Two recent news stories have raised the issue of submission to government authority--or looked at from the other direction, civil-disobedience--to a higher level of discussion in Christian circles:
Scott Roeder, who readily admitted killing abortionist George Tiller has been sentenced to life in prison, with no possibility of parole for fifty years. Since Roeder is fifty-two years old. It is almost certain that he will not leave prison alive. In his trial Roeder claimed that his killing of Tiller was justifiable homicide. His defense consisted of arguing that his killing of Dr. Tiller was justified because it resulted in saving many innocent lives--the many unborn children that Tiller will not abort. This defense is inhanced when one considers that Tillers' death might cause other abortionists to quit, saving even more lives. The fact that Tiller was well known as an abortionist who would perform late-term abortions, even when other abortionists and clinics refused, certainly raised the outrage of pro-lifers in reaction to his practice, which came to a sudden stop, when Roeder pulled the trigger.
I spoke with a Godly, law-abiding, gentle man last night. I think his take on the case is typical. "I can't condone what he did, but I don't like the fact that he was sent to jail while nothing is done to the abortionists who kill babies."
I ask myself: Suppose Roeder were released from prison on some odd appeal--one of the jury members owned stock in an abortion-center, something like that. Mr. Roeder decided to leave Kansas and was looking for a nice quiet place to live--a place like Covington, where I live. At the same time a retired George Tiller-like retired abortionist was looking for a house to buy. Both of them looked at the house next to mine. Which one would I want as a neighbor?
The other item of news, is one that was impossible to miss. The massive Health Care Reform Bill just became law. In spite of the Executive Order signed by President Obama many who have looked into the 2,000+ pages of regulations have concluded that it will mean money that comes from American tax-payers will pay for abortions.
So, was Scott Roeder justified in killing Dr. Tiller? There is no doubt that killing the abortionist prevented him from killing hundreds of children. Is killing Tiller the equivalent of shooting a man running toward a loaded school bus with a bomb in his hand?
The law and the court say no. You can do some web search on JH and you'll find that from the accepted definition Roeder's guilty verdict was appropriate. Among other criteria the threat has to be immediate. Dr. Tiller was not scrubbing for an abortion in church, where Roeder killed him.
When Paul told the Romans to submit to civil authorities, I think we can be sure that ths government of Caesar was involved in taking innocent life. In a short time some of those innocents would be Christians slaughtered in the arena. That knowledge was not hidden from the Holy Spirit as He moved Paul to write, "Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God." (Romans 13:1, NASB95)
A similar, though less violent, question relates to taxes. If in fact it is demonstrated that, in spite of assurances made to Representative Stupac, my tax money is used to kill unborn children, should I then refuse to pay my taxes?
The question wasn't related to abortion, but Jesus was asked in Matthew 22:15-22, "Is it lawful to give a poll-tax to Caesar, or not?”
Famously, Jesus replied, ". . . render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and to God the things that are God’s.”
I'm looking forward to hearing from some of you, but my answers are:
While I sympathize with Roeder, and would much prefer him as a neighbor to a retired abortionist, had I been a member of the jury I would have had to vote, "Guilty."
And, I figure that, yes, indeed, some of my taxes will fund abortions--which I totally oppose--yet in a few days, I will go through my yearly tribulation associated with paying my tax. I'll work hard to pay the government no more than I owe, but I'll conscientiously pay what I owe.
What do you think?