« exactly | Main | relax »

thou shalt not kill (well, maybe sometimes)

Maybe someone can clear up a few things for me. You know those beloved ten commandments? Those same commandments that people in Alabama are genuflecting on the courtsteps for? One of them basically states that thou shalt not kill. So, I was wondering. Is there a footnote or addendum somewhere on those original tablets that I missed, maybe one that says Hey, it's ok to murder someone as long as you do it in God's name? As you can see, I'm pretty confused as to why those people in the photo think that Paul Hill, a convicted killer, is a hero. Sure, he stood up for his beliefs, but I think his way of going about making his beliefs known kind of goes against the teachings of Jesus, doesn't it? So just tell me - is taking someone's life in cold blood ok if that person is doing something against your religious beliefs? Because if that's true, then you can interpret that a whole bunch of ways. Like, if someone takes the name of your Lord in vain, can you shoot him and then be hailed as a hero within your congregation? I know that you see abortion as a sin, but does committing a sin justify someone committing another sin? Wouldn't that just create a whole mess of sinners running around sinning against each other? I just want to understand this, that's all. I just want to know someone who broke a very strong commandment is a hero in the eyes of a religious person. I thank you in advance for shedding light on this subject for me.

[Image via Jack, who has a nice photo roundup of these hero worshippers]


Listed below are links to weblogs that reference thou shalt not kill (well, maybe sometimes):

» In case you thought only Islam had its deranged fundamentalists from Dodgeblogium
Here is a shot of some of morally retarded Christians who went to support their new "hero" Paul Hill. Course the most depressing thing is these wingnuts are breeding. Surely someone could find a passage in the bible to convince... [Read More]

» So it was written..... from Bloggie Broad
I've been trying to think of a way to coherently describe my anger towards those who believe murdering abortion providers will get them past the... [Read More]

» Monday Blues from Give War A Chance
Cool pictures. - Peter C.'s slumming on blogspot while his server works out some "issues". - Oh, fer chrissakes, Guardianistas,... [Read More]


this is all part of an even bigger
crap pile
anti-abortionists who kill to stop babies from being killed in the name of the lord
palestinians who blow up children on buses
in the name of Allah
the Taliban who murdered and terrorized women in the name of Allah
and then aided in the murder of thousands on 911
the murderers of 911 who flew into those buildings in the name of Allah
the Yeshivah boy who assassinated a peace loving prime minister in the name of God
oh honey
every time
you add the word fundamentalist
to any religious term
you get
and full on
bull shit

Michele, it's very simple. If you have a god that says do not kill in like his only 10 laws that he ever gave to you, but you kill someone who kills babies, then you will be forgiven in heaven because you saved babies from being killed. See, it's very rational thinking. He's a martyr now. A hero. A dead martyr and a dead hero. His supporters can call him a hero but he's dead and that's all that matters to me.


First, let's clear something up. The correct translation is "Thou shall not murder", not "kill". The Hebrew word is "Rasah". Taken in this context, one could take the position that abortion itself is murder and thus taking the life of abortionists is therefore justified.

However, having said all of that, I as a Christian firmly reject this position. The taking of a life, even if the person deserves it, is serious business. That is why the state has implemented a whole series of safeguards (due process, a trial with a lawyer to defend you, appeals, etc.) before it actually goes forward with an execution. This is absolutely not something that one person should take on on their own initiative or, as you note, we will have anarchy.

Paul Hill took the wrong road to pursue his beliefs. He's paid the price.

some of the worst advertisements I've seen for Christ's teachings are some of the people who call themselves his followers.

actually, some of the worst advertisements I've seen for ANY religion's teachers are some of the people who consider themselves the most devout followers of those teachings.

When last I checked, two wrongs still didn't add up to a right.

IIRC Moses started a bloodbath coming down from that mountain with the commandments because people were worshipping a golden calf or something. From that old testamentarian point of view that's justified then, provided you know god is on your side (and it goes without saying that a fundamentalist by defintion has no doubts about whose side god is on).

Rossi hit the nail on the head.

Fundamentalism of every sort is the enemy of sanity. Fundamentalists take their beliefs so seriously that they see themselves as free to do anything - up to and including mass murder - in supposed defense of those beliefs. They rely on their loud assertions of piety to protect them from serious criticism or sanction by their less extreme brethren.

It's time for all the rest of us to stop tolerating this sort of behavior. I don't care how friggin' pious you are - harming other people in the name of your religion makes you both evil and a criminal. Those folks praising Paul Hill as a hero are no better than the Palestinians who dance in the streets when a car bomb goes off.

the other day my daughter asked me why, if we believed in God did we not go to church like her friends and their parents did. I had a hard time explaining to a 10 year old the private nature of my spiritual beliefs, but the bottom line is, if you want to find a hipocrite, walk into a church. I spent too many years following my mother from denomination to denomination while she searched for the "perfect" church, watching the back-biting, back-stabbing soap operas that passed for "fellowship". No, thanks, I'll handle things on my own. If I'm right and God truly loves me, things will be cool, and if I'm wrong... oh, well, better that than suffer the BS that people like these would put my family through.


You’ve got it! That's what the Church is all about. A bunch of messed up people trying to work it all out. My pastor always says, "If you're perfect I'm going to have to ask you to leave. You won’t be happy here because this place is full of sinners." However, you could also say the same of any bar, restaurant, hotel, supermarket, department store, etc. Gonna stop going to those places too?

As far as Paul Hill Goes. Well, his followers do have a point. He did "save babies." If the man he killed was an abortionist then technically Paul Hill saved the babies the abortionist would have killed. See the reasoning? One of the examples I was once given was the child next store being beaten and tortured by his parents. Do you stop it? Do you intervene? Do you do whatever it takes to secure the safety of that child? I'm not saying I agree with all of this radicalism. Although, in my more radical college days I was very active in a more extreme element of the pro-life movement. I just understand the total frustration felt by pro-life people for whom it is completely incomprehensible that someone could support abortion. I've pounded my head over this many a time.

I am reminded of the old Kliban comic.

Traditionally, by which I mean thousands of years ago, "Thou shalt not kill" only applied to people within one's own tribe. Canaanites and Amalekites were ripe for the slayin'. So one could argue that Paul Hill was just abiding by an originalist reading of the Bible he followed.

And now you know why I just gave up on religion altogether.

Those people are complete loons and should be seen as such. Fundamentalism in any form leads to evil deeds. One wonders what idiocies these loons are going to try now? A car bomb next to an abortion clinic? Evil bunch of bastards.

For the best analysis I've seen of the Sixth Commandment (or all ten, actually), check out Joseph Lewis's "The Ten Commandments". It's an eye opener.

Golly, I sure wish people who put links in comments would consider targeting them to open in a new window.....I can't read all that in this little frame, nor can I link to it myself, and it does look quite interesting.

looks like this~

I've tried doing that, Syl. It doesn't always work. But let's give it a try here (link is to Syl's blog).

Nope. Doesn't work.

Golly, I sure wish people who put links in comments would consider targeting them to open in a new window.....I can't read all that in this little frame....
Why not right-click the link to bring up the context menu, then choose "Open in New Window"? You do have a right mouse button and an OS which supports context menus, right?

TROY, nope, no second mouse button for me. Cmd-click works just fine, I don't even have to bother with a contextual menu. Apart from that, why don't you just resize the window BSTI

Troll King is pro-life. I say this as background.

I've read Paul Hill's quotes about preventing abortions by killing. That's stupid. Paul Hill, obviously, didn't think things through. For starters, he didn't know what his goal was. He said his goal was to prevent abortions, but that doesn't make sense. An assault could've been arranged (even with a bodyguard) in which the abortionists' thumbs were cut off or something of that nature. That would've prevented the abortions.

But that wasn't his goal. His goal was to frighten and intimidate through killing. We have a word for that -- terrorism. Paul Hill was a terrorist.

Plus, needless to say, but I suppose it bears repeating: Civilization, especially American civ., is based on the idea that we don't kill each other (or cut each other's thumbs off) just because our consciences are shocked or outraged.

Sorry, no matter how outraged you are, in a democratic republic with this level of public participation, you can't go around killing people or maiming them or even rapping them on the nose with newspapers. Even if you think they really, really deserve it.

The Bible says the Lord alone judges sin. Not Paul Hill, and not me.

Well, I'm surprised that an Old Testament reference was used, since the New Testament has even more strictures against this sort of thing. Of course, I'd be a spoilsport to point out that quoting commands directed by Jehovah to the Israelites doesn't apply to Christians, who get their commands from his Son, Jesus Christ. Different audiences, but that's a subtlety that wouldn't help anyone desperately scrambling for an excuse not to believe.

As it is, this is a perfect example that Jesus's words, "Those who live by the sword die by the sword." held true in this case.

I'd probably also be regarded as a spoilsport to point out that this is a prime example of the fallacy "They're All Like That!" A person claiming to be Christian murders someone, so ALL CHRISTIANS, JEWS, AND OTHER SINCERE BELIEVERS IN GOD ARE LIKE THAT! You know, the same argument Southern slaveholders threw at the abolitionists after John Brown's rebellion. Ignore the fact that the vast majority of pro-lifers work responsibly and within onerous legal limitations to end abortion. Ignore the fact that more abolitionists took up arms and killed more slave holders in Bloody Kansas to stop slavery than pro-lifers have taken up arms and killed anyone to stop abortion.

I have more to say, but put it up at my website here to save bandwidth. As a teaser, I speculate on Hill's fate, and explain why I think Christianity isn't fundamentalist ENOUGH.

I'm a Christian and I can safely say that the Bible does not condone this behavior. It's the crazy fundamentalists such as these guys that give us a bad name. It's sad.

Hypothetical scenario: you have a gun. You see an adult wandering around an elementary school, slitting children's throats with a knife. Is it un-Christian to shoot him? I don't know the theological answer to that question -- but I do know that you could look for a long time and not find a Christian, or a non-Christian, who would say "yes".

Anyone who believes abortion is murder believes that the doctor Hill killed was murdering innocent children at an appalling rate. From a "pro-life" perspective, Hill killed a mass murderer in the middle of the mass murderer's spree.

Of course, I'm in favor of abortion (there are enough unwanted children already) and I certainly don't think abortion is murder. So to me, Hill's just another nutty religious type -- but his behavior is both moral and rational, if you accept the premise that fetuses are human children.

As for the old testament -- killing in God's name is not only "legal", but fairly common. Jesus never addressed the question of whether it was legitimate to use violence to save the lives of others. It's certainly the case that, had Christianity openly advocated allowing child-killers to do as they please, it would have remained a tiny cult in Israel, and we'd never have heard of it. :)

I guess the real question is -- why are so many of the people holding "abortion = murder" signs such moral cowards? From their own perspective, they're knowingly facing a modern Holocaust and doing little more than firing off testy letters to the editor. If you truly believe abortion is murder, then you damned well SHOULD be attacking the people responsible for it.

Religion trivializes the abortion debate. Religious pro-lifers who are only pro-lifers because the bible says so are a disgrace to intelligent, moral pro-lifers. If there were no god, would you still be a pro-lifer? If the answer is yes, congratulations, you have a brain. If the answer is no, you are a godidiot. Taking a religious position on abortion is a cop out. It allows you to skip past the thinking and biology. For example, a religious pro-choicer might think that abortion is okay because their imaginary god says it is. Paul Hill is a TERRORIST and should be put to death for his stupidity and cruelty. He is stupid because he has hurt the pro-life crowd. It is easier to stereotype pro-lifers as religioius fundamentalists because of assholes like this guy.