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Shooting Your Cause In The Foot 06/05/2009

Rush Limbaugh

High profile people can often set themselves back by choosing the wrong words.


Dr. George Tiller, a late-term abortion practitioner known as “Tiller the Killer,” was recently shot and killed. The shooter is allegedly Scott Roeder, a man who has a documented history of mental illness and links to militia and anti-government groups. Despite his lack of connections with anti-abortion groups, Roeder also managed to shoot the pro-life movement in the foot.

Perhaps the greatest endorsement for the pro-life movement came this week from President Obama as he addressed Muslims in Cairo, Egypt, when he said, “we reject the same thing that people of all faiths reject: the killing of innocent men, women, and children.” In discussing violence against Israel, he said, “It is a sign neither of courage nor power to shoot rockets at sleeping children.”

Clearly, he has forgotten the US government’s protection of the practices of Dr. Tiller, but his words remain true whether he realizes it or not. He went on to declare, “The Holy Koran teaches that whoever kills an innocent, it is as if he has killed all mankind. And the Holy Koran also says whoever saves a person, it is as if he has saved all mankind.”

Though he fails to connect his rhetoric with reality, the president understands the power of persuasion through meaningful words. It is, arguably, what got him elected. Whether we agree with him or not, we can all take a page from his book in order to influence the opinions of others. With all my heart and prayers, I hope he will boldly begin to include the innocent unborn as those who should not be killed.

Every cause-minded person deeply believes in his or her purpose. As one who barely escaped abortion in the womb, I am strongly pro-life. Based upon scripture and the constitutional guarantee of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, I forthrightly believe that protecting the life of the unborn is a principle that should never be violated unless the mother’s life is in eminent danger. The medical profession should always commit to the care of two lives during pregnancy: the mother and the unborn child.

Even so, killing abortionists is not the way to reach a positive end. We can protest, educate and persistently make our case for life, but murder should not ever be an option. Two wrongs never make a right. In order to win this debate, we need to convince others of the great value and potential within the life of every baby, even in the fetal stage.

Many leaders, including newscasters, commentators and preachers, foolishly shoot themselves in the foot with their divisive approaches to meaningful causes. For example, when radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh said that he hoped President Obama fails, he literally shot his cause in the foot by unnecessarily polarizing and alienating his opponents and many of his listeners. Anyone who really listens to him understands that Rush was not taking a shot at President Obama, but rather his policies and positions, which he argues are detrimental to the strength of America. However, in the name of entertainment (and perhaps for ratings), he shot himself in the foot. The fact is, he sincerely believes the true principle that the ever-expanding size of the federal government and increasing taxes hurt everyone – especially the poor. It not only destroys the buying power of the consumer, but the opportunity for production. These are the president’s policies that Rush was attacking, but all most people heard was the phrase, “I hope he fails.” People with strong convictions often have too much to offer that is worthy of serious consideration to be written off because of some misstatement or misrepresentation.

On occasion, I have been guilty of this as a preacher by mocking, judging and unfairly attacking other people by name. I have heard ministers attack some doctrines with which they disagree by mercilessly lambasting other religious groups and leaders. Instead of opening a meaningful dialogue, it angers and alienates them. Preachers who are truly concerned about truth being fairly examined would have been more persuasive by exposing the error of certain ideas while proclaiming the truth of the Bible with an attitude of love and concern.

When we label people negatively to nullify their effectiveness, we do not create an atmosphere for healthy dialogue, discussion and debate. When we engage in character assassination, we contribute to our own downfall. Of course, it is possible to present truth perfectly, expose error in the most effective possible way and still be rejected and despised by unreasonable people. But those of us who know the truth must not excuse ourselves from employing wisdom in our approach, even though Jesus was rejected and crucified for speaking the truth in love.

Our responsibility is to deliver the truth in the most effective manner and faithfully pierce the darkness with the power of the all-revealing light of truth. When we come into an argument with anger and both guns blazing, we may or may not hit our intended target, but we will likely shoot own worthy cause in the foot.

Author: James Robison

Editor: Randy Robison

Word Count: 848

About the author: James Robison is the founder and president of LIFE Outreach International, a Christian media ministry and mission relief organization. He and his wife, Betty, host of the television program Life Today; He has authored numerous books, including The Soul of a Nation, The Absolutes: Freedom's Only Hope and True Prosperity.

Media Contact: Randy Robison, editor at . Photo available upon request. Reprint rights granted with attribution for complete, unedited article. Revisions allowed only with approval.