This afternoon, the House of Representatives unanimously passed a resolution condemning the murder of Dr. George Tiller, speaking with one voice to say “violence is deplorable and never an acceptable avenue for expressing opposing viewpoints.”
Condemning the murder of Dr. George Tiller, who was shot to death at his church on May 31, 2009.
Whereas Dr. George Tiller was murdered in Wichita, Kansas, on May 31, 2009;
Whereas Dr. Tiller is mourned by his family, friends, congregation, community, and colleagues;
Whereas Dr. Tiller, 67, was killed in his place of worship, a place intended for peace and refuge that in a moment became a place for violence and murder;
Whereas places of worship should be sanctuaries, but have increasingly borne witness to reprehensible acts of violence, with 38 people in the United States killed in their place of worship in the past 10 years and 30 people wounded in those same incidents;
Whereas these acts of violence include the murder of an Illinois pastor at the pulpit in March 2009, the murder of an Ohio minister in November 2008, the murder of an usher and a guest during a children’s play in a Tennessee church in July 2008, the murder of four family members in a church in Louisiana in May 2006, and the shooting of a worshipper outside a synagogue in Florida in October 2005; and
Whereas violence is deplorable, and never an acceptable avenue for expressing opposing viewpoints: Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That the House of Representatives–
(1) offers its condolences to Dr. Tiller’s family; and
(2) commits to the American principle that tolerance must always be superior to intolerance, and that violence is never an appropriate response to a difference in beliefs.
Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY), the author of the Resolution:
A single gunshot fired by a man who apparently has a long history of animosity to women’s right to choose, ended the life of a man who has dedicated his life to helping others, and was a stark reminder to all of us a raw emotion surrounding this issue. In the days since the arrest of the shooter, we have now heard reports that even more violence may be planned against doctors who believe in choice. And while this kind of violence is deplorable, it seems to me that this act is particularly villainous because it took place in a house of worship. This church, a place where people come together to seek peace, safety and protection, was in an instant transformed into a place of shocking, senseless violence. Our places of worship are meant to be peaceful refuges for those who seek serenity in times of turmoil, and safety in times of hostility. The sanctity of these places is honored at all times and without regard to denomination. There should be no exception to this rule that we are taught early and provides us with a structure with other faiths and beliefs. Only the most evil can bring violence in these most sacred buildings. To defile houses of worship with bloodshed is nothing less than villainous and we should not tolerate such actions in a civilized society.
Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO):
Our society has too often recently devolved into violence to address controversy. The murder of a doctor who is beloved by his family, trusted by his patients, and respected by his community is never an acceptable form of expression. While virtually all established groups have condemned this act, some individuals are still threatening violence against the health care providers they disagree with. The message to those people needs to be unequivocal and it needs to be unanimous, we will not condone violence in any form, and those who perpetrate it will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY):
It is a sad reminder that medical personnel are still at risk from armed extremists who are willing to resort to deadly violence in order to advance their causes, even when they cloak their cause is in the language of life. There can never be room in the free society for the use of deadly violence to advance a cause. It is against everything this country stands for. I have no doubt there isn’t a single Member of this House who would disagree. This resolution renews our commitment to the ‘American principle that tolerance must always be superior to intolerance, and that violence is never an appropriate response to differences in belief.’