Abortion Vigilante Worksheet

Endorsement: "Dear American RTL, I just read your Abortion Vigilante Worksheet. I am a pro-life professor of ethics. I plan to use this in class. It is the best thing on this subject I have ever read. I just want to thank you profusely for devising it." -Dr. Ronda Chervin

Lethal force in a park to save a child is just.
Why is it wrong against an abortionist?

The late abortionist George Tiller was the most recent and notorious of the four abortionists killed in America, after Barnett Slepian, John Britton, and David Gunn. God has granted everyone the right of self defense to use an escalation of force up to lethal action to protect oneself and one's neighbor from unjust, imminent harm. Of course abortionists have unjustly slaughtered countless innocent children. Yet American Right To Life does not condone the murder of Tiller but we are thankful that he will never kill another child. The typical abortionist kills more than four people by lunchtime, yet the vigilantes who killed these abortionists were unjustified.

This worksheet uses the principles which establish the right of self defense and at the same time condemn vigilantism and the killing of abortionists. Jesus observed that those who live by violence will perish by violence (Mat. 26:52) as the New Testament further states, "He who kills with the sword must be killed with the sword" which command is described as "the faith of the saints" (Rev. 13:10). Widespread injustice like slavery, the holocaust, and abortion undermine the tranquility that societies (and even the perpetrators) desire; and as violence begets itself, these crimes against humanity bring about predictable eruptions of violence.

American RTL publishes this worksheet to help Christians think through the issue of vigilantism regarding the intentional killing of abortionists. Our directors and leaders at the summit which launched our organization (including the director of Operation Rescue National/OSA, the Rev. Flip Benham) have spent months incarcerated in jails for peaceful civil disobedience by blocking abortion clinic entrances and in defense of Christian liberties.

Disclosure: Prior to using this worksheet, ARTL would like the reader to know our own position:
1) Governments have the authority to use lethal force in more circumstances than do civilians.
2) The Bible's escalation of force principle prohibits civilian use of lethal force if less force could suffice.
3) Civilians may use lethal force defending innocent life against threats of imminent harm.

If true, these principles do not prohibit the use of civil disobedience to prevent abortions. This worksheet, however, concludes that those who kill, advocate, or even defend the intentional killing of abortionists are morally wrong. Some of those who defend such killings complain that others are unwilling to seriously address their position. To any such, this challenge goes out: take the time and courage to answer these questions, and then email your answers and contact information to office@AmericanRTL.org or send them to ARTL, 1535 Grant Street #303, Denver CO 80203.

Definitions for terms as used below:
● Threat: consider all threats herein to be life-threatening, unjust, fully credible threats.
● Lethal Force: where lethal force is called for below, lesser force would be insufficient to save innocent life.
● Governmental Authority: refers to the actual authority God has delegated to governments.
● Civilian Authority: refers to the actual authority God has delegated to civilians.

Worksheet Instructions: By ARTL's understanding, the correct answer to each question appears as the first choice. This is not an exam but both a research and a teaching tool. The goal is to think carefully about the relevant principles. If you disagree with the proposed correct answer, please provide your reason for the disagreement on extra paper if needed, and as appropriate, please include Bible verse references.

1. Principle: As a general statement, the government does have authority, in certain circumstances, to use lethal force.
True / Unsure / False
Reason for disagreement: ______________________________________________

2. Principle: As a general statement, it is justifiable for the government to execute someone convicted of murder.
True / Unsure / False
Reason for disagreement: ___________________________________________

3. Principle: It is justifiable for the government to use force, up to and including lethal force, to prevent the commission of a murder.
True / Unsure / False
Reason for disagreement: _____________________________________________

4. Principle: It is justifiable for a civilian to use force, even lethal force if necessary, in self-defense against an unjust and imminent (impending, about to occur) deadly threat.
True / Unsure / False
Reason for disagreement: _____________________________________________

5. Principle: Now consider an extension of this idea of self-defense, with a deadly threat as described above but targeting an innocent third party. In such a circumstance, a civilian may justifiably kill someone who is unjustly threatening to kill an innocent third party.
True / Unsure / False
Reason for disagreement: ______________________________________________

6. Principle: If you answered "True" to Question 5 affirming the civilian right to use lethal force defending a third party, then please indicate true or false: if someone obstructs the saving of a victim from imminent murder, it is justifiable for a civilian to kill such an accomplice. (For example, walking at dusk in a park, a law-abiding civilian and a gang member simultaneously come upon a rapist about to kill his victim. If the gang member tries to stop the law-abiding civilian from saving the woman's life, the civilian can rightly use up to and including lethal force against both the rapist and the interfering gang-member if necessary to save the woman's life.)
True / Unsure / False / Q5 Not True
Reason for disagreement: _______________________________________

7. Principle: If you answered "True" to Question 4 affirming the civilian right to lethal self-defense, then please indicate true or false: the threat must be imminent to some significant degree as a necessary factor in justifying lethal force in self-defense.
True / Unsure / False / Q4 Not True
Reason for disagreement: ____________________________________________

8. Principle: If you answered "True" to Question 5 affirming the civilian right to lethal force in defense of others, then please indicate true or false: the threat must be imminent to some significant degree as a necessary factor in justifying lethal force in civilian defense of others?
True / Unsure / False / Q5 Not True
Reason for disagreement: ____________________________________________

9. Principle: If you answered "True" to Question 7 affirming the civilian right to lethal force to defend against a threat of imminent harm, then please indicate true or false: a civilian facing a threat of future harm should not immediately use lethal force, but should first use either the government or lesser force to prevent the crime, and only use lethal force if the threatened harm becomes imminent.
True / Unsure / False / Q7 Not True
Reason for disagreement: _____________________________________________

10. Principle: Think about the moment of irreversible harm, either that point in time when a crime is actually committed, or earlier, when events proceed through a point that makes an irreversible offense virtually inevitable, unless some defender forcibly intervenes. If you answered "True" to Question 4 affirming the civilian right to lethal self-defense against an imminent deadly threat, then please indicate true or false: justifiable civilian lethal force cannot precede an imminent threat because God has only delegated to civilians the authority to use lethal force at the moment of irreversible harm.
True / Unsure / False / Q4 Not True
Reason for disagreement: _______________________________________________

11. Application: Even if some of your previous answers make this question irrelevant, please go through the exercise of evaluating each circumstance below. Think about the timeframe differences of threats of imminent harm as contrasted to threats of future harm. This question presents a range of time-sensitive threats. Circle "No" to indicate which circumstance would not justify civilian lethal force immediately at the moment of the threat. Circle "Yes" to indicate which circumstance would justify civilian lethal force at the moment of the threat:
No / Unsure / Yes: Prisoner threatens to kill you when he gets out of jail in 10 years.
No / Unsure / Yes: Prisoner threatens to kill you when he gets out of jail in 1 year.
No / Unsure / Yes: Released convicted mass murderer threatens to kill your unborn child after delivery.
No / Unsure / Yes: Boyfriend says, "Don't worry, I'll schedule the abortion and pay for it."
No / Unsure / Yes: Prisoner threatens to kill you when he gets out of jail in 1 week.
No / Unsure / Yes: Prisoner threatens to kill you when he gets out of jail in 1 day.
No / Unsure / Yes: Neighbor threatens to kill you when he gets back from buying a gun.
No / Unsure / Yes: Neighbor threatens to kill your child when your son gets home from school in an hour.
Yes / Unsure / No: Perpetrator puts a knife to the throat of an innocent person.
Yes / Unsure / No: China about to abort your child while you are restrained in the procedure room.
No / Unsure / Yes: Ex-con mass murderer threatens to kill in the womb the next child your wife carries.
No / Unsure / Yes: Neighbor threatens to commit a murder tomorrow.
Reason for disagreement: _____________________________________________
Note: Unlike the rest of this worksheet, only this Question 11 considers the circumstance of actually being in the abortion procedure room itself.

12. Application: Furthering Question 11, and if you answered "True" to Question 4 affirming the civilian right to lethal self-defense, then please indicate true or false: if a civilian reports to the government that his neighbor threatened to kill him when he gets back from buying a gun, regardless of the governments intended response, if the government has not prevented the neighbor from returning with a gun and continuing with the threat of imminent harm, the civilian may then justifiably use lethal defense.
True / Unsure / False / Q4 Not True
Reason for disagreement: ___________________________________________

13. Principle: God gives the dominant responsibility of enforcing the law to government rather than to civilians.
True / Unsure / False
Reason for disagreement: ___________________________________________

14. History: To help think about the difference between governmental and individual authority, for the statements below, please circle True, Unsure, or False:
T / U / F: From Adam's Fall to Noah's Flood, the Bible indicates that God withheld from mankind the authority to execute criminals.
T / U / F: From The Fall to The Flood (called by some the dispensation of conscience), the Scriptures do not indicate that God delegated governmental authority to mankind.
T / U / F: Immediately after The Flood, God delegated the governmental authority to execute criminals (called by some the dispensation of human government).
T / U / F: Prior to God delegating the governmental authority to execute criminals, the Bible says "that the wickedness of man was great," that every thought of man's heart was "only evil continually," and that the world was "filled with violence".
Reason for disagreements: ________________________________________________

15. Principle: Because of The Fall, mankind's sin prevents any current human government, regardless of the form of that government, from perfectly protecting innocence.
True / Unsure / False
Reason for disagreement: __________________________________________________

16. Tautology: As a general statement, different ideas for governing, if implemented, would produce different results.
True / Unsure / False
Reason for disagreement: ___________________________________________

17. Unintended Consequences: By The Law of Unintended Consequences, when rules are modified to address one problem, often, other problems are created or worsened.
True / Unsure / False
Reason for disagreement: ___________________________________________

18. Tradeoffs: [As background to this question of governmental tradeoffs, first consider how we unavoidably make tradeoffs in virtually all aspects of human endeavor: a husband decides to provide a better home for his wife, but the extra time working puts pressure on their relationship; a mother increases the time her kids spend in church, but thereby reduces their private family time.]
If the rules of governance were modified to reduce one form of criminal behavior, that modification might increase another form of criminal behavior.
True / Unsure / False
Reason for disagreement: ___________________________________________

19. Tautology: If God would give the dominant responsibility of enforcing the law to civilians rather than to government, then by definition, billions of individuals each then become a supreme judge and the highest governmental human authority on Earth.
True / Unsure / False
Reason for disagreement: _________________________________________________

20. The Flesh: If you answered "True" to Question 13 affirming that God gives the dominant responsibility of enforcing the law to government rather than to civilians, then please indicate true or false: if God would give the dominant responsibility of enforcing the law to civilians rather than to government, that would likely exacerbate the sin of pride for countless millions of individuals.
True / Unsure / False / Q13 Not True
Reason for disagreement: _________________________________________________

21. Principle: If mankind increased the exercise of individual authority at the expense of governmental authority, we would expect to see some type of tradeoff in criminal behavior.
True / Unsure / False
Reason for disagreement: __________________________________________

22. Principle: If you answered "True" to Question 1 affirming government's authority to use lethal force, and "True" to Question 8 affirming the prerequisite of imminent harm for the just exercise of civilian lethal force, then please indicate true or false: while the use of lethal force by civilians requires the threat of imminent harm, government can justly exercise lethal force in some circumstances apart from the existence of the threat of imminent harm. That is, regardless of any actual imminent threat, the government can use lethal force for various reasons including punishing convicted capital criminals, just war, etc.
True / Unsure / False / Q1 or Q8 Not True
Reason for disagreement: ________________________________________________

23. Tradeoff: Scenario: Virtually everywhere today, as governments actually function, a civilian is not permitted to overrule the government and kill someone whom the government has decided should not be killed. Now consider the worldwide scenario in which this situation reversed. Suppose that now, civilians have the actual authority, on their own, to decide who should be killed, in direct opposition to government decisions. This scenario effectively increases the exercise of individual authority at the expense of governmental authority. Please indicate true or false: with billions of people empowered to exercise individual authority above that of governments to decide whom to kill, we can know that the shedding of innocent blood would decrease.
False / Unsure / True
Reason for disagreement: ___________________________________________

24. Principle: In Exodus 22:2-3 God presented a principle of justice in an abbreviated form using a very few words, yet indicating that killing a house burglar in the dark of night is more likely justifiable than killing a daytime intruder. For various reasons, an intruder at night presents a much greater risk than does a daylight intruder, including because the residents are more likely to be at home, thus making an implied threat not only against private property, but against the people of the house. Not only does the homeowner have good reason to fear, but due to the darkness of night, he may not be able to see clearly enough to identify any factors that would minimize the risk. Thus as a rule of thumb, a lethal strike is justifiable against a nighttime intruder but not against a daytime intruder who may present a minimal threat, for example, a neighborhood kid snatching a wallet and running out the back door who gets shot in the back. So, what principle of escalation of force, if any, does Exodus 22:2‑3 teach?
Describe: ______________________________________________

25. Principle: A war, if fought for the right reason, is justifiable.
True / Unsure / False
Reason for disagreement: _________________________________________

26. Application: Could America's government justifiably seek out and kill foreigners because of their active support for Osama bin Laden's terrorist Al-Qaeda network?
Yes / Unsure / No
Reason for disagreement: __________________________________________

27. Application: Could a group of American civilians, on their own authority and against the prohibition of their own government, justifiably seek out and kill foreigners in Afghanistan who support anti-American terrorism?
No / Unsure / Yes
Reason for disagreement: _____________________________________________

28. Bible Story: Israel's first king, Saul of Benjamin, became terribly evil and pursued David seeking to murder the very man whom God had anointed as Saul's own eventual replacement. As Saul slept, David crept into the camp and held a sword over Saul's body. Instead of killing Saul, David instead merely cut off the corner of the king's robe to show his loyalty even to the wicked governing authority (1 Samuel 24:10).
Was David in imminent danger from the sleeping King Saul?
No / Unsure / Yes
If the situation were reversed, and David woke to find Saul about to stab him, would David have been justified in using lethal self-defense against Saul?
Yes / Unsure / No
Reason for disagreement: _____________________________________

29. Bible Story: When David refused to kill Saul, the Bible presents that as one of David's strengths rather than as a weakness.
Yes / Unsure / No
Reason for disagreement: _______________________________________

30. Bible Story: Even though anointed as Saul's eventual successor, David humbly restrained himself from a vigilante killing of Saul, and this was one reason why God described David as "a man after My own heart" (Acts 13:22).
Yes / Probably Yes / Possibly Yes / Unsure / Probably No / No
Reason for disagreement: _______________________________________

31. Principle: It is justifiable for a citizen to help an invading army by killing the leader of his own country, if that invading army is fighting a just war.
True / Unsure / False
Reason for disagreement: __________________________________

32. Application: Please indicate Yes, No, or Unsure
Once World War II broke out, a German citizen could have justifiably killed Adolf Hitler.
Y / U / N
During the U.S.A.'s War on Terror, an Afghan civilian could have justifiably killed the Taliban leader Mullah Omar or Osama bin Laden under America's umbrella of authority.
Y / U / N
Reason for disagreement: ________________________________________

33. Principle: If a government in some way continues to be guilty of shedding innocent blood, then it is justifiable for one of its citizens, by the authority of a civilian, to kill the leader of that government?
False / Unsure / True
Reason for disagreement: ____________________________________

34. Application: Without the umbrella of authority available from an approaching army, would a German citizen, by the authority of a civilian, have had the authority to kill Adolf Hitler prior to the outbreak of war?
No / Unsure / Yes
Reason for disagreement: _____________________________________

35. Principle: If the government fails to execute someone it has already convicted of a capital crime, it is not justifiable for a civilian to usurp the role of executioner and carry out the execution on his own.
True / Unsure / False
Reason for disagreement: _______________________________________

36. Principle: If the government fails to convict someone of a capital crime, a civilian may not justifiably take upon himself (usurp) the role of judge to convict or execute such a criminal.
True / Unsure / False
Reason for disagreement: ___________________________________

37. Application: Is it justifiable for a civilian to kill a retired abortionist?
No / Unsure / Yes
Reason for disagreement: ____________________________________

38.  Application: Is it justifiable for a civilian to intentionally kill an abortionist who continues to perform abortions?
No / Unsure / Yes
Reason for disagreement (especially regarding above principles): _________________

39.  Application: If you answered "Yes" or "Unsure" to Question 38 on killing an abortionist, may a civilian also justifiably kill a person who attempts to stop him from killing an abortionist?
Q38 No / Unsure / No / Yes

40. Application: If you answered "No" or "Unsure" to Question 39 on killing someone who interferes with killing an abortionist, and "Yes" to Question 6 affirming the civilian right to kill someone interfering in the saving of innocent life, then please explain the apparent contradiction.
Q38 No / Q39 Yes / Otherwise explain: _______________________________

41. Application: If you answered "Yes" to Question 39 on an alleged civilian right to kill someone who interferes with killing an abortionist, please indicate with a check mark which of these people a civilian would be justified in killing if they attempted to stop him from killing an abortionist:
Q39 Not Yes: _____  Security Guard: ____  Clinic Worker: _____
Abortionist's Wife: ______ Abortionist's Child: ____  Policeman: ____
Judge: ___  President: _____  Pro-lifer: _____   Bystander: _____
If you do not check "Q39 Not Yes" or all the remaining options, please explain: _____________________ 

42. Application: If you answered "Yes" to Question 38 on killing an abortionist, please indicate with a check mark which of these people, if any, a civilian would be justified in killing if they materially assist an abortionist in his killing:
Q38 No: ___  Security Guard: ___  Clinic Worker: ___  Policeman: ___  Governing Official: ___
If you do not check "Q38 No" or all the remaining options, please explain: __________________ 

Note: The following table presents the casualties of actual U.S. abortion vigilantes:

Anti-Abortion Violence
(non-regulatory)

Perpetrator Date City Victims Death or Injury Their Title or Role
Scott Roeder 5/31/09 Wichita, KS George Tiller Death Abortionist
Paul J. Hill 7/29/04 Pensacola, FL John Bayard Britton Death Abortionist
     "   "    "   "      "   " James H. Barrett Death Bodyguard, clinic 'escort'
     "   "    "   "      "   " June Barrett Shot twice Clinic 'escort'
James Kopp 10/23/98 Amherst, NY Barnett Slepian Death Abortionist
Eric Robert Rudolph 1/29/98 Birmingham, AL Robert Sanderson Death Security guard, off-duty cop
     "   "    "   "      "   " Emily Lyons Critically injured Clinic nurse
John Salvi 12/30/94 Brookline, MA Shannon Lowney Death Clinic receptionist
     "   "    "   "      "   " Leanne Nichols Death Clinic receptionist
     "   "    "   "      "   " Anjana Agrawal Shot twice, bullet by heart Clinic 'counselor'
     "   "    "   "      "   " Antonio Hernandez Collapsed lung, more Accompanied wife to clinic
     "   "    "   "      "   " Brian Murray Bullet tore up insides Accompanied friend to clinic
     "   "    "   "      "   " Jane Sauer Shot twice Clinic bookkeeper
     "   "    "   "      "   " Richard J. Seron Shot arm, shoulder, hand Security guard
Rachelle Shannon 8/19/93 Wichita, KS George Tiller Shot in both arms Abortionist
Michael Griffin 3/10/93  Pensacola, FL  David Gunn  Death  Abortionist

 

[These eight deaths contrast to the pro-abortion violence reported by Life Dynamics which documented 80 women killed for refusing to abort their children, along with the hundreds of women actually sexually assaulted by abortion "doctors" inside abortion clinics.]

43. Principle: A governing official who explicitly empowers other persons to murder innocent people is guilty of murders thereby committed?
True / Unsure / False
Reason for disagreement: _____________________________________

44. Principle: As a general rule, a civilian may not justifiably kill a governing official who continues to explicitly empower other persons to murder innocent people.
True / Unsure / False
Reason for disagreement: _______________________________________

45. Principle: If you answered "False" to Question 44 on the lack of civilian authority to kill guilty governing officials, then please indicate with a check mark whom a civilian may also justifiably kill of these human links in the chain between the governing officials who authorize, and those who carry out, the shedding of innocent blood:
Q44 True: ___ Enabling Bureaucrat: ___ Financial Supporter: ___
Knowing Supplier: ___ Public Advocate: ___
If you do not check "Q44 True" or all remaining options, please explain: _________________ 

46. Practicality: Does the government have the right to bring to trial a civilian who claims he killed justifiably?
Yes / Unsure / No
Reason for disagreement: ___________________________________

47. Tautology: If you answered "Yes" to Question 46, that the government has the right to judge a civilian's use of lethal force, then does that explicitly indicate also that the government does have the authority over the question of civilian use of lethal force?
Yes / Unsure / No / Q46 Not Yes
Reason for disagreement: _______________________________

48. Tautology: If you answered "No" to Question 46, denying the government's right to judge a civilian's use of lethal force, then would not your position explicitly indicate that every individual is a legally unquestionable authority over life and death?
Q46 Yes / Q46 Unsure / Yes / Unsure / No
Reason for disagreement: _________________________________________

49. Forecast: Consider the two camps, those who do and those who do not justify intentionally killing an abortionist. A government could theoretically accept either view. This question asks you to anticipate a consequence of a government that accepts the argument of those who justify killing abortionists.
Caveat: To anticipate the consequences of such a position, you must first wrestle through a dilemma. ARTL believes that the position of those who justify killing abortionists contains a fundamental contradiction, and thus, if you find this question difficult, or even paradoxical, it is because we are asking you to visualize implementing a system upon what we believe to be an unworkable, contradictory foundation.
Background: Human government is imperfect, and even the Christian masses commonly lack wisdom, so government and the people commonly misapply any vestiges of righteousness that happen to remain in society. For example, in vain hope of deterring perjury the government has put countless witnesses under oath by swearing on the Bible, which directly violates Jesus' command not to swear an oath "at all" (Mat. 5:34‑37; [2 Cor. 1:17; James 5:12]), yet in America, secular forces have mostly brought an end to this unbiblical practice, ironically, at the objection of some Christians.
Scenario: Now, imagine a government that recognized this broader "right" of civilians to kill those worthy of death. Such a recognition does not automatically mean that the government would also accurately recognize abortion or other such crimes as the capital crimes that they truly are. Nor does it mean that the majority would know what circumstances should trigger the exercise of such rights. So, might the government and any number of civilians and private organizations come to different conclusions on what "offense" justifies the civilian use of lethal force?
Yes / Unsure / No
Reason for disagreement: __________________________________

50. Forecast: If the government proclaimed the principle of the right of civilians to overrule government on the use of lethal force, regardless of imminent threat or escalation of force, please check those whom various activists might be significantly more inclined to kill:
All of the following: ___ Oil executive: ___ Slaughterhouse worker: ___ SUV owner: ___
Logger: ___ Banker: ___ Animal researcher: ___ McDonald's worker: ___
Pornographer: ___ The president: ___ Rancher: ___ UN Secretary General: ___
International businessmen: ___ Furrier: ___ Wal-mart manager: ___ Liberal judge: ___
Conservative judge: ___ Pro-lifer: ___ Street preacher: ___ Anti-homosexual activist: ___
Pastor: ___ Unfaithful spouse: ___ Christian evangelist: ___ None of the above: ___
If you do not check "All of the following" then please explain: _________________________

Note: In 2011 the governor of Punjab was killed by his own police bodyguard, as confessed, because of the governor's opposition to blasphemy laws. Well-attended rallies around Pakistan hailed the murderer as a hero.

51. Principles from Prophecy: The following statements do not suggest or reject that mankind is in or near the End Times, and they can be helpful in this vigilantism discussion regardless of one's eschatological view. For the statements below, please circle True, Unsure, or False:
Jesus said that in the End Times, the saints (believers) would be persecuted (Mat. 24:9; Mk. 13:9; Luke 21:12; etc.).
T / U / F
Daniel prophesied that in the End Times, anti-Christ forces "shall intend to change times and law" to persecute believers (Dan. 7:25).
T / U / F
Jesus said that in the End Times "lawlessness will abound" (Mat. 24:12).
T / U / F
Jesus said that the End Times would be like the days of Noah (Mat. 24:37; Luke 17:26).
T / U / F
In the days of Noah "the wickedness of man was great," so that every thought of man's heart was "only evil continually," and the world was "filled with violence" (Gen. 6:5, 11, 13).
T / U / F
Reason for disagreements: _______________________________

52. Consequences: If the government proclaimed the principle of the right of civilians to overrule government on the use of lethal force, regardless of principles of imminent threat or escalation of force, it is possible that a resurgence of the pre-flood world of violence and anarchy could ensue:
True / Unsure / False
Reason for disagreement: __________________________________

53. Activism: Have pro-life activists been able to prevent abortions at a single abortion mill for a single day when they have decided to use non-violent methods such as Operation Rescue's peaceful civil disobedience, stink bombs, etc?
Yes / Unsure / No
Reason for disagreement: ___________________________________

54. Motive: Comparing the number of children an abortionist might kill in one day with the number he may kill over the rest of his career, and considering that various non-lethal acts that could stop abortions scheduled on one particular day, then we can conclude that activists who attempt to justify the killing of an abortionist do so as prevention of whatever abortions he might otherwise have committed in the future, in coming weeks, months, and years.
True / Unsure / False
Reason for disagreement: ___________________________________

55. Technique: On the days that activists have killed abortionists, is there evidence that the activists have considered whether a lesser force could have prevented the abortions scheduled for that day?
No / Unsure / Yes
If "Yes," what evidence:__________________________________

56. Motive: Activists who advocate killing abortionists (please circle True, Unsure, or False):
disregard the principle of escalation of force for babies scheduled to die imminently.
T / U / F
disregard the requirement of imminent harm for babies scheduled to die in the future.
T / U / F
Reason for disagreement: _________________________________

Conclusion: God authorized individuals and governments differently. He authorized individuals to use a minimally sufficient escalation of force in order to defend against imminent unjust threats. And God authorized governments to exercise lethal force to punish capital criminals, and to exercise up to lethal force in attempts to capture suspects, and to thwart and deter unjust and credible threats of sufficient harm regardless of their imminent nature. As compared to authorizing the alternative, this wise balance of power between governments and individuals minimizes the chance of descent toward anarchy, averting that likely terrible tradeoff. Thus God empowers civilians to physically thwart criminals at the moment of the actual exercise of irreversible harm.

In structuring human government, God knew that governing officials would be evil. So not surprisingly, the Bible presents many examples of citizens disobeying governing authorities in order to obey God (as Paul himself wrote four epistles from jail). But the Bible does not indicate that God has authorized civilians to rebel and use force against evil governing officials. A growing number of Christians are carefully rethinking American history and applying these principles, concluding that yes, America had justly exerted her independence from England, but they reject the negative and liberal characterization of that fight as the "Revolutionary War," and instead speak of our defensible "War of Independence." For a nation may justly exert its own independence. But as for rebellion and revolution, the Bible, including the Gospels and Paul's letter to the Romans, teaches that men should subject themselves to the governing authorities, even when the government is murderously guilty (as Rome was) in countless particulars. For example, even though Rome permitted the wholesale murder against a class of its subjects, namely, gladiators, still, Jesus, Paul and other biblical authorities still enforced the general principle of civilian subjection to governmental authority, as in Christ's admonition to pay taxes to Caesar (Mat. 22:21) and Paul's instruction to obey the governing authorities (Rom. 13:1-6).

If God had increased civilian authority to use lethal force as can government, regardless of the existence of imminent harm, rather than only at the moment of irreversible harm, the number of cases of civilian use of lethal force would likely increase dramatically. God has expertly balanced these powers in the way that the Bible reveals, and that history, governments and civilians have even generally recognized. However, because of sinfulness, cases do arise despite the general acceptance of this conventional balance of authority, wherein governments wrongly accuse civilians of unjustly using lethal force, even though the force was used to prevent imminent unlawful death. But consider the infrequency of such cases, as compared to the certain greater frequency under the alternative. Visualize the extent of the difference in human conflict between the two alternative methods of empowerment, as God balanced civilian versus governmental lethal force, dealing with the resultant cases is like having to deal with only the point of a sword, and not with the entire edge of the blade running down to the hilt. The historical way, the long-acknowledged and received way, is biblical, for it is God's way.

We at American Right To Life commit ourselves to effective discipleship in many areas of human life. So we provide this worksheet to help Christians and others identify the specific principles involved in the civilian use of lethal force. We hope the above questions will help pro-lifers think more clearly to determine the proper boundaries of the exercise of lethal force, including as regards preventing abortion. When disagreements do arise, we hope this tool will help identify the precise point of disagreement. These questions can show where someone may be departing from the proper application of the above biblical principles, and at the least, should help bring clarity.

Finally, if you have learned anything new from this worksheet about law, the Bible, and God's balance of power between government and civilians, and if you have disagreed with any of the proposed correct answers above, then please go back and reconsider those questions now that you have a deeper understanding of these principles.

© 2009 American Right To Life
1-888-888-ARTL office@AmericanRTL.org
See also: The George Tiller Memorial and ARTL on NBC's Law & Order Tiller Episode.

Select Bible Verses

Exodus 22:2-3  "If the thief is found breaking in, and he is struck so that he dies, there shall be no guilt for his bloodshed. If the sun has risen on him, there shall be guilt for his bloodshed..." -God (back to Question 24)

Daniel 7:25  He shall speak pompous words against the Most High, Shall persecute the saints of the Most High, and shall intend to change times and law. Then the saints shall be given into his hand for a time and times and half a time. -Daniel

Matthew 5:34-37  "But I say to you, do not swear at all: neither by heaven, for it is God's throne; nor by the earth, for it is His footstool; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. Nor shall you swear by your head, because you cannot make one hair white or black. But let your 'Yes' be 'Yes,' and your 'No,' 'No.' For whatever is more than these is from the evil one." -Jesus

Chervin Unsolicited Endorsement: Dear American RTL, I just read your Abortion Vigilante Worksheet. I am a pro-life professor of ethics. I plan to use this in class. It is the best thing on this subject I have ever read. I just want to thank you profusely for devising it. -Shalom, Dr. Ronda Chervin

Ronda Chervin received her Ph.D. in Philosophy from Fordham University and an MA in Religious Studies from Notre Dame Apostolic Institute. Ronda converted to faith in Christ from a Jewish, though atheistic, background and has been a Professor of Philosophy and Theology at Loyola Marymount University, the Seminary of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, and at the Franciscan University of Steubenville. Mrs. Chervin speaks internationally and is a prolific author. (return to top)

You're Invited: Ministry leaders and other experts, you are invited to send your endorsement of ARTL's Abortion Vigilante Worksheet to office@AmericanRTL.org!