Thursday, November 17, 2005

Wise as Serpents, Innocent as Doves

A visitor at my old Pro Life Views forum wrote to me:
All that I have to say is some people deserve to die. If you think that instead of killing the murders that kill our children should just stay in prison, then you are really stupid.

Although I sent this particular person a direct response, I think that a more global response is in order. After all, there is a tiny, frustrated minority of people who are coming to think that those who live by the sword need to die by the sword (or, more accurately, that those who live by the canula need to die by the .22, but that's just being technical). By and large, these folks aren't bloodthirsty. They're just plain fed up. It's hard to watch abortionists slaughter women and children for a quarter of a century, and listen to them gloat about it, without sometimes thinking that maybe the world would be a better place if somebody just took these folks out of it.

Most of them struggle with the issue; after all, the Bible says "Rescue those who are being led to slaughter." Does this mean that believers have an obligation to use whatever worldly means are necessary to stop abortionists in their tracks? Since I personally have been a Christian for 5 of my 15 years of pro life activism, and since those tempted to become violent often think that God might be calling them to harm abortionists, my primary approach will be from a Christian point of view. But those of other faiths, or of no faith, or those who are confused, will still find food for thought.

There are many angles from which to approach the question, "Is violence justified in dealing with abortionists?" The one that I think cuts to the quick is Jesus' admonition to "Be wise as serpents, and innocent as doves." Examining whether or not killing abortionists is wise and innocent can provide insights for people of all faiths.

Is killing abortionists wise?

The professed goal of someone who shoots an abortionist is to "rescue those who are being led to slaughter." Superficially, it might seem wise to simply shoot the person who plans to slaughter the babies. But is that what is really accomplished?

Let's not forget that every baby scheduled for death by abortion is being carried to the death house by his or her own mother. The abortionist is the instrument that carries out the death sentence she herself, for whatever reason, has imposed on the child. Unless her heart and mind are swayed, she will simply select another executioner. Although some women might take the shooting of the abortionist to be a sign against aborting, others will be hardened in their resolve. Insiders who have fled the abortion industry tell us again and again that direct confrontation only tends to make the woman more stubborn -- she now has an additional reason to go through with the abortion, if only to show those hateful busybodies that they can't push her around. The most anyone will accomplish by shooting an abortionist is that they will delay some scheduled abortions. On the other hand, peaceful pro life efforts such as running alternative centers, sidewalk counseling, and peaceful pickets, have been shown to be effective in turning women away from abortion and helping them to choose life for their unborn children. Is it wise to turn from a method with a proven track record to one that is dubious at best?

Let's also step back and look at the big picture. There are more babies scheduled for death in the United States every day than just those at a particular abortion mill. Roughly 4,000 women will walk into abortion facilities on any given day and have their children put to death. Assuming that the gunman chooses a high-volume mill, he will at most delay the 50 or so abortions schedeuled for that day, leaving 3,950 other abortions to go on as scheduled. What of the 3,950 mothers going into other abortion facilities? On a peaceful day, many of them will be swayed by the peaceful pro life presence outside. Sometimes just looking out through the waiting room window at all those people willing to help her is enough to give a woman the courage to have her baby. But if an abortionist gets shot, you can be certain that word will get out quickly, and that the staff at clinics nationwide will be exploiting the news. They will use it to convince the women that the peaceful prolifers outside are actually violent, ready to shoot people who disagree with them. Instead of being open to approach by pro life counselors, the women will be frightened and driven straight into the waiting arms of the abortionists.

And what of the 4,000 women scheduled for abortion the next day, and the day after that? Again, abortion advocates will use the shooting of the abortionist to drive a wedge between the women and the people who are tying to reach them. Proven effective peaceful efforts will not have a chance if the women are too frightened to approach pro life activists.

Let's look at some of the ripple effects of shooting abortionists: demonization of pro life activists, increased sympathy for abortionists, draconian laws passed to keep peaceful and effective pro lifers away from abortion facilities. None of these effects is positive. So is shooting abortionists wise? Not at all. It simply feeds the pro abortion propaganda machine.

But that's a physical examination of the problem. What about the spiritual impact? Let's start with the abortionist himself. He was shot on his way to kill babies; he dies unrepentant. Another soul is firmly won for Satan, with no chance of redemption. Peaceful efforts, on the other hand, have been shown to win abortionists over to Christ. Now, which does Satan the greater harm -- giftwrapping an abortionist and leaving him on Hell's doorstep, or stealing him into the Kingdom of God? Which does God the greater service, reaching out to a lost sheep, or delivering an abortionist to Satan, all trussed up and ready to torment?

And what of the surviving abortionists? Won't shooting one of their own at least put the fear of God into them? Hardly. As we've seen before, it hardens their hearts and makes them harder to reach.

What of the other unrepentant souls? The associates of the slain abortionist, and the other abortion defenders? Again, they harden their hearts. Those who might have been receptive to the Gospel want no part of God, if God means people shooting their friends. What about the unbelievers not directly involved in abortion? All they see is a man or woman gunned down in the name of God. They decide, "If that's what God is about, I want nothing to do with it." So unbelievers -- even those with no great love for abortion -- are turned away from Christ. I'm sure Satan chuckles when that happens.

So what does shooting an abortionist do? It thwarts efforts to rescue babies from death, and drives more souls away from Christ and toward Satan.

This is not, by any stretch of the imagination, wise.

Is shooting abortionists innocent?

There are those who advocate shooting abortionists since the Bible contains examples of God instructing His people to smite the wicked. Since the abortionists are clearly wicked, these people rationalize, killing them isn't covered under the Commandment to refrain from killing.

They're overlooking quite a few things.

First of all, God gave very specific instructions to very specific people about exactly which wicked folks to smite, and when, and how. There have been far more wicked people that God did not give orders for anybody to smite. I doubt that this was an oversight on His part. If He had wanted His people to smite these particular wicked folks, I'm sure He would have said so. God is many things, but He's no shrinking violet. Unless you've received a direct order from God, "On such-and-such date, take such-and-such weapon and shoot such-and-such abortionist," your actions don't fall under some sort of global instruction to smite the wicked. And even if you think you have received such an order, you're instructed to "test" the message by consulting with your brothers and sisters in Christ. All the abortionist slayers to date have neglected this vital step, or have ignored the council of their brethern who warned them that their plans were not Godly. Jesus warns us that the Devil can quote Scriptures. Considering the great service done to Satan when an abortionist is shot, it's pretty clear where those instructions are coming from, and they're not from God.

Secondly, we can not see into anybody else's heart. Our many brothers and sisters who have fled the abortion industry tell similar stories of the final days before they left. Many of them reached out to their fellow employees, trying to reach them. Others helped women to leave the clinic instead of going through with scheduled abortions. A human being standing outside the abortion mill has no way of knowing what is going on inside the hearts of those walking in. The gunman has no way of knowing if that abortionist is going in to kill babies, or to tell his staff he's had an epiphany, or to walk out with records he's planning to turn over to the authorities about crimes committed at that clinic. Because we can not know, shooting the abortionist is not innocent, either.

Be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. Continue the prayer and education and peaceful efforts that have saved lives and souls.

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