James Kopp guilty of murder
James Kopp, who admitted shooting abortionist Barnett Slepian in 1998 but said he only meant to wound him, was convicted of intentional murder yesterday. He faces a minimum sentence of 15 years at his May 9 sentencing, but is likely to receive 25 years to life.

"There wasn't much suspense about the verdict," his lawyer admitted. He also said Kopp told him to ask his detractors one question: 'What's your plan to save babies?'"

Sadly, it doesn't look like many prolife groups are eager to answer that question. Searching the websites for the National Right to Life Committee, Concerned Women for America, Family Research Council, Focus on the Family, and the American Family Association didn't even turn up a mention of Kopp, even though these organizations usually cover abortion news with depth and speed. Several of the groups have in the past issued general statements against abortion violence, but they're not being proactive in responding to the Kopp verdict.

Abortion advocacy groups, on the other hand, are quick with comment. "It's heartening to know there's one less antiabortion terrorist on the street," Planned Parenthood president Gloria Feldt told The Washington Post. "But I don't think the radical fringe is in disarray. They are just emboldened."

The Democrat and Chronicle of Rochester, N.Y., has some local prolife reaction. "I believe justice was served," said Rescue Rochester director Michael Warren. "Scripture says that the state … wields the ability to issue punishment—not the individual. Unfortunately in our country, abortion is legal."

Brighton Residents Against Violence head Carol Crossed agrees. "James Kopp became like the abortionists he abhorred," she said.

Meanwhile, we're posting our 1993 editorial responding to the first murders of abortion doctors.

Heads of Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) on trial over special assembly
Shortly after dismissing complaints about an openly lesbian minister, the Permanent Judicial Commission (or supreme court) of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) tried the denomination's top two officials over whether they improperly prevented a special assembly to enforce a ban against clergy who engage in homosexual sex.

In a 12-hour trial Monday, Paul Rolf Jensen argued that PCUSA Moderator Fahed Abu-Akel and chief executive Clifton Kirkpatrick were obligated to call the special assembly upon receiving a petition with the requisite number of names attached.

"This case will decide the future of our denomination," he said. "If the moderator doesn't have to follow the [denomination's] constitution, why do I?"

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Jensen and others argue that Abu-Akel bullied several of the petition signers to take their names off the list, but the moderator denies it. "That is not true," he told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution last week. "I wanted to verify that they still wanted the special assembly."

Yesterday, Abu-Akel's attorney said he "took every reasonable, prudent, and expeditious step" to make sure the petition was in order. "Everyone was free to say yes again, but they didn't want to," she said.

A decision in the case is expected today or tomorrow.

More articles

War with Iraq:

The Pope and war:

  • Catholic doctrine and Saddam Hussein | While we have great respect for the pope and his teachings, we believe that Messrs. Weigel and Novak make a much more cogent and compelling case that U.S.-led international action to disarm Saddam Hussein would constitute a just war in every way (Editorial, The Washington Times)

  • Torn between church and country? | While consistently warning against the war, Pope John Paul II has consistently sounded more nuanced than many mainline Protestant church leaders critical of Bush's policies (Uwe Siemon-Netto, UPI)
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Interfaith relations:

  • Relations among American Jews, Muslims, Christians at low point | So claims Interfaith Alliance (Associated Press)

  • Boldly goes the dean | What has caused most of the fuss is Mr Jensen's uncompromising declaration that if Christianity is right, then other religions, inconsistent with it, must be wrong. His logic may be uncomfortable but it is faultless. (Editorial, The Sydney Morning Herald, second item)

  • Also: How the dean raised the devil | The Dean needs to be careful that in his enthusiasm for his own cause, he does not give offence to believers as genuine about their different faith (Editorial, The Australian, second item)

  • Also: Groping at shadows in a darkened room | To say that my religion is the one true religion can only ever be a claim based on faith (Chris McGillion, The Sydney Morning Herald)

Persecution and violence:


Church life:

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  • Pat Robertson aids Disney in DirecTV flap | Can Pat Robertson's faithful keep the ABC Family cable channel beaming down from the heavens? (The Wall Street Journal)

  • Brand new Jesus | The old Jesus' effectiveness has been minimalized by … shall we say an "overactive" public relations team. Who exactly should be the "new" Jesus? Fred Rogers. (Wm. Steven Humphrey, Portland [Ore.] Mercury)

Politics and law:

  • Campaign trails now stop for religion | Candidates feel comfortable, even obligated, to express their beliefs and explain how moral values shape their political judgments. (South Florida Sun-Sentinel)

  • Religious fright | The Left is appalled by President Bush's faith (Dave Kopel, National Review Online)

Related Elsewhere

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