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And the Absurdities Go On
January 6, 1995

''Thank you for what you did.''
''He wasn't worried about it. It wasn't a big issue.''
''He's a hero.''
''This is going to be, hopefully, the beginning of the war, and we'll win because we're
right, and we'll once again have godly laws in our land.''

''John Salvi – Prisoner of War.''
''There's nothing wrong with John whatsoever other than he killed a couple people.''

And the absurdities go on. In a written statement, Salvi, accused of killing two receptionists at two abortion clinics in Brookline, Mass., says he wants to die if convicted, and to become a priest if acquitted.

That should warm the hearts of the Catholic Church, already reeling under the heavy legal and financial weight of sex offenders in their ranks. Consider how comforting it would be to have Father Salvi on the other side of the confessional curtain. After all, he understands stress, and he can assure you it's no big deal.

Salvi also said he's not going to tell all about the killings he is accused of committing unless it's to Barbara Walters on national television. Barbara, to her credit, has refused to bite.

This latest incident makes it clear that it is high time we as a country dealt with the Christian terrorists in our midst. I know that concept is a loaded one for many people. After all, Christian terrorism is a phrase that just simply does not compute. It's an oxymoron. Being intellectually irrational, it can't exist.

Except that they are killing in your name. Is that all right with you?

I want the churches, all of them, to deal with the snakes in their midst. And while they are doing that, our federal government should be flipping through the civil rights laws dealing with hate crimes.

These crimes are being committed by men wanting to prevent women from being able to make decisions about their bodies. If women are in charge of their own bodies, then men are not. And to these control freaks, that is totally unacceptable. All of the terrorist attacks at clinics have been committed by men. All the spokesmen interviewed on TV from the anti-abortion community have been men. All of the religious leaders supporting the actions of the killers are men.

On the other side, none of the people going into the clinics to have an abortion are men. Not a single one.

The Supreme Court, in Roe v. Wade, recognized abortion as an issue on which religious leaders, theologians and philosophers disagree. It drew the line at the lowest common denominator, fetal viability, and left the rest to personal religious or moral convictions.

In this country, with religious freedom at its very core, that should have been enough. But not for some folks.

We are horrified when, in some Middle Eastern country, religious fundamentalists shoot women down on the street for not being properly veiled in public, and we count our blessings that that can't happen in this country.

Well, wake up folks. People who do not share the convictions of the religious terrorists on the issue of abortion are being gunned down at work and in the streets of America because of that disagreement, and that disagreement alone.

Religious convictions enforced at the end of a gun are a big-time violation of our civil rights – not to mention a clear sign that the religious conviction being enforced can't stand on its own merits.

One more thing. Beyond the hate and the declaration of open warfare by some so-called Christian leaders, a new and very troubling element entered the abortion scene with the Brookline killings.

It is bad enough that we have murderous fanatics in our midst. But knowing that they're crazy gives us, in a strange way, a sense of balance. They're nuts. They're not like us.

That makes the last quote that opened this piece, expressed by a seemingly normal and chance neighbor of the accused killer, so chilling.

Do we really now live in a country where the neighbors can consider someone perfectly normal, except for the fact that he's killed a couple of people?

Have we all, as a nation and a society, gone mad?

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