This trial, starting in Wichita, Kansas this week has the potential of defining the pro life battle for at least the next decade, if not more. The reason for this is the fact that the prosecutor is attempting to have Mr. Roeder’s ‘motive’ thrown out as testimony for his actions. Now, without trying to sound like I am condoning Mr. Roeder’s actions, it is also clear that our justice system always takes motives into account when determining crime and sentencing (Just look at the hate crimes legislation for that).
These are the questions posed to potential jurors by the prosecutor:
- What is your religious affiliation/denomination, if any?
- Do you attend a place of worship, i.e., Church, Temple, etc.? If yes, state where and how often?
- If applicable, do you participate in other activities in your place of worship? If yes, please state the type of activities and how frequently:
- If married or living with a mate, please describe their religious preference:
- If applicable, does your place of worship and/or particular denomination take an official stand on the practice of abortion?
- How would you rate the importance of your religious beliefs in your day to day life? Utmost important, Very important, Somewhat important, Not important at all
- Do you have any principles based on religious or ethical teaching or dogma that would affect your ability to serve as a fair and impartial juror? If yes, please explain.
If one takes the time to read these questions, it appears obvious that the prosecutor wants to ‘stack’ the jury with atheists or non practicing Christians as a way of securing a murder one conviction, and to leave the question of abortion off the table. Regardless of what one thinks about Roeder’s actions, his primary motivation was to stop Tiller from murdering more babies and Mr. Roeder believed he had a right to do this.
Mr. Roeder also deserves a fair trial by his peers, and this cannot occur if the primary motive for committing the crime is not on the table for discussion or scrutiny. This also has the potential of twisting the protection of law for others who engage in activities that may become unpopular in the future.
Now, I want to be clear on what I just stated so that no one distorts or reads into the above statement. I am not comparing what Roeder did to activities such as Notre Dame, but if the government, or the judicial system can get away with labeling crimes and activities in such a way that motives can be banned as evidence, it will not be long before any activity deemed ‘uncivil’ or confrontational will have no defense. Roeder committed murder, and this is indisputable. He deserves punishment, and will have to deal with whatever his peers decide. However, Roeder should have his day and say in court, and his motives are very relevant, and need to be heard. As pro lifers, as well as Americans, we must insist on that occurring, because our country is built on these principles, and there should be no individual or groups that are made the exceptions to lawful jurisprudence.
As repulsive as many may see this, once there is justification to take one’s rights away, it can be justified in other situations. For instance, is it such a leap of thought to label Roeder an extremist or terrorist, and disallow his defense, then jump to other behaviors, such as what the ND 88 did and deny them their rights? Obviously, what Roeder did versus the ND 88 are apples and oranges, but given the fact that the ND 88 were surrounded by Obama supporters, who were unmolested by the police shows prejudicial actions, and in that end is not dissimilar to Roeder being denied his defense.
The problem is, that it is the liberal faction in this society, accompanied by the mainstream press that is publicly trying Roeder (by disallowing and criticizing his defense) before the trial has even begun. This is a dangerous situation, and the application from a case in which someone acted violently and unilaterally and without widespread support, most likely will be applied to non violent, peaceful demonstrations of civil disobedience, and the outcome very well may be long term jail, or other harsh measures that will be right around the corner.
This trial is very important, and it is not the time for the pro life side to be silent about it. We need to make our voices heard, and make sure that Roeder gets his day in court, no matter how repulsive one may believe this to be. One day soon, it may be the mainstream Christian facing a judge and Jury, and the Christian may be informed that the Bible, belief system or church cannot be used as a defense for whatever the charge against the individual by the developing god/state will be.