Unfortunately, school, work, and life have kept me away from Truth in the Trenches. I had hoped to put forward a piece soon on Galileo as my second modern myth, but sometimes, things arise that demand answers, such as the mass shooting in Colorado Springs.
In 1932, Herbert Norkus was one of the “Nazi Martyrs.” A member of the Hitler Youth, he was murdered at age fifteen by members of the rival communist youth group. The Nazi’s used Norkus in a lot of propaganda; his death was a tragedy, it is always a tragedy when a young person dies on the cusp of life, especially when that short life is wasted on a cause such as Nazism. The propaganda surrounding Norkus diminishes his life further, making the tragedy of his murder unimportant in the larger scope of the Nazi order. A similar potential exists for discussions of the Colorado Springs shooting.
Planned Parenthood is an organization that should be thought of in terms of Nazism, the Soviet Gulags, Street Gangs, and the Klu Klux Klan; they are unrepentant murderers, and as a society we should be ashamed that we allow them to walk free. But that does not mean that Christians believe in vigilantism nor does it mean that Christianity “caused” this tragedy. Anyone who commits a crime like this is an inconsistent monster because they do not understand the Christian faith. The shooter is, at best, an inconsistent monster.
The Nazi’s did damage not only to every person they murdered, and not only to much of central Europe, but also to themselves. They stained their own souls, and they died, going into a Christless eternity. Christians believe we are all made in the image of God, and it is from this that human beings gain value beyond that of mere beasts. Our value is found to be greater still because the Savior paid such a high cost to restore that image. The image of God exists in the tyrant and the tyrannized, in the oppressor and the oppressed, and the defacing of the image, internally and externally should be heartbreaking.
One of the central realities in Christian thought is the fall. We were perfect, but we became evil, wicked and sinful. The problem with evil is centered in man, Hell is many things, but it is not unjust, it is simply what we actually deserve. And yet, God extends mercy, and this is why Christians oppose vigilantism. And not just the loss of the Evangelical police officer. While his loss is a tragedy for his family, and while I don’t know him personally, it seems reasonable to assume his soul is secure in Christ, the same cannot be said of those engaging in infanticide. Those who worked for Planned Parenthood had their opportunities to repent of their sins cut short. For those who find inspiration in the words of the repentant persecutor, Saul of Tarsis, the real hope for the murderers at planned parenthood is that they would realize their sin, and repent of it, the gunman has, alas, removed future opportunities for their repentance.
When a person dies a heroic death, or is a martyr to a just cause there is comfort in those circumstances, the same cannot be said for those who unrepentantly die for the cause of evil. Hitler, Goebbels, and Himmler’s lives were wasted on the cause of Nazism. And this is also the tragedy of Colorado Springs; those who died lost their chance of repentance.