Skip to comments.Pro-Lifers Clash Over Paul Hill: Martyr or Murderer
Posted on 09/03/2003 2:37:33 AM PDT by kattracks
(CNSNews.com) - The spiritual adviser to convicted murderer Paul Hill, who killed an abortionist and a clinic escort, criticized pro-life organizations for their unwillingness to support the former Presbyterian minister as he awaited a Wednesday execution.
The Rev. Donald Spitz, who has met daily with Hill, said many people in the pro-life movement consider Hill a hero for killing abortionist John Britton and his escort, James Barrett, at an abortion clinic in Pensacola, Fla., on July 29, 1994.
Spitz said Hill would become a martyr when Florida executes him by lethal injection Wednesday. As director of Pro-Life Virginia, Spitz has long been an advocate for using force to stop abortions. He chided groups that call themselves pro-life but don't share his views.
"They're absolute hypocrites," Spitz said. "If an abortionist walked into their house and was going to murder their children, they're not going to take a human life to protect their own children? I think they would. Yet they don't feel the lives of those 32 babies were worth protecting.
"They prefer dead babies to the dead abortionist. If you have to choose between live babies or a live abortionist, I'd choose the live babies. They choose dead babies and a live abortionist," he added. "They seem to have a total disregard for the babies they're trying to protect."
Spitz contends that Hill's actions saved the lives of 32 unborn babies who would have been aborted on the day he carried out the murder.
Hill has other defenders as well, including the Rev. Michael Bray of Bowie, Md., who has written a book justifying the murder of abortionists.
Some of the country's large pro-life organizations as well as groups in Florida have distanced themselves from the views of Spitz and Bray.
"Pro-life means that you think that every life is created by God and it is sacred because it was created by God, so we wouldn't advocate the killing of anybody, regardless of what they had done," American Life League Vice President Jim Sedlak said last week.
"Obviously, some people are trying to make Paul Hill out to be some kind of martyr. He's not; he's a murderer who deserves whatever punishment the state deems appropriate." Sedlak added.
Florida Right to Life spokeswoman Lynda Bell agreed that Hill won't be a martyr, even though some people are bound to label him as one. She said the unborn babies who are aborted every day are martyrs, not a man convicted of killing two people and wounding a third.
"If you are pro-life, you do not kill to defend life," Bell said. "That is absurd. To say that you are going to take the life of an abortionist because it is justifiable is a contradiction."
Bell also turned the tables on abortion advocates who have warned that Hill's execution would result in increased violence at clinics. She said most pro-life groups were speaking out against Hill and his beliefs even before the 1994 murder, and therefore there's little reason to believe there would be an upswing in violence now.
Statistics from the National Abortion Federation, which tracks clinic violence, indicate that serious crimes have declined in recent years.
Hill's execution has generated the interest of several factions, including anti-death penalty advocates, who have joined forces with pro-life groups like the Florida Catholic Conference to ask Republican Gov. Jeb Bush to halt the execution. Bush has rejected those pleas.
Catherine Britton Fairbanks, stepdaughter of the slain abortionist, said she opposes the execution because it is no different than Hill's planned murder of her father.
"I believe the death penalty is immoral, it's inhumane and it's barbaric," she said. "It's not the right thing to do to anyone."
The Florida Catholic Conference, which asked Bush to issue a stay, has also expressed concerns about the implications the execution might have on pro-lifers. Sheila Hopkins, associate for social concerns, said activists should counsel women through prayer rather than resort to violence.
"Paul Hill is getting his wish, and that is, he wants to be executed," Hopkins said. "He feels that is what his role was by stopping the abortionists from killing babies. He feels he has accomplished his goal. Quite honestly, he feels this will serve as an example for other people to do the same."
Hopkins also criticized Hill's supporters for citing religion as a defense for his actions. Spitz, for instance, said the Bible contains multiple references to protecting the innocent. He said it's completely justifiable to intervene when someone's life is at stake.
"Violence is what's created a lot of problems in our society, and the worst thing that we could do is resort to more violence," Hopkins said. "We look at the execution as another form of violence."
See Earlier Story:
Planned Execution Stirs Debate Over Religious Link to Violence (Aug. 29, 2003)
Listen to audio for this story.
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Obviously one can.
More than anything, this pro-lifer prefers a dead terrorist.
Bye, bye Mr. Hill.
Not only in murder, but in all of our decisions in life.
Ahh...so it was wrong to make slavery illegal because it didn't stop slavery. Slave owners can just go to the Sudan to own slaves. OK. So are you in favor of legalized slavery?
Why not? If you don't think that a fetus is a human life deserving of protection, then I disagree with you but at least your arguments would make sense. It sounds to me, however, that you are just throwing out relatively meaningless statements that you have been spoon-fed.
What other kinds of issues don't belong in politics? If abortion was currently illegal, would you chide pro-abortion people by telling them that the issue "does not belong in politics"?
Even if what you are saying about the streams of busses to canada is true (which I doubt), is that in and of itself a reason not to make it illegal?
Right now, there are 10's of thousands of American men who stream to Thailand and Cuba for the sex trade. Does that mean we should make the sex trade legal here since they are going to stream overseas anyway? Does it mean that the issue "does not belong in politics of the criminal justice system"?
Here is tkathy quoted from the other day:
I would sure like to see severe penalties for polygamy enforced all over the country. I suspect many of them are in all kinds of polygamous (abusive) relationships. This may give the worst of them an excuse to leave.
Why are laws against polygamy enforceable but laws against abortion are not? Won't polygamists just all flee to Canada?
It sounds to me like your views are based on selfishness rather than any sort of moral grounding.
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