By Bob Allen
A Southern Baptist pastor in Florida responded to Friday’s shooting rampage at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado by claiming Planned Parenthood Federation of America President Cecile Richards hates God and loves death.
In video of his Nov. 29 sermon on WTLV-TV excerpted by Raw Story, Pastor Mac Brunson called on worshippers at his church to listen “in light of what we are living through right now” to Proverbs 8:26: “But he that sinneth against me wrongeth his own soul: all they that hate me love death.”
“I can get onto Planned Parenthood here,” Brunson said. “Who in the world is better to represent them than that president of Planned Parenthood? You’ve seen her on Ellen DeGeneres. You’ve seen her before Congress. She is so astute. She is so smart. She is so sharp. She is attractive. She is so clean cut, but let me tell you something. She hates our God, because she loves death. She loves death.”
“Those doctors that practice that, they hate our God; they love death,” he continued.
Sources say it’s unclear why 57-year-old Robert Lewis Dear killed three people and wounded nine in a deadly siege at the Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, but at one point he told investigators “no more baby parts.”
He likely alluded to controversial undercover videos by an anti-abortion group alleging that Planned Parenthood profits from the sale of fetal tissue harvested by abortion.
The Center for Medical Progress, the group behind the videos, released a statement condemning “the barbaric killing spree in Colorado Springs by a violent madman” and applauding “the heroic efforts of law enforcement to stop the violence quickly and rescue the victims.”
Asked Monday on NPR whether it’s fair to link the Colorado shooting to the video controversy, Richards said: “I think it’s important to recognize that words matter, and when you use this kind of hateful rhetoric, whether you are a politician or whether you’re in elected office or whether you’re an opposition group, this kind of rhetoric toward doctors and women seeking health care has real impact.”
Vicki Cowart, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, said: “We share the concerns of many Americans that the continued attacks against abortion providers and patients, as well as law enforcement officers, is creating a poisonous environment that breeds acts of violence, but we will never back away from providing critical health care to millions of people who rely on and trust us every day.”
Russell Moore, head of the Southern Baptist Convention Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, denounced the attack on Twitter.
“Vigilante violence at abortion facilities is immoral and condemned by Christians,” Moore tweeted. “We overcome evil with good, not with more evil (Rom 12:21).”
Moore has described practices discussed in the videos as “murderous in the most ghoulish way imaginable.” He labeled Planned Parenthood a “violent organization of pirates” and identified King Herod, who tried to murder the baby Jesus, as “one of Planned Parenthood’s ancestors.”
“Demonic powers have always hated babies because they have always hated Jesus,” Moore wrote in August. “When they destroy the ‘least of these’ — the most vulnerable among us — they’re destroying a picture of Jesus himself.”
An analysis on the ERLC website of sworn testimony before Congress by Planned Parenthood’s president accused Richards of “misleading claims, inaccurate statements and downright falsehoods.”
“Nothing that Mrs. Richards said before Congress removes any of the deeply disturbing signs that we’ve seen pointing to an industry of human trafficking within Planned Parenthood clinics,” Moore said Sept. 28.
Denny Burk, professor of biblical studies at Boyce College, the undergraduate arm of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, accused pro-abortion forces in wake of the Planned Parenthood attack of trying to claim the moral high ground through “guilt by association” and “bearing false witness” against pro-life Christians.
“Bottom line: If abortion proponents think they can hide behind this murderer in a cynical effort to distract from the daily killing that goes on in Planned Parenthood clinics, they are wrong,” Burk said in a Nov. 30 blog. “Pro-lifers are not going to be cowed by this. We will continue to shine the light on the sanctity of every human life — both those inside and outside the abortion mills.”
While the majority of abortion-clinic protests are peaceful, a 2011 study by the Rand Corporation counted 300 acts of extreme violence against abortion providers in the United States between 1973 and 2003.
In the 1990s civil disobedience escalated from blocking access to women’s health clinics into violent attacks by extremists groups including bombings, arson and the killing of doctors who provide abortions.
Wiley Drake, a former second vice president of the Southern Baptist Convention, sparked controversy by describing the 2009 murder of Dr. George Tiller, one of the few U.S. physicians who performed late-term abortions, as an answer to prayer.
Asked on Fox News Radio if there were others for which he was voicing “imprecatory prayer,” Drake replied: “The usurper that is in the White House is one, B. Hussein Obama.”
A Southern Baptist Convention spokesman said at the time that any comments by Drake were his personal views, not those of the convention.
One of the three people slain in the Colorado Springs attack, University of Colorado police officer Garrett Swasey, was an elder at Hope Chapel, a non-denominational evangelical congregation and personally opposed to abortion.