Dr. Jean Garton on Killing Abortionists: "Anti-Abortion but Not Pro-Life"

By Jean Garton

Date: November 30, 2015

Category: Abortion, Abortion and the Church

The following are comments from Dr. Jean Garton, co-founder and president emeritus of Lutherans For Life, made in 1994 in response to the case of Paul J. Hill who was convicted of killing an abortionist and his security guard in Pensacola, Florida,

Article source: Killing Abortionists: A Symposium - December 1994

The argument used by Paul Hill rationalizes the exchange of force for persuasion. What he cannot achieve by reason, he feels entitled to take by force, and in so doing demonstrates that it is possible to be anti-abortion but not pro-life.

It is easy to understand the frustration of those who use physical intervention to defend unborn children. Some have received inordinately harsh treatment and penalties for their actions. Yet to accept the principle that sincere convictions justify breaking the law is destructive of our form of government and serves to blunt the Christian witness.

A danger in the rationale advanced by Paul Hill to correct the injustice of abortion is that disrespect for the law often creates further injustice. Anarchy does not serve justice.

We who are pro-life grieve the killing of over thirty million children by legal abortion, but our grief cannot compare to that of the God who created them, who knows them before birth, and who loves them beyond human capabilities. Yet, for some reason, He allows the sin of abortion (and all sin) to continue. But one day He will draw history to a close and then he, the Lord, will settle all accounts.

In the meantime, as citizens living under a democratic government, we are free to debate the law, protest the law, and seek to change the law. We are not free to take the law into our own hands—to become “justice vigilantes.”

Because “our struggle is not against flesh and blood” (Ephesians 6), violence is too weak a weapon against the evil of abortion. The Word is always more powerful than the sword, even when the “sword” is a gun, a bomb, or any other lethal weapon.

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