We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. proclaimed, “I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality” during his 1964 Nobel Peace Prize speech.

In your cover story “Terrorists and Saints” (2/5), Michael Bray, the minister who mandates murder as a means to defend life, claims, “The best way—the fastest, simplest way—to end abortion is to end it by force.” Ron Fitzsimmons, executive director of the National Coalition of Abortion Providers, insists that lethal force only leads to “a waste of life, and accomplishes absolutely nothing.”

Although this cover story highlights the immorality and inconsistency of the violent people within the so-called anti-abortion movement, it does not move the current debate forward.

A distinction must be made between the terms “anti-abortion” and “pro-life.” The former term applies to those people who would stop at nothing—not even killing—to end the injustice of abortion. The latter term is an apt label for those people who adhere to a consistent ethic of life that condemns violence in all forms since it degrades (indeed destroys!) the dignity of human life. The consistent ethic of life opposes abortion, armed conflict, assisted suicide, capital punishment, euthanasia, poverty, racism, sexism, and all other forms of violence. In the events surrounding abortion, we lament and labor to protect the child ripped from the womb, the doctor riddled with bullets, and the woman risking her physical, emotional, and spiritual health.

We believe that no group that calls itself Christian can act in good conscience, informed by the Gospel, to promote murder as a means to defend human life. The behavior of those people who seek vengeance or violence in the name of Gospel values must never be condoned. Furthermore, we challenge the people who read and write alternative media to investigate and report about this consistent ethic of life.

And we agree with the Rev. Dr. King Jr. that unarmed truth and unconditional love are the only authentic and consistent Christian responses that will halt the violence of abortion and the anti-abortion movement. All human life is precious and must be protected—not through needless killing, but through patient, vigilant nonviolence.

Saint Augustine Roman Catholic Church