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miércoles, junio 03, 2009

Hypocrisy Watch: Excuses By Fundies, The Death of A Doctor

My wonderful phone company, Credo, sent me the following:
"Tiller the Baby Killer."

That's how FOX News host Bill O'Reilly referred to Dr. George Tiller who was murdered in cold blood Sunday while he attended church.

Tiller's crime? He provided healthcare to women. Including abortion. reports that FOX's "O'Reilly Factor" has featured attacks on Dr. Tiller on no less than 28 episodes:

"He's guilty of "Nazi stuff," said O'Reilly on June 8, 2005; "a moral equivalent to NAMBLA and al-Qaida," he suggested on March 15, 2006. "This is the kind of stuff happened in Mao's China, Hitler's Germany, Stalin's Soviet Union," said O'Reilly on Nov. 9, 2006.

What happened Sunday was devastating. And it might not have happened if it wasn't for the hate mongering of Bill O'Reilly and others.

There are two things you can do.
1. Sign our petition to Bill O'Reilly. Ask him to take responsibility for creating an atmosphere in which the assassination of Dr. George Tiller comes as no surprise. And tell him to stop spreading hateful rhetoric which encourages violence against doctors who provide reproductive healthcare for women.

2. Make a donation to Medical Students for Choice in honor of Dr. George Tiller. We must lift up a new generation of doctors who are willing and able to provide reproductive healthcare to women.

This Epistle to the Subscribers made sense to me. I signed petitions and I sent $$. I thought about it. It made sense, sort of: Billo spews garbage, crazy persons ingest garbage, garbage in garbage out, crazy person kills doctor who provides abortions. So it might go. But, alas, it didn't make that much sense, because if somebody believes that the life of a fetus is precious, how much more precious is the life of a doctor? Even a doctor who allegedly commits cardinal sins. Have we gone insane, I wondered.

Then I had the pleasure to re-read a short story by Jorge Luis Borges, "The Sect of the Thirty." The members of the sect are literal, they are deep fundamentalists. They read the Bible literally. Borges explains how they read this Biblical text, Luke 24-25:

Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have storehouse nor barn; and God feedeth them: how much more are ye better than the fowls? The text forbids saving, for If God so clothe the grass, which is today in the field and tomorrow is cast into the over; how much more will he clothe you, O ye of little faith? And seek now what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind

This leads to no saving, and throwing away one's clothing, and going naked, and not planting crops, and so on. Members of the Sect follow this full throttle, the consequences be damned.

And Jesus' admonition Let the dead bury the dead, Borges points out, "condemns the showy vanity of our funerary rites", but it also leads members of the Sect to the belief that dead bodies will actually be buried by spirits of the dead. Hence, no burials. No funerals. Rotting bodies. Vermin eating bodies. Stench. Putrifaction. Pestilence. And public health crises.

I have no intention of spoiling the story. That would be unfair to you. Suffice it to say that the members of the Sect of the Thirty would read the proscription in the Sixth Commandment (Exodus 20:13; Deuteronomy 5:17) literally, "Thou shalt not kill." They would not kill insects, or ants, or animals. Or people. They would not kill anything. There would be no exceptions for killing alleged "killers" either extra-judicially (like Dr. Tiller) or judicially (like Troy Davis). That distinction would be beyond their understanding. As it is beyond mine. Killing would be proscribed. Isn't that what the text says? "Thou shalt not kill" has no provisos, no exceptions, no quibbling, no excuses.

What then are we to make of the assassination of Dr. Tiller? Does it have anything at all to do with fundamental belief systems? Or hypocrisy? Or is it something else entirely? I suspect it is. I suspect it is a species of national, widespread, terrorist mental disease. What else, I ask, can it be? How can the thoughts exist simultaneously in a sane mind that "killing fetuses is wrong" and "those who kill fetuses are justifiably killed?" How can the "killers" of fetuses be condemned and the killers of doctors be called heroes? How can killing to end killing make sense, either as vigilantism (Dr. Tiller) or state killing (Troy Davis)? If killing is wrong, isn't killing always wrong? Will the person who killed Dr. Tiller answer these questions? Will his supporters? Will the news media? I doubt it. I suspect that applause for the killer will continue. And that the rest of us will continue to be stunned, shocked into silence.

I propose this to you for your consideration: There needs to be a new category in the DSM IV, that compendium of recognized mental illnesses, for this. I leave to you naming it. Our society has been breeding a specific kind of dangerous mental illness, and the assassination of Dr. Tiller proves it. Some members of our society have become unglued in their delusions, their religiosity, their violence, and the rest of us stand by in shock and horror as they play out their colossal hypocrisy.

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