On Wednesday, July 18th, George Zimmerman, presently awaiting trial for the murder of seventeen year old Trayvon Martin on February 26, 2012, in Sanford, Florida, introduced a strange, yet not altogether foreign theological argument in justification of his actions in an interview with Fox News' Sean Hannity.
Zimmerman theologized Martin's loss of life at his hands, stating, "I feel that it was all God's plan and not for me to second-guess it or judge it." It can be surmised then that in Zimmerman's thinking, the events of February 26th, wherein he followed Trayvon Martin, disobeyed dispatcher's instructions not to pursue Trayvon, and then fatally shot Trayvon was the providential handiwork of God preordained before the commencement of time itself.
This makes total sense to me.
Zimmerman's theological argument for killing Trayvon Martin makes total sense to me in that I actually believe that Zimmerman has convinced himself of what he has verbally stated -- that this is God's plan. While such an argument might seem outrageous to many, the argument itself boasts deep and extensive roots anchored in the blood-stained soil of the Western World's racial history. God has often been implicated as the impetus behind the rape, pillage, mutilation, and death of others.
European conquests to the New World fueled by the unintended weaponry of biological warfare which decimated entire nations? It was all a part of God's plan. The Trans-Atlantic slave trade more popularly taught to children today as the Triangular Trade Route? Yep, God's plan to bring salvation to African savages upon the Dark Continent. Manifest Destiny, the westward movement to lay claim to already settled lands via broken treaties, war, and outright theft? Undoubtedly, this was God's plan. Segregation and Jim Crow? You guessed it! These too were God's plan!
Enlightenment Bible scholars theologized the Genesis story of Ham as God's curse against all people darkly pigmented (Genesis 9:20-26). The story of the Tower of Babel, also from Genesis, was exegeted such that it was used to justify the segregation of the races (Genesis 11:1-9). Hatred of President Obama has been justified by some in his being the Anti-Christ of biblical record, and of course, God is against the Anti-Christ! It is worth noting that the first movie viewed in the White House, The Birth of A Nation, originally called The Clansman, closes with the appearance of the image of Christ, a not-so-subtle divine endorsement of the movie's racist claims.
God-sponsored racism is an old-story, a tactic that has been leveraged for years to justify inhumane and diabolical practices against those who have been deemed less than human.
Despite its common usage, the roll of history is replete with those who courageously rejected its claims. One such person was Thomas Paine, a white abolitionist. In an essay published on March 8, 1775, in the Pennsylvania Journal and the Weekly Advertiser, Paine penned:
That some desperate wretches should be willing to steal and enslave men by violence and murder for gain, is rather lamentable than strange. But that many civilized, nay, Christianized people should approve, and be concerned in the savage practice, is surprising; and still persist, though it has been so often proved contrary to the light of nature, to every principle of Justice and Humanity...
Our Traders in MEN (an unnatural commodity!) must know the wickedness of the SLAVE-TRADE, if they attend to reasoning, or the dictates of their own hearts: and such as shun and stifle (sic) all these, willfully (sic) sacrifice Conscience, and the character of integrity to that golden idol."
Paine rightfully discerned that God-sponsored racism is the procreative results of conscience sacrificed and reasoning shunned. Those who, like Zimmerman, implicate God in their actions would do well to revisit the claims of Scripture. There they will find recorded in 1 John 4:20, "If someone says, 'I love God,' and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?"
A statement released by Trayvon Martin's father, Tracy Martin, read "We must worship a different God, because there is no way that my God would have wanted George Zimmerman to kill my teenage son."
And while it may be true that Tracy Martin's God did not, it is unfortunately clear that George Zimmerman's god did.
Trayvon, rest in peace.
Follow Michael W. Waters on Twitter: www.twitter.com/RevDrMikeWaters