We've written before about how Operation Rescue has enlisted WorldNetDaily to whitewash its connection to anti-abortion violence -- specifically, the murder of Kansas abortion doctor George Tiller, and how litigious it is about trying to enforce that whitewash. (Disclosure: We've received a cease-and-desist letter from them through WND, since it published a book, "Abortion Free," by president Troy Newman and assistant Cheryl Sullenger, over an earlier post we wrote on them. We explained that we reported on the group in a fair and balanced way and that we did nothing that WND itself hasn't done; we never heard from them again.)
Now, Operation Rescue is back at it again, with WND's help. A Jan. 10 article by Bob Unruh tells us the group is outraged that U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal described Operation Rescue "as a group that advocates execution of abortion providers," and uncritically serves up the group's defense (repeated in a Jan. 29 article by Unruh describing how Operation Rescue president Troy Newman and his lawyer "visited Blumenthal’s office to deliver" a letter "seeking a retraction and apology"):
Operation Rescue also was previously attacked by Terri Butler of the Australian parliament by using out-of-context statements from a book about the Old Testament’s practices for dealing with the death of an innocent person.
“In that book, which was a theological study of the biblical doctrine of bloodguilt, Newman and Sullenger discuss the Old Testament principle that required those who commit murder should be sentenced to death by a court of justice. They surmised that if indeed abortion is murder, then it would be acceptable, based on the Old Testament teachings, for governments to treat it as it does any other murder with those convicted through a court of law subject to the same punishments other murderers would face, including capital punishment.”
But the explanation notes Butler refused to mention “later chapters in that now out of print book referenced the New Testament concept that mercy is preferable to judgment, and that repentance and restoration is available through Jesus Christ to all men who seek it.”
“There is a distinct difference between saying that the Bible gives the authority to governments to execute justice, as we explained in the book, and advocating that individuals commit murder of abortion providers, as Ms. Butler erroneously has accused Mr. Newman of doing,” Operation Rescue’s Cheryl Sullenger wrote in a letter Australian officials at the time.
In fact, in the book in question -- "Their Blood Cries Out," a title Unruh curiously fails to provide to his readers -- Newman is indeed advocating for the execution of abortion providers. As we've previously noted, Newman's claiming that abortion doctors should go through the legal system before being executed is still advocacy for execution, no matter how much he tries to deny it; what he actually writes in "Their Blood Cries Out" does not differentiate between abortion doctors doing their job legally and those who aren't. Thus, Blumenthal's statement that Operation Rescue "advocates execution of abortion providers" is factually accurate.
Further, Operation Rescue's dismissal of Newman's words by claiming the book is "out of print" is belied by the fact that the book is available for purchase through the Operation Rescue website (a screenshot of which is above). So Newman clearly has not renounced the book and its contents, contrary to what he and his lawyers are suggesting.
Unruh, in both articles, also uncritically repeats Operation Rescue's denial of involvement in the murder of Tiller: "All accusations, implications, or inferences that there was any involvement by Operation Rescue in the death of George Tiller is completely false. Operation Rescue and its staff were not involved in any way. Operation Rescue explicitly denounces violence in any form as a means of ending abortion."
But as we've documented, Operation Rescue had contact with Tiller's murderer, Scott Roeder: not only did he have Sullenger's phone number on a note in his car when he was arrested, Roeder has claimed that Newman said it 'wouldnʼt upset' him if Tiller were murdered, as well as Roeder's claim that he was an active and regular participant in Operation Rescue events with "donation receipts, event T-shirts and a signed copy of Newman’s 2001 book, Their Blood Cries Out, to prove it." Further, given that Newman and Sullenger moved Operation Rescue's headquarters to Wichita for the specific purpose of targeting Tiller, it is logical to assume that even if Roeder had no connection to Operation Rescue (which he did no matter how much Newman has tried to deny it), the provocation of moving the headquarters and continued aggressive targeting of Tiller helped create an atmosphere that resulted in Tiller's murder by Roeder, whether or not Newman and Sullenger actually intended that outcome.
Further undermining the claim that "Operation Rescue explicitly denounces violence in any form as a means of ending abortion" is a news release (h/t Media Matters) Operation Rescue under Newman and Sullenger issued a defending Paul Hill, who murdered an abortion doctor in Florida in 1994, by denouncing a court decision not to let Hill use as a defense in his trial the ability to call his murder a "justifiable defensive action" -- thereby effectively suggesting that the murder of an abortion doctor was justifiable. Newman and Sullenger called Hill's execution for the doctor's murder "nothing less than murder of a political prisoner." (Operation Rescue has since claimed that this seemingly self-evident interpretation is a "gross distortion," insisting that "Newman deplored the fact that Hill had murdered two people, but felt the need to express disappointment that the court refused to allow Hill to use the defense of his choosing, especially since conviction meant facing the possible death penalty.")
Operation Rescue must feel lucky to have such a pliant "news" organization like WND doing its PR work -- and being litigious -- for them.