More details are emerging today about the killing of Dr. Tiller who was killed as he was serving as an usher at his Lutheran congregation. Dr. Tiller's murder is thought to have happened because of his work providing late-term abortions. Today the pundits are starting to weigh in as well.
You can find the latest details on the story here.
Andrew Sullivan sees a connection between Tiller's murder and the violent rhetoric now commonly used in the media by those who oppose abortion.
We've heard here at the Cafe that there will be a memorial service for Dr. Tiller tonight at St. Paul's Episcopal Cathedral in Boston at 6 PM. (From here.)
Dr. Tiller's murder has been widely condemned on both sides of the pro-choice/life debate. The statement by the Right to Life organization in Kansas (Dr. Tiller's home state) is typical.
Bishop Wolfe and clergy of the Diocese of Kansas have released a statement condemning the murder. The full text of the statement and the Diocesan press release follows below.
Wichita area clergy issue statement about the death of Dr. George Tiller
A dozen clergy who serve Episcopal churches in the metropolitan Wichita area have issued a statement expressing their sadness and horror at the murder of Dr. George Tiller in his Wichita church on Sunday, May 31. They were joined in their statement by the Rt. Rev. Dean E. Wolfe, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Kansas.
The clergy said they were reaching out to neighbors in Wichita and beyond of all denominations and faiths, and they urged others “to reach out to your brothers and sisters in love without fear.”
The 10 priests and two deacons, along with Bishop Wolfe, said of Dr. Tiller’s murder, “This was not a Christian act; this is not what Jesus taught.” They said their faith in Jesus Christ makes them “absolutely certain that violence will never prevail, and that darkness will not win.”
By early afternoon on Monday, two Wichita rectors had announced that they would be available to their parishioners for special prayers on Wednesday. The Rev. Cathie Caimano of St. John’s said her parish’s regular Wednesday Evening Prayer service would include special prayers for the circumstances. The Very Rev. Kate Moorehead of St. James’ told her parishioners in an e-mail that she would be at the church Wednesday evening to pray and talk with anyone who wanted to stop by.
The statement, with names of those signing it, follows.
“For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
We are writing as members of the Episcopal Clergy of the Southwest Convocation, a region of the Episcopal Diocese of Kansas.
We are deeply saddened and horrified by the killing of Dr. George Tiller while in his place of worship this past Sunday. As worship leaders this is particularly devastating for us and our Christian communities, and worshipers of God all across this country.
We are especially affected by this terrible act because violence precludes relationship – and to move out of relationship is where sin flourishes. Where can we go if murder is a solution? There is no hope, and there is no discussion if all ends in violence and fear.
Our concern is for our neighborhoods, our churches, our friends and families, our communities and our cities. People are drawn into places of worship precisely because worshiping God points us to a larger truth.
More than anything, our belief is in the Risen Lord, Jesus the Christ, and because of this we are assured that violence will never have the last word. This was not a Christian act; this was not what Jesus taught.
We feel compelled to make this statement as witnesses to our faith, that we hold absolutely certain that violence will never prevail, and that darkness will not win. In the name of Jesus Christ, we reach out to all of our neighbors, in Wichita and beyond, across denominations and faiths; we bid you to continue to reach out to your brothers and sisters in love without fear. And we encourage you to continue conversation even in the midst of differing views. We feel assured that we can disagree without resorting to acts of violence.
Our prayers continue for Dr. Tiller’s family and everyone who has been touched by this violence.
The Rt. Rev. Dean E. Wolfe, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Kansas
The Very Rev. Katherine B. Moorehead, Dean of the Southwest Convocation and Rector, St. James Episcopal Church, Wichita
Deacon Patsy A. Abshier, Deacon, St. John’s Episcopal Church, Wichita
The Rev. Eric A. Anderson, Rector, St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church, Newton
The Rev. Catherine A. Caimano, Rector, St. John’s Episcopal Church, Wichita
The Rev. C.P. Criss, retired, St. James Episcopal Church, Wichita
The Rev. Betty M. Glover, Rector, Grace Episcopal Church, Winfield and Trinity Episcopal Church, Arkansas City
The Rev. Liz Gomes, retired, St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church, Wichita
Deacon Bob Hirst, Deacon, Good Shepherd Episcopal Church, Wichita
The Rev. Laurie Lewis, Curate, Trinity Episcopal Church, El Dorado
The Rev. Ronald R. Peak, Rector, Trinity Episcopal Church, El Dorado
The Rev. Steven Mues, Rector, Stephen’s Episcopal Church, A Combined Ministry, Wichita
The Rev. Tom Wilson, Rector, St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, Derby