should stop believing in evolution
Subscribe to the Week