Saturday, June 06, 2009

The Anchoress on Tiller's murder

Posted at First Things.
Among other things:

Bonhoeffer was a brilliant theologian; his book The Cost of Discipleship is one of those books a Christian reader goes back to again and again in the course of growth. In weighing the moral question of obedience to institutions who were exceeding their own rights, he once argued, "if a teacher says to a child, 'did your father come home drunk again last night,' is the child bound to tell the truth?" Bonhoeffer decided no, the teacher [institution] had intruded beyond her scope, and therefore the child, to honor his father, is not obligated to subject him to judgment or mockery, or for that matter governmental intrusion. Bonhoeffer was, in the course of a terrible war, able to extrapolate that small, defensive lie into a plot to assassinate Hitler.
As extraordinary as he was, Bonhoeffer understood that his uniqueness in no way excepted him from the fact that what he was attempting was an evil—his evil, wholly distinct from Hitler's own evil—and one for which he would be held to account. Bonhoeffer knew that he could not rationalize his evil or make it less evil in the sight of Hitler's monstrous regime, and that in the end he would have only God's grace in which to hope.


Tiller, despite his choices, was still a created creature of God, and his life was God's to take, not man's; who is to know at what point in a man's life he will suddenly, like Paul on the road to Damascus, be brought to his knees with an encounter, and then seek out mercy, forgiveness, and the saving blood of Christ he will need to wash away the blood he has himself spilled? There is no man or woman on earth who is beyond this redemption while they live. If you take his life, have you interrupted the time and opportunity that, in Christ's plan, in Christ's fullness of time, would have been his moment of clarity? If so, then what have you done to your own soul, in cutting short the opportunity for his soul to find its redemption?

(Though personally, I've never understood why death should be that much of an obstacle for an all-powerful being.)

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