Wednesday, September 4, 2013

10 years ago: The execution of Paul Hill

On September 3, 2003, Paul Hill was executed by lethal injection in Florida State Prison in Starke, becoming the first American to be executed for murdering an abortionist. Mr. Hill was ordained in 1984 and was a minister affiliated with both the Presbyterian Church in America and the Orthodox Presbyterian Church. He was excommunicated in 1993 after publicly speaking and issuing statements under the name "Defensive Action" in favour of vigilante action to murder abortionists. On July 29, 1994, Mr. Hill fatally shot abortionist Dr. John Britton and bodyguard James Barrett and wounded Mr. Barrett's wife June outside the Ladies Center abortion clinic in Pensacola, Florida. On December 6, 1994, Mr. Hill was sentenced to death.

I have no objection to capital punishment for abortionists--that is, execution by the state after due process of law. Nor do I object to the state's execution of Mr. Hill for his act of premeditated murder. The Bible nowhere permits individuals to execute people on their own, as horrible as their acts may be. One of the things that most angers me about vigilante killing of abortionists is such action may be interfering with the work of God in the life of the abortionist. Dr. Barnett Slepian, who performed abortions in Buffalo, was gunned down at his regular medical clinic in Amherst, New York on October 23, 1998 by "pro-life" terrorist James Kopp. Dr. Slepian was regularly meeting with a husband-and-wife couple of Baptist protesters outside his clinic, and was said to be open to the gospel of Jesus Christ. I don't know if Dr. Slepian had trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ as his saviour before his sudden death, but I hope so. In any case, God seemed to be working on him, and Mr. Kopp's criminal act interrupted that. I'd rather have abortionists quit performing their evil deeds because they've become convinced that such acts are morally wrong, rather than to have them quit performing abortions because they've been gunned down or are in fear of such.

Mr. Hill's church acted correctly in not only defrocking Mr. Hill but excommunicating him--meaning that he wasn't to be regarded as even being a Christian. However, a "Christian," "pro-life" terrorist movement called the Army of God recognizes Mr. Hill as a hero, and publishes the Authorized Paul Hill Website. I recommend visiting the site just to see how extreme and off-base some people can be, while being thoroughly convinced that they're carrying out the will of God. In his nine years on death row Paul Hill showed no remorse, and said that he expected to receive a "great reward in Heaven." I believe Mr. Hill went to "his own place" instead.

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