A couple weeks ago I wrote a post entitled, “Why Some People Need a Good Killing: A Biblical Defense for Self-Defense.” It’s since been shared 2.2k times. I’ve not heard any complaints from anyone except for a few of the regular twitter trolls, who seem to be concerned with any sneeze I may inadvertently let out or the squeak of my tennis shoes. Of all those shares on the blog post, there has been no real controversy. I laid out the biblical case – as the title of the post would suggest – for self-defense.
I was contacted today by a concerned friend and told that some have suggested that my post could be used to justify the killing of an abortion doctor. Screenshots were sent of a twitter convo (if you can call a single question and single answer a “convo”) in which I was asked by my friend Michael Coughlin why, given the article, abortion doctors shouldn’t be killed. I gave the same answer I have repeatedly given – both on the website and radio program – it would be wrong and unjust to kill the abortion doctor as a vigilante because of basic Christian ethics, particularly informed from Augustine’s Just War theory which has for 1500+ years been the standard in orthodox Christianity of what is an acceptable use of violence.
To be clear, my answer to that direct question was a very direct, “No – because of Augustin’s Just War…” At the same time, I will be very clear that abortion is murder, abortion doctors should be prosecuted as murderers, and should be put to death by the civil magistrate after receiving a trial and being found guilty. If anyone takes exception with that particular stance, I’m afraid we’ve a chasm of ideological and theological difference that can’t be easily traversed. However, my post was about self-defense, and I gave the specific Biblical example of someone breaking into your home in the middle of the night (Exodus 22:2).
Was the post about abortion? No. Was killing abortion doctors mentioned in the post? No. Were abortion doctors mentioned in the post at all? No. Was the post an overview of a Christian systematic theology of Just War or violence in general? No. It was about a Biblical right of self-defense, and the concept of vigilante justice did not present itself.
My gut suspicions is that this is faux outrage. “How dare you, sir?” Perhaps it is faux concern, from those lodging complaints. Either way, reading into the post what we should do with abortion doctors is eisegetical at best and nefariously bizarre at worst. Likewise, my single response to a question on Twitter answered with a “No.”
People sure have a lot of time on their hands.