Finn’s Silence

Print More

Finn.jpegSean Michael Winters offers a smart response (you can ignore the kind words about me) to my post about the Tiller murder, Bishop Finn, and the moral consequences of inflammatory rhetoric. Winters’ suggestion is that the rhetoric of war used by Finn amounts to a confession of impotence.

I fear that the reason for the warfare language, and for the Holocaust
comparisons, is not that it gets people worked up. My guess is that the
attendees at a Gospel of Life Convention were already worked up….No,
I suspect the warfare language stems, in part, from a different desire,
a desire to be listened to and obeyed. A general is obeyed, no
questions asked. Some of our bishops, alas, know that their own flocks
are no longer listening to them and instead of analyzing why, they lash
out and use inappropriate metaphors that cast themselves in the role of
a man to be listened to and obeyed.

Unlike his Kansas sidekicks (Archbishop Naumann & co.), Finn has not yet managed to issue a statement on the Tiller murder. On the bully pulpit front, he seems too busy with Missouri’s recent revival of executions. Yesterday, for example, he issued a clemency plea on behalf of Reginald Clemons, who is scheduled to be executed by the state of Missouri on June 17. But what about the fact that his “We are at war” speech was delivered just 10 miles from Scott Roeder’s house, 6 weeks ago?

Request: I’d be interested in hearing from the regular reader in Lenexa, KS about local reaction to Roeder’s arrest.

  • I’d be interested in hearing from the regular reader in Lenexa, KS about local reaction to Roeder’s arrest.
    Hmmm. I’m pretty sure that’s me, so I’ll give it a shot. Take all this with a grain of salt, of course.
    It’s the big story, of course, but it’s surprisingly not something that everyone is talking about – again, this is in my experience. Johnson County, KS, which contains Lenexa, Merriam (Scott Roeder’s home) and several other cities, has changed quite a bit over the last few decades. One of the main ways is to move away from Operation Rescue/Phill Kline politics toward the center.
    In the 2006 AG election, Morrison – who won – was from Johnson County, but so was Kline, and we led the way in securing that election’s outcome. When the county GOP pulled a swifty and installed Kline as DA as retribution, the local election office reported a surge in party switchers. And of course the county GOP sent Kline packing last year to much rejoicing.
    We were sick of how much time Kline spent in Wichita conspiring with Operation Rescue against Tiller even after he became the Johnson Coounty DA. We weren’t happy when he went after Planned Parenthood – and when his conduct when prosecuting Edwin Hall, a man who murdered a local high school student was rather less than stellar.
    So I believe that while there are many far-right conservatives in this area, most people are in a mushy middle, and they’re sick of right-wing extremists. I think people are embarrassed, that even those who oppose abortion rights and have generally felt strongly negative feelings toward Dr. Tiller are uncomfortable with their compatriots, even if they won’t admit it publicly.

  • Rob Winslow

    Finn appears to be a moral midget.

  • DBR

    If you read what Bishop Finn said, he advocates spiritual warfare, which is not violence, but prayer and courage to speak out be a force for good in a culture which seems obsessed with self indulgence.
    Sure, the rhetoric is bellicose, but it’s a fairly common allegorical technique. What about the war on poverty? Would you say there is a link between that and the high rate of violent crimes against poor people? How about the war on illiteracy and library shootings?
    Who is “we” by the way? Do you speak for all the citizenry?

  • Mark Silk

    Um, isn’t it Finn who spoke of “we”–presumably the pro-life folks in the audience. As for the use of bellicose images, context matters. No rich person was assassinated in the War on Poverty. In the War on Abortion, abortion providers have been assassinated.