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Franky Schaeffer Dishonestly Pins Tiller’s Murder on His Father

John on June 4, 2009 at 1:22 pm

No surprise to those who’ve followed his career. Franky Schaeffer has found a new way to drag his father’s name through the mud, this time by blaming him for the murder of Dr. Tiller:

My late father and I share part of the blame for the murder of Dr. George Tiller, the abortion doctor gunned down on Sunday…

In the early ’80s, my father followed up with a book that sold over a million copies and which, in certain passages, advocated force if all other methods for rolling back the abortion ruling of Roe v. Wade failed. He compared America and its legalized abortion to Hitler’s Germany and said that whatever tactics would have been morally justified in removing Hitler would be justified in trying to stop abortion. I said the same thing in a best-selling book I wrote.

Reading this, you’d assume of course that Francis Schaeffer would have applauded the murder of Dr. Tiller. That’s exactly what Franky wants you to think, but it’s not true.

As it happens, I’ve responded to this same pathetic argument once before when it appeared in Michelle Goldberg’s Kingdom Coming: The Rise of Christian Nationalism. In the book, Goldberg writes:

Schaeffer was one of the first evangelical leaders to get deeply involved in the fight against abortion, and he advocated civil disobedience and the possible use of force to stop it.

Same charge. Here’s my response from 2006, which still applies:

In reality, Schaeffer’s Christian Manifesto does have a chapter called “The Use of Force” and the chapter does indeed argue that in certain circumstances, when all other avenues have been closed, defensive force should be used. Schaeffer gives an example, “A true Christian in Hitler’s Germany should have defied the false and counterfeit state and hidden his Jewish neighbors ” Anyone want to disagree? Schaeffer then turns to the issue of abortion and gives three avenues to address it:

  • First, we should aggressively support a human life bill or a constitutional amendment protecting unborn children
  • Second, we must enter the courts seeking to overturn the Supreme Court’s abortion decision.
  • Third, legal and political action should be taken against hospitals and abortion clinics that perform abortions

He further clarifies #3 as involving legislation, lawsuits and non-violent picketing outside of clinics. So “force”, in this case, does not equate to violence but to non-violent action. Finally, Schaeffer adds a fourth action point:

  • Fourth, the State must be made to feel the presence of the Christian community.

Describing what he means by this, Schaeffer writes:

State officials must know that we are serious about stopping abortion, which is a matter of clear principle concerning the babies themselves and concerning a high view of human life. This may include doing such things as sit-ins in legislatures and courts, including the Supreme Court, when other constitutional means fail. We must make people aware that this is not a political game, but totally crucial and serious. And we must also demonstrate to people that there is indeed a proper bottom line. To repeat: the bottom line is that at a certain point there is not only the right, but the duty, to disobey the state.

So contrary to the impression left by Goldberg’s summary [and Franky Schaeffer's as well], Schaffer was quite explicit about what he meant by the use of force. It was explicitly peaceful civil disobedience as a last resort. He never advocated violence against abortion providers or seizing the reigns of power through violence. In fact, the paragraph above is immediately followed by this one:

Of course, this is scary. There are at least four reasons why. First, we must make definite that we are in no way talking about any kind of a theocracy. Let me say that with great emphasis. Witherspoon, Jefferson, the American Founders had no idea of a theocracy. That is made plain by the First Amendment, and we must continually emphasize the fact that we are not talking about some kind, or any kind, of a theocracy.

[End excerpt]

If what Francis Schaeffer has advocated in print is “hate” then so is the entire history of non-violent civil disobedience, including the work of Dr. King. Shame on Franky for choosing this moment to dishonestly smear his father’s legacy with the suggestion that he advocated (or approved of) violence against abortion providers.

This is hardly the first time Franky Schaeffer has found a way to drag his father’s name through the mud, but it certainly is a new low. I’ve sent him an e-mail saying as much. We’ll see if he has the courage to respond to my e-mail or the substance of this post. I’m guessing not.

Related: I guess it should be no surprise that the new and improved Little Green Footballs is highlighting this. I’ve sent Charles a link pointing out what a sack of crap it is.

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Category: Pro-Life |

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