Amid media speculation about the possible motivation of the Colorado Springs shooter who killed three people at a Planned Parenthood clinic last Friday, one thing seems to have been overlooked: the slain officer, The Rev. Garrett Swasey, was actually a pro-life pastor (h/t Terry Mattingly).
Time magazine reports that the officer was “heavily involved in his church, a non-denominational evangelical place of worship called Hope Chapel where he was a co-pastor.” Hope Chapel’s doctrinal statements can be viewed online here. The Chapel’s statement on marriage is doctrinally conservative, firmly opposed to gay marriage, and its affirmation that “children, from the moment of conception, are a blessing and heritage from the Lord” is staunchly pro-life (emphases mine – VJT):
It is the belief of Hope Chapel that God has ordained the family as the foundational institution of human society. It is composed of persons related to one another by marriage, blood, or adoption.
We believe marriage is the uniting of one man and one woman in a covenant commitment for a lifetime. Marriage is God’s unique gift to reveal the union between Christ and His church. Marriage also provides the man and the woman the framework for intimate companionship, the channel for sexual expression according to biblical standards, and the means for procreation of the human race. 1
We believe the husband and wife are of equal worth before God, since both are created in God’s image.2 The marriage relationship models the way God relates to His people. A husband is to love his wife as Christ loved the church. He has the God-given responsibility to provide for, to protect, and to lead his family. A wife is to submit herself graciously to the servant leadership of her husband, even as the church willingly submits to the headship of Christ.3 Being made in the image of God, as is her husband, and thus being equal to him, she has the God-given responsibility to respect her husband, and to serve as his helper in managing the household and nurturing the next generation.4
We believe children, from the moment of conception, are a blessing and heritage from the Lord.5 Parents are to demonstrate to their children God’s pattern for marriage. Parents are to teach their children spiritual and moral values, and to lead them to make choices based on biblical truth, through loving discipline and the consistent example of their own lifestyle.6 Children are to honor and obey their parents.7
We express our enthusiastic support for those public policies and programs which aim to strengthen the marriage commitment and to reverse the trend of the disintegration of the nuclear family.
As Christian ministers, we are bound to uphold the integrity of Scripture. We will only perform weddings for believing couples.8 We do not view marriage as a civil union, but as a covenant between a man and a woman, and almighty God.9 Therefore, we reserve the right to refuse to marry any who, according to the Bible, are ineligible. This includes those who are unrepentant with regard to pre-marital sex, those who are co-habiting together,10 and anyone who has not made a credible profession of faith in Jesus Christ.
1 Gen 2:24; Eph 5:32; Gen 1:22; 8:17; 35:11; Prov 5:18; Mal 2:15
2 Gal 3:28, 1Pet 3:7; Gen 1:26-27
3 Eph 5:22-25; 1Cor 11:3
4 Gen 2:18; Eph 6:4; Prov 31:10-31
5 Psa 127:3; Psa 139:13-16
6 1Cor 11:1; 1Pet 2:21; Prov 13:24;
7 Exo 20:12; Eph 6:1; Col 3:20
8 2Cor 6:14
9 Jer 31:31-32; Mal 2:14
10 2Cor 12:21; Eph 5:3
In plain English: The Rev. Garrett Swasey believed that abortion is homicide.
Hope Chapel’s doctrinal statement also forcefully declares: “The Scriptures are fully and verbally inspired by God as the prophets were moved by His Spirit.” No room for ambiguity there.
“If anyone has an urge to kill someone at an abortion clinic, they should shoot me,” said the late Cardinal John O’Connor, preaching to his New York City flock in 1994. “It’s madness. It discredits the right-to-life movement. Murder is murder. It’s madness. You cannot prevent killing by killing.”
Mattingly adds that the slain officer, The Rev. Garrett Swasey, “made this statement to the gunman as he tried to protect people whose lives were at risk: ‘Shoot me.'” A recording of Rev. Swasey’s final sermon can be heard here.
Meanwhile, Mother Jones magazine, in an indignant article titled, “The New, Ugly Surge in Violence and Threats Against Abortion Providers,” suggests that the shootings at Colorado Springs may be connected with “an exponential increase in threats and violence against abortion providers since the release of a series of viral—and widely debunked—videos.” However, the cases of violence which the article cites go back almost 20 years, to the 1990s. (There have been cases of vandalism since then, but property offenses fall into a different moral category from crimes against persons.)
I might add that the Planned Parenthood videos, far from having been debunked, are in fact truthful and accurate (see here, here, here and here). Planned Parenthood has broken the law on at least four counts: illegal profiting from the sale of fetal tissue; performing illegal partial-birth abortions; illegally manipulating abortion procedures; and illegally performing abortions with the knowledge that the fetal body parts will be “donated” to research. As if that were not bad enough, these 39 Yelp reviews of the “services” provided by Planned Parenthood make horrific reading. As one reviewer put it: “If You Can Possibly Avoid Coming Here, Do It.” Reviewers describe Planned Parenthood clinics as “filthy,” “dirty” and manned by staff who displayed “complete indifference and a lack of compassion” and who were “not qualified for a consultation.” Summing it up, one reviewer wrote: “Worst service ever.”
Whatever the reasons may be for the appalling “services” provided by Planned Parenthood, money isn’t one of them: the organization boasted assets of more than $800 million in 2005-2006. Citing a 2007 report in the Weekly Standard, Slate Senior Editor Rachael Larimore writes that Planned Parenthood “gets at least a third of its clinic income — and more than 10 percent of all its revenue, government funding included — from its abortion procedures.” The oft-repeated the claim that abortions make up only 3 percent of the services that Planned Parenthood provides is therefore a shoddy statistic: Larimore describes it as “the most meaningless abortion statistic ever.” (Former Planned Parenthood clinic director Abby Johnson writes that 12 per cent would be a more accurate figure.) In addition, Planned Parenthood gets one-third of its entire budget from taxpayer funding – a figure which belies its frequent assertions that American taxpayers’ dollars do not to pay for abortions.
Ironically, Planned Parenthood, which performs just under one-third of all abortions in the United States, was founded by a women’s rights activist named Margaret Sanger, who opposed abortion and viewed it as an evil practice. In 1932, Sanger wrote: “Although abortion may be resorted to in order to save the life of the mother, the practice of it merely for limitation of offspring is dangerous and vicious.”
Meanwhile, the media reports that the shooting suspect allegedly made a comment to police about “no more baby parts.” However, it turns out that the suspect, who appears to have been an independent art dealer with a degree in public administration, had no political affiliations: he was registered as an unaffiliated voter in Colorado (where he owns a trailer on a piece of land in a town located 100 kilometers west of Colorado Springs), and people who knew him say that religion or abortion never came up in conversation. The man also had no on-line presence that anyone has yet found. Fr. Bill Carmody, a Catholic priest who has celebrated Mass regularly for 20 years in front of the Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs where the shootings took place says that the suspect was not part of his group, adding:“I don’t know him from Adam. I don’t recognize him at all.” Readers can learn more about the suspect’s history here.
Republican presidential candidates Mike Huckabee, Carly Fiorina and Dr. Ben Carson have forcefully condemned Friday’s shootings in Colorado Springs, which former Arkansas Governor Huckabee described as “domestic terrorism.”
In the wake of the shootings, President Obama has called for tighter gun control laws. Given the shooting suspect’s history of alleged domestic violence and his previous arrest records (including two counts of cruelty to animals), I have to say that I agree with the President.
What do readers think?