Commentary: George Zimmerman and the Will of God

The shooter of Trayvon Martin is guided by the will of something other than the divine.

Posted: 07/23/2012 09:15 AM EDT

In his patently odd and eerie interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity the other night, George Zimmerman declared that the events of the night when he shot and killed an unarmed, 17-year-old Trayvon Martin were “all God’s plan.” 

 

For centuries, there has been debate in both religious and even secular circles on the role God plays in human violence. While there have been theories of all sorts on the topic, it seems to me that Sybrina Fulton, the mother of the deceased teenager, said it best: “I think that was ridiculous. I don’t think that it was God’s plan for him to kill an innocent teenager.”

 

Trayvon’s father, Tracy Martin, offered a similarly blunt reaction. “We must worship a different God because there is no way that my God would have wanted George Zimmerman to kill my teenage son.” 

In my youth, I largely attended Episcopal churches. As an adult, I have spent time in an African Methodist Episcopal church. I served as a worship leader in a Baptist church for several years. In more than 30 years as a journalist, I have attended worship services of a wide range of faiths, from Jewish to Muslim. 

 

While I am by no means a theologian in any shape or form, I have come to accept that there are some perspectives of the character of God — by whatever name he is called — that seem to be universal. While God has a distinctive nature that clearly calls upon people to love their fellow man and woman, he nonetheless has created people with an abundance of utterly free will. Though he sets clear guidelines, God will not compel us to follow them. Therefore, we are free — if we decide to ignore those guiding principles — to behave as we please.

 

That takes us back to Zimmerman. The erstwhile neighborhood watch volunteer was apparently guided with laser focus on behaving precisely as he pleased, God’s edicts notwithstanding. Armed with a 9 mm handgun, Zimmerman called a police dispatcher to report that the 17-year-old high school student — carrying nothing more deadly than a bag of candy — looked suspicious. Zimmerman was told not to pursue the teenager. 

 

Nonetheless, Zimmerman followed Trayvon Martin with horrifying results. Despite admonitions in nearly all holy books about the need to be truthful, Zimmerman and his wife seemed to have little in the way of discomfort in omitting from their testimonies to a Florida judge that they had collected more than $100,000 from Internet sympathizers, all while claiming to be financially destitute. Zimmerman seemed to be following a path far from the will of God in his youth, if his cousin’s accusations of molestation are true.

 

The notion that somehow God — or for that matter reasonable people — would consider the very idea that divine plans would somehow encompass the killing of an unarmed teenager walking in a gated community to watch a game at his father’s girlfriend’s home to be insane.

 

What Zimmerman seems to be guided by is less about the will of God as at is an effort by the man who is charged with second-degree murder in the death of Travyon Martin to do everything in his power to avoid being found guilty, no matter how insane the attempt.

 


The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of BET Networks.

 

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