The Impending Execution of Paul Hill

By

Rev. Michael Bray

It has been a fairly uneventful summer. There was a brief flurry of abortuary destruction in the early part of the year (bringing joy to the hearts of those who pray for spiritual revival). But things are relatively calm on the streets where ex-utero people live and move and have their being. And D.C., the murder capital of the country, has seen a decrease in crime. "Mayís statistics are 45 percent lower than May of last year and crime has been consistently lower for the past 14 months by an average of 20-25 percent" (Washington Times, 9 July, 1997).

This kind of peace is good for those of us who are actively pursuing our vacation time. We donít want folks performing drive-by shootings as we tour the Capital City or any other blood soaked American town. Indeed, as I take my children to swim team or wrestling practice or to a friendís house to play, I am glad that the judgment of God is, for some reason, held in abeyance. There is not blood-letting in the streets yet, like, say, Jerusalem or Ulster or any number towns in Rwanda or Liberia. And arenít we glad?

But it is bothersome to be reminded of the call God has placed upon the lives of others. Paul Hill has been sentenced to death. Apparently he was called to the sacrificial, public witness he made. And we are reminded that the hand of God sometimes falls hard upon us; He is, indeed, both good and severe (Rom. 11:22 ). How good He was to the innocents Paul defended and to us who have been encouraged by his courage and obedience. 

And yet, how severe He is in depriving children and wife. Yes, we are reminded that God doesnít mess around. He is serious; he is severe. And these truths about our God are not happily recalled. It is fearful thing to fall into the hands of an awesome and holy and everliving God. 

His public witness was one which not only testified to the humanity of the child in the womb and to the love we are to show our neighbors who are being delivered over to death; his deed was also a testimony against the judges of the land. Yes, he displayed the judgment which every prosecutor and judge ought to be processing against all the childkillers from Atlantic to Pacific.  

Paul Hill was called to abort the abortionist, and his wife and children were called to suffer the loss of husband and father for righteousness sake. Most of us have other callings, theoretically. And each is to employ his gift and answer his divine vocation in obedience to Christ and His word before all powers and authorities.

Presumably, the Almighty has given some of us the less glorious task (as it may viewed from enlightened historians some time in the future) of lobbying for the welfare of those martyrs who have put their immediate comfort, yea their very lives, in jeopardy for mercy sake. But if that be our task, we must be about it. We must demand; we must warn; we must exhort; we must importune; we must plead with the powers that are. A righteous man, our brother in the Faith, has been sentenced to die for doing justice and showing mercy. He is to be executed for obedience to our Lord who calls us to defend the orphan; who calls us to do no murder, but to defend the innocent. And his blood will be upon those authorities which participate in this unjust execution. 

It is our duty at this hour to write to the Florida State Office of Executive Clemency. Here is a summary of Paul Hillís post-sentence subjudice history: 

31 May, 1996 Oral arguments before the Florida Supreme Court

27 Nov., 1996 Florida Supreme Court affirms Paulís convictions and death sentences

6 Mar., 1997 Florida Supreme Court denies motion for rehearing of decision

March, 1997 Paul officially waives his right to participate in post-conviction proceedings

15 May, 1997 Paulís case enters into final stage: clemency proceedings

 

Governor Lawton Chiles and his Cabinet compose the Clemency Board. The Office of Executive Clemency was created to help carry out this executive power. An attorney is appointed to file a petition for clemency on Paulís behalf by mid-August.

Letters from interested citizens must be filed by 9 August. To do this eight (8) copies must be sent to: 

Janet H. Keels, Coordinator
Office of Executive Clemency
2601 Blairstone Road
Building C, Room 229
Tallahassee, FL 32399-2450 

Letters must refer to "Paul Jennings Hill"; case #94-3510; inmate #459364. The eight copies will be distributed to the members of the Clemency Board. Any member of the eight-man Board can request a hearing on Paulís case so that the Board can consider extending clemency to Paul. 

The very idea of clemency for Paul may be offensive to some of you; we think of clemency as mercy given to a wrongdoer. And as we acknowledge no wrong in Paulís service, clemency is an inaccurate word to describe the relief that we seek. (It is for these reasons, I am confident, that Paul has had no zeal to pursue pardons. To seek pardon is - even if only implicitly - to admit wrongdoing. He will have nothing to do with such falsehood.)

 But it is Paul Hill who has made of himself an excellent sacrifice. We can sully ourselves by asking rulers to extend mercy as they understand it even when we know we ought to ask as well that they repent and award him honors. We can humbly plead for his life. We can implore the powers to show mercy, even if they are confused and exchange the truth for a lie. Speak to them in their own language. They think Paul a sinner and a murderer. Bid them to extend mercy to the poor benighted wretch who still thinks children are created by God in His image. 

Finally, brothers and sisters, if you could do us the kindness of sending a ninth copy of your letter to us, we would be grateful. 

Below you will find a copy of the letter I have sent to the Board.

May our Lord, who is rich in mercy, grant you time and zeal to write requests for our brotherís life.

Reformation Press ∑ 2927 Tarragon Lane Bowie, MD 20715 ∑

Remember: 8 copies must be sent to the Board

 

REFORMATION LUTHERAN CHURCH
P.O. Box 544
Bowie, MD 20715
301-262-0145 ∑ www.christiangallery.com/bray.html

 

Pastors: Michael Bray, M.A., Michael Colvin, Ph.D.

 

 24 July, 1997

Janet H. Keels, Coordinator
Office of Executive Clemency
2601 Blairstone Road
Building C, Room 229
Tallahassee, FL 32399-2450

 

Dear Miss Keels,

I write you regarding the impending execution of Paul Jennings Hill, case #94-3510; inmate #459364. It is my hope that you will commute Mr. Hillís death sentence to life imprisonment.

Our church has been active in the anti-abortion movement. We founded the local Bowie Crofton Pregnancy Center in 1982. We have supported the work of our local Project Rescue and the larger Operation Rescue. Many of our members have been arrested in connection with efforts to rescue the children resting otherwise peacefully in the womb. Three of us were successful plaintiffs in the U.S. Supreme Court Case known as Bray v. Alexandria. Our church prays regularly for Paul Hill and his family. We believe him to be a man of integrity and that were he otherwise the press would have discovered it.

Yours is a difficult task. Mr. Hillís case is at the very center of the hottest political and moral issue of our time. And it will get hotter.

The country is divided and no band of judges can subvert the laws of every state inducing the spilling of innocent blood and expect the ensuing "controversy" to simply die out. It is surely an "issue" with the same potency as last centuryís conflict over slavery. The execution of Paul Hill will not help it. You may find yourself judged harshly by history.

Was John Brown a hero or a villain? A freedom fighter or a terrorist? He certainly became a hero to the victorious North who sang their martyrís praises as they marched: "His soul is marching on!"

Paul used the weapons of John Brown, but not against the government as Brown did. He used them against the immediate perpetrators of childslaughter. And righteous authorities would have praised him. If John Brownís deeds are now praised, which were formerly condemned by all, abolitionists alike, what of Paul Hillís deed? Shall you let fly so harsh a judgment on one whose actions grow out of the heart of the controversy? Shall you pass so final a judgment when the country is yet in turmoil over the issue?

It is hard to complain against you civil authorities when so many church authorities havenít the integrity to speak the truth. Nevertheless, I believe that you are without excuse and bidden by God who has ordained all authorities to do what is right. You will raise the ire of someone no matter what you choose. You are in a difficult place, politically speaking. But how much more ought your concern be to avoid the anger of the ultimate Judge who not only rules the nations but holds souls in His hands.

If Godís view of your judgments is not of great concern to you, the judgment of history is another consideration. But even if your thoughts are given primarily to the present, please consider this. If you commute the death sentence, you accomplish the following:

 

  1. You show mercy to Karen Hill, her wonderful three children, her church family, along with the rest of his many relatives and friends.
  2. You please the numerous anti-death penalty crowd.
  3. You prevent reactionary violence from radicals.
  4. You satisfy the abortion-favoring crowd who fear for the lives of abortionists by commutation to life imprisonment. He is off the streets and therefore no threat.
  5. You will sleep with a clear conscience knowing you have done right.

 

May the grace and wisdom and justice of God be with you,

 

Michael Bray

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  •  



     

    PAUL HILL SPEAKS

    PRO-DEFENDING LIFE

     

    Issue No. 1, June 1997

     

    A Reply to Credenda Agenda's "Moving Beyond Pro-life"(Vol. 8, No. 5).

     

    Dear Editors,

    Your Credenda Agenda article, "Moving Beyond Pro-Life" (Vol. 8, No. 5), broached issues upon which the life and death of untold millions depend. I agree with much of the article and appreciate your willingness to consider my efforts to clarify the issues in question.

    Your position was summarized succinctly:
    Our duty in providing a faithful testimony has three parts. First, we must continue to preach the gospel of forgiveness. We provide faithful testimony as we preach the gospel to every creature (Mk. 16:15). Part of this testimony includes the insistence that abortion is murder. In this respect, every Christian must be consistently pro-life. Second, we must flee when we are persecuted, if flight is possible (Matt. 10:23). Third, we must take up arms to defend God's covenant children (Neh. 4:14). But we may not use violence until they come after our children. We ought not take up arms to overthrow the established authorities or to defend the lives of Molech worshipers and their children.

    Your first point is well received. Abortion must be exposed as murder from God's law. And to be consistently believable we must also act as though abortion is murder by resisting it as God's law requires. The Sixth Commandment not only forbids murder but also requires using the means necessary to defend against murder--including lethal force.

    It is well known that lethal force may be resisted with force. If a child has a right to live, who will deny that those charged with the child's care have a right to defend him? You affirm this truth under your second point, "We must take up arms to defend God's covenant children." However, shouldn't this protection be extended beyond those in the covenant?

    Surely, the whole point of the Good Samaritan is that the duties of the second great commandment (not excluding the use of defensive force) apply to all our fellow men and not just those in covenant with us. The position that unbelievers should be protected from the elements by clothing them but not from assailants by defending them is inconsistent. If the commandment is to love your neighbor as yourself, and if the Bible's definition of neighbor includes non-Christians, then you must love your non-Christian neighbor as yourself.

    But not only must believers and unbelievers be defended similarly, this duty is inalienable and must be performed though men forbid it. The first commandment, "Thou shalt have no other Gods before me" requires that the obedience demanded by God, in this case the defense of children, be rendered in spite of human prohibition. Otherwise, men would be obeyed rather than God (Acts 5:29). Thus, to neglect the protection of your unborn neighbor in deference to men is to enthrone vile men above God by prostrating yourself in the blood of the unborn.

    The belief that God has endowed men with inalienable rights is also fundamental to all democratic governments. Such governments are based on individuals joining together to have their rights recognized (especially the right to defend life). Thus, if individuals deny they have a prior right to defend life they have no basis for expecting the government to exercise this right on their behalf by making abortion illegal.

    This leads to your third point, "We ought not take up arms to overthrow the established authorities or to defend the lives of Molech worshipers and their children." You rightly distinguish between using arms to defend individuals and using arms to overthrow a government. If someone defends his child contrary to the law it doesn't necessarily mean he is trying to overthrow the government. Overthrowing a government requires appointed leaders and an organized force, but defending your child doesn't.

    Many who oppose individual defense confuse it with corporate defense and claim it requires the leadership needed in corporate defense; but official approval isn't needed for you to protect your child. When oppressive authorities require such a sinful omission, the individual may not shirk his duty to God in the hopes that eventually the government will change and he will be given permission to obey God. Rather, the imposition of any degree of any sin must be resisted utterly and at once.

    This brings to view your point about fleeing when flight is possible. You rightly support this tactic from Matt. 10:23, "When they persecute you in this city, flee to another." In this instance, as well as after Pentecost, several things should be noted about the apostolic response to a prohibition to obey God's commands. First, they immediately asserted their rights and never stopped doing so. Some fled from city to city, but they continually obeyed God by saving others as they went. It is equally instructive to notice what they did not do. When forbidden to save people, they didn't comply and hope that educational and legislative means would some day make it legal. Neither did they just save those in the covenant. Nor was their intent to overthrow the government; they just obeyed God by standing for the truth and saved as many people as possible. Their bold stand brought persecution; but this gave credence to their position and ultimately persuaded the government to legalize their efforts.

    If they had responded to the prohibition to save souls as we have to the prohibition to save lives, they would have been as successful as we have been; but they saved others as they would have wanted to be saved and God blessed their efforts. And while many fled, many did not; nor did they flee from their duty in fear.

    Lev. 26:36 & 37 shows that the blindness of heart and fear that causes God's people to flee before their enemies is a curse God places on them for neglecting His commands. Therefore, our response to the prohibition to save lives should be similar to the fearless apostolic response to the prohibition to save souls.

    The cutting edge of Satan's current attack is the abortionist's knife. To scorn the duty to repel this lethal force with force is to evade both the first and the second great commandments by not defending your neighbor as you would yourself in disobedience to God. Therefore, to disdain God's means for preventing murder is to cut the heart from the gospel by failing to join faith with good works. To persist in this neglect is to continually expose both Christ's name and those made in His image to defilement. The solution is to show your faith in God's word by repenting of this neglect.

    The abortion plague is many times more horrible than the AIDS plague; however, the marvelous news is that God's cure is finally coming to light. The key to successfully making abortion illegal is for the people to assert their right to defend life so the government will do so on their behalf. News of the cure must be proclaimed throughout the world. Praise God for His deliverance and shout the good news!

    Paul Hill

    Starke, FL

    Paul Hill is currently on death row in Florida awaiting execution.

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