Capitol Area Christian News
So what happened to that loyal fellow in Southfield, Michigan who was arrested for allegedly wanting to terminate the terminator last fall? (Reuters, 21 Sept, 1996). The report said the 39-year-old man from Leetonia, Ohio attempted, indeed, to terminate Kevorkian to save Michigan man who was about to be killed by the doctor (What did I just say?).
What is proper moral judgment on this issue? If an upstanding citizen terminates a Kevorkian, is this act arguably justifiable or is it murder?
In these morally-challenged times, it is difficult to discern the right thing. While we have presented uncontroverted arguments in defense of the citizen’s right to defend the child in the womb with lethal force (See A Time to Kill or Cathy Ramey’s In Defense of Others), we find it more difficult to argue similarly in this case. Obviously there are cases (e.g. Samson) in which suicide can be justified. The Kevorkian-like aggressor is not nearly of the same standing of censurability as that of the abortionist. And, especially in our own Clintonic era of severe moral degradation, the moral complexities surrounding suicide should cause us to be tolerant of both parties. The one who wants to save the life of his friend is to be treated sympathetically, especially in this age of promiscuous suicide where courts readily cast off longstanding laws against self-murder and abortion, placing a great burden upon the friends of the victims who are induced out of desperation to intervene to stop such a final decision.
Consider, for example, the Michigan man. Why does he want to kill himself? What if he is suffering from justifiable guilt? Moreover, let us imagine specifically it is not difficult in these times that the man’s guilt extends from his allowing his own child to be murdered by another man (there are 1.5 million of such men added annually to our national population each year; the calculation is a sublime one). The legitimate punishment for murder in this life is death, and he knows it.
What mental strain does a man suffer when he knows he deserves death at the hands of civil authorities and cannot find it? And how legitimate are his yearnings for judgment? One who comes to knowledge of his own guilt and worthiness of death desires to be accused and then either punished or acquitted. It may be that a man’s conscience can admit a pardon by Christ for the next life and even the robed judge in this life (for certain extenuating circumstances). And in such a case, having had his deeds brought to light and laid against him, he can at least gain the satisfaction of a closure.
But in the supposable case at hand, the blessing of being accused is not afforded. Guilt remains and there is no healing process. Death, justice, is yearned for. In the absence of justice, the offender becomes the avenger.
We, therefore, must suspend judgment upon this Ohioan who allegedly tried to terminate Kevorkian. Let us be tolerant.