The setting of the murder of physician George Tiller—a Sunday morning inside the Lutheran church where he was a member—counters the image of late-term abortion providers as secularists, casting him more as a churchgoing martyr than a godless murderer.
Tiller was shot and killed May 31 while passing out bulletins in the lobby of his Wichita, Kansas, church as his wife sat with the choir. The event challenges 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 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 Tiller as “a martyr in the same sense that Dr. [Martin Luther] King was.”