Thursday, July 19, 2012

George Zimmerman says the death of Trayvon Martin was part of God's plan

This post is surprising to me for a couple of reasons. First, the subject matter itself: I've heard the "it's all God's plan" thing about a bajillion times, growing up and living in the South and all, but it is almost always reserved for some tragedy that happens to you, not a tragedy that you directly caused. In this case, because the tragedy is the death of a young man by a firearm carried by the person calling "God's plan"--a person being tried for murder for this very crime--it's especially stunning and disturbing to hear it invoked. Second, this post surprises me because I'm actually going to link to a Fox News article because it was to Sean Hannity that Zimmerman uttered this ridiculous line, in response to whether or not he regrets anything about the night Trayvon Martin was shot.
"I feel that it was all God's plan, and for me to second guess it or judge it," Zimmerman shook his head. [Quote from Fox News article, link above]
This is mind-boggling, if that term means anything, and it's precisely the kind of problem I have attempted to highlight with God Doesn't: We Do. God simply doesn't do this kind of thing (or anything, for that matter). God doesn't make plans to have a man with a gun and without regrets bring about the death of an unarmed seventeen-year-old while self-defense under very dubious circumstances and difficult-to-justify "stand your ground" laws.

Trayvon Martin's family doesn't accept this statement, and they put it quite plainly what it would mean if they were forced to do so:
"I don't understand what he was thinking by saying it was God's plan that he murdered our child. I really don’t understand what God he worships because it’s not the same God that I worship." --Tracy Martin, Trayvon's father
"Why would God have him kill an unarmed teenager? It makes no sense." --Sabrina Fulton, Trayvon's mother

Indeed, it makes no sense at all, and no rational, reasonable person should accept the excuse for a moment. The question we have to ask ourselves is what follows from teachings about God, particularly the dogma of the infallibility (or moral perfection) of God. To accept this belief, is to realize that Zimmerman is correct--a sentiment already being echoed from more fundamentalist believers on comment threads on articles about this piece of news (ex: Here, CNN's Religion Blog).

What happens when we combine the dogma of the moral perfection of God with the belief that He is just? We are forced to accept that Zimmerman is right again and that, essentially, God chose him for indiscernible reasons to be the tool of Trayvon's justifiable death.

What happens when we combine those dogmas with the notion that God is all loving? We are forced to accept that God somehow knew that the incredible suffering caused by this, including the collective suffering and division of an nation, is a loving act by God brought about through the death of an unarmed teenager by a bullet fired under very questionable circumstances.

This is bull, and it is astounding that people can hold these beliefs. Astounding and obscene--and insane. Absolutely insane.

Of note, Zimmerman is aware of the suffering, including its scope, and has expressed that he is sorry for it: "I do want to tell everyone, my wife, my family, my parents, my grandmother, the Martins, the city of Sanford and America that I'm sorry that this happened," he said. "I hate to think that because of this incident, because my actions, it's polarized and divided American. And I'm truly sorry." Still he is willing to call it "God's plan," though, and attempt to absolve himself of any responsibility for it. Almost most obscene of all, he claims he prays for the family of Trayvon and others concerning the tragedy he sits at the center of.

It has past the time in our society to let such patently empty statements serve as any kind of buffer against the reality of tragedy, particularly in cases like this in which it is essentially being claimed to try to shift the burden of guilt off Zimmerman's shoulders. If anyone wants to read Zimmerman's words differently, they are encouraged to watch the video of Hannity's interview with Zimmerman here.

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