Pro-Life - Original Articles

Why is Clinic Violence Wrong?

by Pat Goltz

Clinic violence has come to mean when a person harms a clinic employee or an abortionist, or causes destruction of clinic property.

The first thing we must realize is that this definition is total nonsense. What is clinic violence? Clinic violence includes killing millions of innocent unborn children and maiming hundreds of thousands of mothers, and killing tens of thousands of them. Clinic violence also includes every time a clinic worker or a volunteer commits violence against a person protesting abortion peacefully. And it includes harming a person who is helping women procure an abortion.

In a sense, clinic violence does not include harm to the clinic's property. It is not that I wish to justify destroying clinic property, but property does not have the same value as human lives. Only people who think that destroying human lives is acceptable can equate the two. Such people are saying in essence that a piece of property is as valuable as the people who work in the clinic. Do these people really mean that? They need to ask themselves this question, and they must answer it. If they honestly believe women's lives are more valuable than that of their unborn children (an assertion which I do not accept), then they will also recognize that the workers at a clinic are more valuable than clinic property. So let us hear none of this claim that harming clinic property is clinic violence. Whatever it is, it is not violence against human beings.

The second thing we need to address is this attitude that people standing outside a clinic protesting peacefully are committing violence. This is totally absurd. There are no words strong enough to express the disgust I feel at such an attitude! This attitude is a frank admission that the people who hold the attitude know they are wrong about the abortion issue. Why? Because if they were not, they wouldn't have to play those kinds of mind games. Enough said.

Now having said all of that, I must now address people who claim to be on the side of the babies. There are those who think that harming an abortionist is justified. It is those that I wish to address. Because some of you use the Bible to try to prove your viewpoint, and in the process, you twist scripture, I will refer to the Bible in some of my statements. If there is anything that makes my blood boil more than peaceful protestors being accused of clinic violence, it is twisting scripture!

The problem with your views is that you fail to understand the difference between force and violence.

Force is used by the government to protect us from our enemies. War and capital punishment are examples of such force. In Romans 13, God speaks to us of the legitimacy of the use of force by government. Force is also used, in the United States, when a person defends herself or others from a direct attack. Legally speaking, this is called "justification", and if a person is charged with a crime, this defense can be used to defeat a criminal prosecution. Killers of abortionists attempt to use the justificaton defense, but they are applying it improperly, and it will not serve as a defense against a prosecution.

Violence, on the other hand, is when a person initiates the use of force, not in response to a prior use of violence. Abortion is violence. But here is the thing: clinic violence is violence, not force. Why? Several reasons: 1. it is vigilantism. This is a violation of God's clearly established sphere of authority, as outlined in Romans 13. God has established three such spheres of authority: the family, the church, and government. We are not to invade these spheres of authority from one of the others, or from outside. God did not give the authority to individuals, families, or churches to invade the lawful authority of the government to protect us from our enemies. 2. Like it or not, our government has seen fit to make abortion violence legal. While our government clearly is not in God's will in doing this, the remedy is not for us to step out of God's will to fix it. 3. The right to self defense and defense of others means that we have a right to stop an abortionist personally, but the principle of justification states clearly that one may not use excessive force. Since kidnapping an abortionist and holding him indefinitely will stop him just as well as killing him would, we are not justified in using deadly force to stop him. Laws of justification make this quite plain. 4. In using force to stop an abortionist, we must follow the principles of the just war.

Soldiers who participate in a war are doing so under the spiritual covering of a government, if you will, as a general rule. As such, they may well be in God's will. Nevertheless, the principle that those who shed blood will have their blood shed by man may well apply to them, since many are maimed and killed.

The concept of a just war appears to have originated with the Roman Catholic church. While I am not a Catholic and never could be, I think the concept makes sense. It is my understanding that this concept provides that a war is just only if the following conditions are met:

1. the war is a response to aggression
2. the war is in defense of innocent people
3. the war is conducted with the purpose of winning as quickly as possible to minimize the loss of life
4. the war is conducted only with techniques which are likely to win, which means that the techniques must be planned, and must be effective.

Instead of killing an occasional abortionist, the only way the vigilante actions would be an example of a just war is if many abortionists were killed or simply disappeared.

Thomas Aquinas, in his discussion of just war, puts the necessity for war to be by the authority of a government as the FIRST criterion. Without this, no matter how honorable the actions might otherwise be, violence does not fit the definition of just war:

Sovereign authority. Only a person in a position of responsibility for the good of the entire community may rightly authorize the use of the sword. Anyone not in such a position who resorts to the sword, for reasons however lofty, is guilty of disturbing the public good. The only exception to this is the use of arms in response to an attack under way or immediately offered, but even this allowance disappears when public authority is at hand to combat this evil. So the authority of a sovereign is necessary for a just war, because we are here talking about bellum, the only kind of resort to the sword that may be just. That Aquinas puts this requirement first is not accidental but follows from the logic of the concept of just war being set out: only uses of force by sovereign authority have the potential to be justified; thus this is the primary criterion. Moreover, it is an element in the sovereign's responsibility for the public good that he must weigh the cause offered to determine whether it is just and must use force so as to manifest right intention. The Neoscholastics usefully elaborated on this responsibility, including within it the sovereign's responsibility to weigh the cause and his responsibility to get advice from knowledgeable persons; yet ultimately, responsibility for the decision about whether to use force rests with the sovereign alone. [emphasis added]

Clinic violence meets criteria 1 and 2. It does not, however, meet criteria 3 and 4. Why? The violence against abortionists is not being conducted with the purpose of winning as quickly as possible.

Clinic violence is an act of sedition, because it removes the authority for making the decision to engage in force against abortionists from the sovereign. Clinic violence is vigilantism.

Yes, our government is wrong to allow abortion. But you don't fight evil with evil.

This is a war for the hearts of the people. More on that in a minute. And clinic violence most definitely is not being conducted with techniques which are likely to win. Why? Because this is a war for the hearts of the people.

Why is this a war for the hearts of the people? It is because abortion remains legal strictly because the public is allowing it. This means that whatever means are used to fight abortion must be effective for changing hearts. Ultimately, killing a few abortionists will not solve the problem as long as we don't have what various leaders have called the "culture of life".

Why won't clinic violence change hearts? The reasons have been clearly stated. The abortionists are using clinic violence, effectively, to promote sympathy for their cause. They have become martyrs. They do not deserve martyrdom. The general public is swayed toward abortion by clinic violence.

Clinic violence is also wrong because it does not use the minimum force necessary to win. This is because what we are doing is winning. Abortions are down by around 20-25%. This is a lot of lives. People from the pro-choice camp are leaving and coming to the pro-life camp in droves. As women come out of denial, they form a large part of this group.

This is God's war. We must be in God's will for Him to act on our behalf. We must do it according to God's direction. God has clearly indicated in the Bible that He blesses only passive resistance. All scripture used in support of clinic violence by people who promote it have been examples of passive resistance. God may initiate the use of force, but He does not bless the initiation of force by human beings.

What is needed is for us to repent before God so that He will heal our land. We do not repent by doing that which is contrary to God's revealed written word, the Bible. The Bible clearly indicates that we are saved by grace, and that grace is available also to the abortionist! If we kill abortionists, we send them to hell. Only God has the right to send people to hell. You have to twist scripture to come to the conclusion that God would bless clinic violence.

Therefore, from your own perspective, O you who promote clinic violence, you are in violation of God's clearly stated principles in the Bible. I therefore call you to repent, and to walk in God's ways, and leave the violence to the abortionists.

So I don't want to see any of you using God or His words as justification for violence ever again. The whole idea makes me sick

Take responsibility for your own rebellion, and leave God out of it.

Open Letter to a Killer

Who could end up with more innocent blood on their hands - Bernard Slepian, or James Kopp?

Abortion Vigilante Worksheet

Killing Abortionists: A Symposium Contains writings by various people of faith. The site is currently down, but try anyway.

Pro-Life - Original Articles

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