Over at Get Religion, Mollie Z. Hemingway lamented how reporters are trying to use the murder of late-term abortionist George Tiller at church to challenge "popular perceptions" that abortionists can’t be a "faithful member of the Lutheran church" and love Jesus. Take this vomit-inducing introduction to a Religion News Service article by Lindsay Perna and Tiffany Stanley:
Dr. George Tiller's murder last Sunday morning in the lobby of his Lutheran church counters the secular image of a late-term abortion provider, pinning him more as a churchgoing "martyr" than a godless murderer.
Shot and killed while passing out bulletins in the lobby of his Wichita, Kan., church as his wife sat in the choir, Tiller is already challenging popular perceptions of both abortion providers and the abortion-rights movement.
"It shows a dimension of the movement that a lot of people don't know about," said the Rev. Carlton Veazey, president of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice. "This man was castigated for what he did -- but he was a faithful member of the Lutheran church and that gives a different view of him and his work."
Veazey sees the face of Tiller as more of "a martyr in the same sense that Dr. [Martin Luther] King was."
Mollie’s point was that while Tiller’s church was part of the mainline Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, he’d been excommunicated by a more traditional Lutheran church:
What none of these stories have explained is that Tiller had previously been excommunicated by a Lutheran congregation on account of his lack of repentance about and refusal to stop his occupation. That Lutheran congregation was a member of my church body, the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. Excommunication doesn’t happen terribly frequently in this day and age but it’s not unheard of. I don’t know any of the specifics about his past congregation or what led to the discipline and anticipated learning more about it when it was covered by the mainstream media. Unfortunately, that hasn’t happened.