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This Man was Led Astray by Religious Right Pastors
Hysterical anti-abortion rhetoric by pastors of the religious right is responsible for the deaths in Colorado at Planned Parenthood. Irresponsible preaching must stop.
By Ed Knudson
On Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2015, Robert Lewis Dear appeared before Judge Gilbert Martinez in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Dear is accused of killing three people in the Planned Parenthood building there. During his court appearance Dear hollered out that he was a "warrior for babies".
Reuters reports that:
Dear has been held without bond since surrendering to police at the end of a five-hour siege on Nov. 27 that authorities said began when he opened fire with a rifle in front of the clinic, then stormed inside. It was the first deadly assault on a U.S. abortion provider since 2009. Three people, including a police officer, were killed and nine were wounded. Dear's outburst took place at the start of his hearing in El Paso County court on Wednesday. He was not scheduled to formally enter a plea at the proceedings. "I'm guilty, there's no trial. I'm a warrior for the babies," Dear blurted out in a loud voice while seated beside his lawyers before the judge. Addressing the judge, defense attorney Dan King raised the issue of Dear's mental competency to stand trial, saying, "I think the problem is obvious."Yes, the problem is obvious. So, who is really responsible for putting these ideas in the head of Robert Lewis Dear? In the libertarian fantasy world every individual person is responsible for what is inside his or her head. In the real world of social facts people are entirely influenced by the groups and persons with whom they associate; they are influenced by leaders; they are influenced by religious authorities who preach in public space about what is good and bad to do. And the preachers in public space these last years, since the 1973 decision on abortion by the Supreme Court, who are associated with the "religious right" in this country have been using terms such as "baby killers" to refer to doctors and others involved in providing legal abortions to women who need them. It is these pastors who are responsible for the killings in Colorado.
It is these pastors who put these ideas in the head of this man. Yes, we all should be responsible for our ideas. But we should also understand the significant role of pastors speaking in public space. If you know of a pastor who speaks in a hysterical way about abortion take it upon yourself to tell him or her to stop it. We should be able to be safe in public places.
Photo by © Andy Cross/The Denver Post via AP.
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