The murder of doctor and abortion rights activist George Tiller
in his church has spurred many to use social network sites to call for donations to pro-choice organizations. As a church-going religious liberal who still remembers the shootings in a Unitarian church
last year, I would also suggest that readers from larger and more conservative faith traditions visit a congregation of a smaller and politically progressive denomination to express their support for religious minorities. Tiller's Reformation Lutheran Church
, which serves the Wichita area, has blanketed their website with a single statement to the media.Our congregation strives to be a safe place for all people. We deplore the violence that took place within the walls of our church. Further, we reject any notion that violence against another human being is an acceptable way to resolve differences over any issue. We must always strive to engage in peaceful discussion. Our faith calls us to this. Our humanity demands it.
In the wake of this tragic event, our deepest concern is for the family of George Tiller. We ask the community to join us in prayer for them as they face the difficult days ahead. Our hearts ache with them. We also ask that the family's privacy be respected.
Under normal circumstances, the Reformation website looks more like this:
The website for Tiller's clinic at Women's Health Care Services
has undergone an even more dramatic transformation. At one time it contained many forms of rhetorical address to deal with the exigencies faced by women considering late-term abortion. For example, the clinic had a number of "If You Are Pregnant" buttons that led to booklets and directories. (Click to enlarge.)
Now the stark appearance of Dr. Tiller's website indicates that an obliterating disaster has taken place. It also makes its own plea for privacy and time offline.
Labels: institutional rhetoric, medicine, religion