“Moral” killing – a fallacy part2

From the Jan 25, 1995 issue of  Christian Century by David P. Gushee

Whatever their views on abortion, Christians need to understand the forces behind abortion-related violence and move rapidly to offer a response.

…Thus, Christians may be not only morally permitted but morally obligated to protect innocent lives by preventing abortion through the use of violence. That is the argument.

and then clearly states:

In the context of a commitment to the sacredness of human life from conception, and in the context of opposition to the current state of abortion law in the U.S., we nonetheless unequivocally rejected the use of violence to achieve desired change.

I contended:* (1) The use of intentional premeditated lethal force by private citizens to defend the innocent from harm is morally unjustifiable.

* (2) However one describes the innocent, it is clearly unjustifiable to use lethal force in their defense when such defense could have been achieved through nonlethal means–means which are unambiguously available today through the moral, legal and nonviolent forms of pro-life activities. The absence of nonlethal means, moreover, does not in itself provide suffcient warrant for using lethal force to protect the innocent.

* (3) The killing of abortion doctors does not constitute a meaningful defense of unborn life, because the woman seeking the abortion drives the process, not the doctor. Thus if we really seek to prevent abortion, we will lovingly provide the pregnant woman with appropriate support and viable alternatives to abortion.

* (4) The use of lethal force is not justifiable as a form of privately initiated capital punishment, as some have claimed.

* (5) The killing of abortion doctors is not morally legitimate as an act of civil disobedience.

* (6) The use of lethal force cannot be viewed as an act of resistance to a government which has lost its legitimacy by permitting abortion. The U.S. government retains its legitimacy, and Christians should continue to seek redress through the political system.

* (7) The transition from nonviolent to violent forms of action for sociallegal change is a perilous and almost always morally unjustifiable step, particularly in a functioning democracy.

* (8) The resort to violence as a means leads to a morally disastrous shift of ends, the focus of the activist becoming the destruction of wrongdoers rather than the prevention of wrongs.

* (9) A social movement’s resort to violence tends to escalate rapidly. The strict limits imposed by just war type thinking are supplanted by crusade-like approaches leading to ever more indiscriminate violence.

* (10) The resort to violence is indisputably hurting the cause of the pro-life movement.



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