The escalation of violent attacks against abortion clinics in the United States is being incited by leaders of the Religious Right. Some leaders of the Religious Right are clearly advocating illegal acts in order to stop what they term baby killing. These illegal acts range from harassment to the taking up of arms. The Religious Right justifies these actions by claiming they must obey God's laws, rather than man's.
Franky Schaeffer, son of the late Christian philosopher Francis Schaeffer, stated in his book, Bad News for Modern Man (1984), that "abortion clinics must be picketed nonstop. Doctors who wish to murder the innocent must be harassed and driven from our communities."
Schaeffer and attorney John Whitehead are co-founders of the Rutherford Institute, which believes that all law in America should be based upon the Bible and that "we should obey God, rather than man."
The Rutherford Institute is considered the legal arm of ultra-right Christian organizations throughout the United States. However, in a televised debate with Skipp Porteous last month, Jerry Falwell denied that Moral Majority was associated in any way with the Rutherford Institute. Yet, in the May 1983 and January 1985 Moral Majority Report, articles about the Rutherford Institute were featured.
In Whitehead's book, The Second American Revolution (1982), he wrote, "Like it or not, the church is at war." He devoted a chapter to the permissibility of a Christian using physical force to combat that which Christians deem ungodly. He explained that any law which goes against the Bible, as they claim abortion does, must be disobeyed. The Religious Right points to obscure Bible verses in an attempt to prove that abortion goes against God's law.
Convinced by the leadership of the Religious Right that abortion is murder and must be stopped, their followers are encouraged to use any means, including physical force if necessary, to stop abortion and other sins. In The Second American Revolution, alternatives to physical force are set forth as vocal protest to laws that are unbiblical, the use of elected officials to mediate on behalf of Christians' concerns, leaving the country (which Whitehead dismisses as impractical), and finally, if all else fails, the use of physical force "in the defensive posture." The defensive posture is compared to the American Revolution, which Whitehead claims was not a revolution, but defense against an invasion from another country. The church, he and others claim, must defend itself from an invasion by secular humanists. Some who have been arrested for bombing abortion clinics have said that they were defending the lives of unborn babies. According to The Second American Revolution, this action is appropriate, since all other avenues have failed.
Though no one has come out publicly and said, "Let's bomb the abortion clinics," the leaders of the Religious Right are sanctioning physical violence against abortion clinics. The leaders of the Religious Right have created a monster they can no longer contain, and unless they declare an end to their holy war, the bombings will continue to escalate.
This article first appeared in the January 1985 issue of The Freedom Writer.