Is killing an abortionist right?


What do you think of Paul Jennings Hill and the Army of God movement? Paul Hill shot a baby-killing abortionist in 1994 and was executed in 2003. I believe that because Paul Hill prevented babies from being murdered that day he acted rightly. Many Christians I know, "pro-life" leaders and politicians I have heard have condemned Paul Hill. I find their position to be hypocritical. They say that an unborn child is just as much a person as a born child but then they say that it is wrong to kill in the defense of the unborn, even though they say it is right to defend a born child. For example, in Texas, a church was shot up a few years ago. The shooter was killed by someone in the church who had a gun. The Christians I know almost universally said that shooting the perpetrator was just if it saved the members of the church from losing their lives. Yet I have heard fellow members of the church say it wrong to use violence to stop abortion. There is an obvious contradiction with this.

Let me know what you think.

p.s. I greatly appreciate the content of your site


"And why not say (as we are slanderously reported and as some claim that we say), "Let us do evil that good may come"? Their condemnation is just" (Romans 3:8).

A basic principle of morality is that evil can never be done to promote a good cause. Evil remains evil regardless of the justification.

A second consideration is that an individual, on his own, is not allowed to invoke a death penalty. Under the Old Testament, when someone was killed, a trial was required (Numbers 35:24). There were rules for witnesses' testimonies and evidence to be examined. In other words, those judging the matter could not go by their emotions at the time.

All death penalties required two or more witnesses:

"Whoever kills a person, the murderer shall be put to death on the testimony of witnesses; but one witness is not sufficient testimony against a person for the death penalty" (Numbers 35:30).

"Whoever is deserving of death shall be put to death on the testimony of two or three witnesses; he shall not be put to death on the testimony of one witness" (Deuteronomy 17:6).

There were further requirements that the multiple witnesses had to be independent.

Under the New Testament, governments have been given the job to enforce laws and execute criminals if necessary. "For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same; for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil" (Romans 13:3-4). It is true that too many governments have failed their God-given duties, but that requires fixing the government. It is not an excuse to take over for the government.

What you are describing is vigilantism, where an individual or group decides to take matters into their own hands. There are no impartial judges or rules of order being followed. Instead, the actions are emotional responses to perceived wrongs. As Solomon stated: "Do not say, 'I will recompense evil'; wait for the LORD, and He will save you" (Proverbs 20:22). Or as Paul said: "Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay," says the Lord" (Romans 12:17-19).

For more on this, see The Pharisees and Personal Retaliation.


I don't agree with your response.

Wasn't it considered rightful in the Bible for people to disobey laws if it was for the greater good? Rahab hid spies and lied about where they were hidden. The Bible describes her as being a person of good works for doing this.

You said that "A basic principle of morality is that evil can never be done to promote a good cause. Evil remains evil regardless of justification."

  • So do you consider all killing regardless of the circumstance to be wrong?
  • Do you oppose all forms of self-defense?
  • Do you oppose all wars that have ever taken place throughout all of history?
  • Was the revolutionary war unjustified because people killed each other?
  • If someone came into your church and started shooting everyone you seem to think it would be more justified to let everyone get shot than to fight back.

In the West Freeway Church of Christ shooting, Jack Wilson shot Keith Kinnunen who was the one doing the shooting. Jack Wilson saved the lives of his fellow church members but according to your logic, he would be guilty of repaying evil with evil. At the Nuremberg trials, people testified that they killed hundreds of thousands of people because the government said so and they would have been punished for disobeying the government.

The takeaway from this was supposed to be that in extreme circumstances, it is not only necessary to disobey the government but obligated. Because over 60 million babies have been murdered since Roe v Wade, I think that the circumstances that we are in make an extreme response necessary in the same way that it has been obligated to disobey governments throughout history.



While I agree that abortion is evil and a form of murder, and I agree that the laws of various governments ought to be changed to ban abortions, this situation is not equivalent to self-defense. First, your life is not being threatened. When I used to teach self-defense classes, the rule was that you stopped an immediate threat with the minimum necessary force and then allow to police to handle the situation. Thus, while people were upset with a few killings that involved the police, this did not justify them going into the streets to destroy property and even kill more people. What they did was not self-defense. What you are arguing for is not self-defense.

Killing someone who is involved in abortions is not going to stop abortions from happening. The laws still allow it. Someone else will just take the person's place. The only way to stop this insanity is to convince people that abortion is the killing of innocent life and work to get the government's laws changed so that life is once more respected.

As far as the abortionists themselves, well, they are going to be facing God and I would not want to be in their place.

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