In Memoriam: Dr. George Tiller

Someone should remind Bill O’Reilly, and all the rest of those whose notions of Christian righteousness are stained with blood today, of this:

And He opened His mouth and taught them, saying:
Blessed are the poor in spirit,
For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they that mourn,
For they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
For they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness,
For they shall be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
For they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
For they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
For they shall be called children of God.
Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake,
For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

Dr. Tiller lived according to these principles. Who among those who’ve borne false witness against him can say the same of themselves?

6 Comments

  1. Karen M says:

    None can, William.

    In fact, Dr. Tiller, I have read, wore a button that said “Trust Women.”

    None of those who have smeared his reputation or contributed to creating the environment that led to his death ever could or would wear such a button. They would feel unmanned, if they did.

    • William Timberman says:

      We have such a long way to go, Karen. I hesitate to call Dr. Tiller a hero, or a martyr, because it would have embarrassed him. I don’t know if you watch Amy Goodman, but the testimony on her show of the women who knew him was all you need to know about his essential character. He was an ordinary man in extraordinary circumstances, who inspired others, and did his duty to the end. I found it a great lesson in how to be a human being.

      A while back, I saw a piece — it may have been on Salon, or OpenLeft, I can’t remember — that asked the question Does having daughters make a man more liberal? It sounded like one of those things that are written to generate a shallow controversy, and I didn’t bother reading it. I thought about the title afterwards, though, and reflected on some of my experiences with my own daughter. Men raised in our society — men of my age, at least — were horribly unreconstructed in our youth. We adapted as well as we could to the changes women demanded of us, but generally made a hash of it.

      The sexual power struggle was distraction enough, but adding the social struggle on top of it often led to an uneasy truce with our wives. Love, if you like, was always conditioned by a kind of shell-shocked wariness, and no small amount of doubt. When my daughter got to a certain age, though — I think she was about ten or eleven — everything began to fall into place. She had no reason to be wary around me, nor I around her, and suddenly everything my wife — by then my ex-wife — had been trying to communicate to me began to make sense. She saw the world differently. It was that simple, I suppose, but sometimes the simple things are the last things we get around to understanding. It was a great revelation, and I’ve been glad ever since that I had the chance to experience it.

  2. I really liked this post. Can I copy it to my site? Thank you in advance.

    • William Timberman says:

      A link would be easier, wouldn’t it?

      • LWM says:

        I think he meant repost it with a link. Say yes.

        The meek shall inherit the earth? I think Jesus meant they shall inherit a place in Heaven. Cockroaches will inherit the the earth and there is nothing meek about them.

        • William Timberman says:

          Ah, you’re in a mood today, I see. No, I think Jesus meant pretty much what he said. Your problem, I suspect, is with the modern meaning of meek.

          It’s something that I actually believe. Throughout human history, the instinct which builds communities, provides mutual support, etc. has been as strong as the instinct which produces war, famine, pestilence and death — the famous four horsemen and all. It just doesn’t get as good a press. The sternest exposition of this point of view that I know of was The Seven Samurai. If you don’t go for Jesus, you might try that.