On Friday, 27 November 2015, a gunmen entered a Planned Parenthood location in Colorado Springs, Colorado and began shooting. After killing 3 people and wounding 11 others, he was finally taken into custody and questioned. Over the weekend, much information has surfaced from his neighbours, former family members, and the general investigation. Of all the information given by these sources, one thing is abundantly clear, the man was on a mission fueled by the right wing in this country. His mention of “no more baby parts” proves that he was acting on rhetoric that has been floated by conservative Christians over the past several months.
Normally, I would say that this lone gunman was an outlier. That he was not indicative of the overall Christian religion. But in this case, he was acting on information that has been publically presented to be true. Over the course of the past several years, the right wing has systematically instituted ways in which the right to choose an abortion would be shut down. By passing laws to restrict access to women’s healthcare, attaching amendments to bills to defund women’s healthcare, and putting up multiple barriers through restrictions to women’s healthcare, the right wing in America has declared war on basic human rights for women. Conservative Christians have made it their mission to take away women’s rights in general and, most specifically, the right to decide what we do with our bodies.
Now, there are pastors who will say that the man that shot up the Planned Parenthood in Colorado was not a “real” Christian and that he doesn’t represent the Christian community, but he does. He is acting on information that has been supplied to him by Christians through the media. He has watched as pastors have condemned those that provide women’s health services. He has witnessed senators and congresspeople passing restrictions on women’s healthcare. He has believed the lies that have been told through multiple EDITED videos of Planned Parenthood staff that misrepresent the mission and purpose of fetal tissue donation. He has been duped into thinking that Planned Parenthood sells baby parts when these so-called “baby parts” are a figment of the collective Christian conservative imagination. All this information has flowed into this man and the outcome was horrific.
This is the fault of the right wing. This isn’t the fault of mental health or guns. This isn’t the fault of Planned Parenthood or any other women’s healthcare provider. This is the fault of conservative Christians that stand across the street from abortion clinics and other women’s healthcare facilities and scream at patients on their way in to be provided a legal service. This is the fault of conservative Christians that put up banners on college campuses to shame students into signing petitions against women’s healthcare. This is the fault of every single Christian that sides with the anti-choice movement. Organized religion has, indeed, propagated terror.
And in this sense, conservative Christians have allowed it to happen. Unlike Muslims, who are NOT responsible for the small faction of fundamentalists that propagate terror in the name of Islam, conservative Christians are at fault when it comes to these acts of terror against women seeking basic healthcare services. When the party line is anti-choice, this is what happens. So, stop saying that these “lone gunmen” are outliers. Stop saying they don’t represent all conservative Christians. Stop trying to distance yourself from them and stop trying to make them into mentally ill “activists”. Call them what they are – terrorists – and then call them out. Start teaching peace within the movement. Start working together WITH Planned Parenthood to create programs that allow for family planning to lower the number of abortions rather than standing in front of clinics and inciting violence. Start being the change you wish to see rather than the hatred that is spewed toward other humans. Start being Christian.