The recent report of an anti-abortion activist shooting a doctor has drawn a lot of attention, particularly to how other such activists and people opposed to legal abortion have reacted. Those who see abortion as a right and who therefore deplore violence as a means of opposing that right are outraged not only by the crime but also by what they perceive as a tacit acceptance of this type of violent incident by those who see abortion as immoral. The abortion proponents, in effect, demand that the opponents publically and loudly repudiate violence as a means of pursuing the goal of outlawing abortion. Probably, no amount of such repudiation would ever satisfy these proponents because their sense of violation and injustice is just too overwhelming.
As I contemplate this continuing drama over abortion, I cannot help but notice the similarities between it and another religiously inspired drama in our lives, the war on terror. In similar fashion to the situation above, the Islamic world views itself as morally superior to all others. While most in that world who oppose what they perceive as the immoral, western influenced secularization of their society, would not resort to murder and mayhem, some on the fringe would and do. When that, in fact, happens, as on 9/11, we in the western world look for the same repudiation of violence by the Islamic majority that the abortion proponents now seek and do not “see” from the larger population of abortion opponents.
The simple fact of the matter is that a people or group who see themselves as the defenders of morality, especially God ordained defenders, can mentally justify almost anything used in that defense. The history of what has passed for Christianity in every age demonstrates this fact irrefutably. The Apostle Paul’s admonition to overcome evil with good has gained little traction among those of us who feel morally superior.
Once again, all we Christians need to do to understand Islamic extremism is to look in the mirror. We and they are mutually the problem and concurrently the potential solution.