As expected, no sooner had blood been spilled at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado than accusations of "Christian terrorism" began to fly across the internet, despite the fact that: 1) no motive had been announced; 2) there was no hint of a connection between the murderer and any pro-life organization; and 3) pro-life leaders immediately denounced the killings as soon as the news was released.
In the words of Jason Benham, posting on Twitter, "True pro-lifers care about all life, including employees and clients of #PlannedParenthood. Praying for those in #ColoradoSpringsShooting."
Or, as stated by Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, "While the investigation into the shooting at the Planned Parenthood center continues, regardless of what the motive is determined to be, we strongly condemn this violence . . . . Only through peaceful means — not violence — can we truly become a nation that once again values all human life, born and unborn."
In contrast, Bette Midler was quick to point a finger, also using Twitter: "Thanks to overheated screeds spewing from the mouths of the GOP, and in Congress, innocent people have died in CO, including a policeman." And, "We share the concerns of many Americans that extremists are creating a poisonous environment that feeds domestic terrorism in this country."
Others began to ask me on Facebook when I was going to denounce "Christian terrorism," just as I regularly denounce Islamic terrorism, with one man asking me about "apparent Christian terrorist Robert Lewis Dear." (Dear was the shooter, who ultimately surrendered to police.)
A blogger on the Patheos website went as far as stating that, "Christian terrorism is a bigger threat to U.S. freedom than Islamic extremism."
He concluded his article with these startling (and, plainly, ridiculous) words: "Today's attack is an act of religious terrorism, there should be no other words to describe it. Just as many demand we label terrorism carried out in the name of Islam as Islamic terrorism, we must do the same to Christianity and realize the Christian religion is just as dangerous and prone to incite violence as its younger brother, Islam."
How do we respond to irresponsible and irrational rhetoric like this?
The respected Newsweek journalist Kurt Eichenwald even tweeted, "The time has come to hold @daviddaleiden accountable for violence spawned by his lying 'baby body parts' video. Indict him 4 manslaughter."
Like many other leaders, as soon as I heard the news about the horrific shooting, I tweeted out, "In light of today's news about a shooter at a Planned Parenthood, we state again that this is NOT the way of Jesus or the way of pro-life."
Then, as I began to see the mounting charges of "Christian terrorism" or "Christian extremism," I tweeted, "In light of some crazy rhetoric here re: pro-lifers wanting to kill abortion doctors, if that was the case, 1,000's would be killed by now."
The fact is that the pro-life movement is an overwhelmingly peaceful movement, despite our profound and deep objection to abortion on demand and despite the deplorable practices of Planned Parenthood.