July 19th, 2012
07:55 AM ET
Zimmerman: Shooting 'God's plan'
By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor
(CNN) - It was "God's plan" that brought together George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin in a fatal confrontation in February, Zimmerman told Fox News host Sean Hannity Wednesday in his first television interview.
Zimmerman, 28, has been charged with second-degree murder for shooting Martin in what he says was self-defense. Martin was unarmed when he was killed while walking back to his father's girlfriend's house in a gated residential area of Sanford, Florida. Zimmerman has pleaded not guilty and has been free on $1 million bail since early July.
Zimmerman, who said he routinely carried a gun except when he was at work, told Hannity he didn't regret deciding to follow Martin that night, after deciding the teen was acting suspiciously, and he didn't regret having a gun.
"Do you feel you wouldn't be here for this interview if you didn't have that gun?" Hannity asked.
"No, sir," Zimmerman responded.
"You feel you would not be here?" Hannity pressed.
"I feel it was all God's plan and for me to second guess it or judge it..." Zimmerman said, pursing his lips and shaking his head.
The 17-year-old victim's father didn't agree with Zimmerman's claim.
"We must worship a different God because there is no way that my God would have wanted George Zimmerman to kill my teenage son," Tracy Martin said in a statement after Zimmerman's interview was broadcast.
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There's an old joke about a Christian who falls down a flight of stairs and then says, "Thank God that's over." For some Christians, there is a belief that God is in control of everything in their lives, good and bad, from finding a parking space close to the grocery store to the death of a loved one.
When things go horribly awry, it's not uncommon for people to look to God as the one who drew up the plan, says David M. Carr, professor of Old Testament at Union Theological Seminary.
“What's particularly striking to me in this instance,” Carr told CNN, was that “George Zimmerman is attributing something he did to God’s plan.”
“It's one thing to attribute a natural disaster to God’s plan to try and make sense of the world,” he said. “It’s another thing to justify something you did as God’s plan. That’s taking it to another level.”
“That lets you off the hook, but I think it can look to other people as a pretty transparent attempt at self-justification,” Carr added.
Carr is an expert on the Hebrew Bible, which Christians call the Old Testament.
“One thing that strikes me about many of the narratives in the Old Testament is there are so many places where characters think they know what God is up to, but we know because of the narrator in the story, they’re wrong.”
“So the Bible speaks to the human misperception of what God is doing.”
Zimmerman and his family were longtime members at the All Saints Catholic Church in Manassas, Virginia.
"George grew up in Manassas and was active in the church during his youth as an altar server and evening receptionist in the office," Pastor Bob Cilinski of All Saints told CNN in March. "The Zimmerman family were known and respected in the community for their dedication and service."
Despite his Catholic upbringing, some say that that on this point of theology, Zimmerman may be out of step with Catholic teaching.
“God didn’t make us robots, he didn’t make us puppets,” said Father Tom Reese, a senior fellow at the Woodstock Theological Center at Georgetown University.
“A key part of God’s plan is giving us freedom to make decisions. Sometimes those decisions are good and sometimes those decisions are bad," Reese said, explaining the Catholic teaching on the concept of free will.
"Obviously, not everything we do is part of God’s plan. Because sometimes we sin and that certainly is not part of God’s plan. It’s contrary to what God wants."
Reese said Zimmerman's sentiment is not an uncommon one among Christians. But the idea of a God who controls everything down to the last detail strikes Reese as an idea closer to Greek mythology than the God described in the Bible.
"It’s based on this idea of an absolute powerful God who always gets what he wants. When we read the Scriptures, we find out God doesn’t always get what he wants. He’s disappointed and upset when things go wrong,” he said.
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“I think there’s an important insight that these people have, that is when things do go bad, when they go contrary to God’s plan, he can still make good things happen as a result," Reese said.
“When these terrible things happen, God can inspire people to respond to them with courage and compassion so that something positive can come out of something very negative," he added. "But it wasn’t part of God’s plan that this guy got killed. We can’t excuse what we do by saying that’s God’s plan.”
Both Carr and Reese were careful to say they were not commenting on the legal aspects of the case and noted that Zimmerman's guilt or innocence should be left up to the courts.
One thing Reese said Zimmerman did get right in the interview was apologizing and praying for the Martin family.
"I'm sorry they had to bury their child," Zimmerman told Hannity. "I pray for them daily."
About this blog
The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.
Zimmerman: Shooting 'God's plan'
All sick puppies think of themselves in the 3rd person. so he calls "himself God"
He even admits he planned it too! ...very clever that GZ!
And, by extension, anyone who believes in god is a "sick puppy".
Notice rape and murder victims never have free-will choice whether or not they get victimized but god only gives free-will to the perpitrator and only he gets this "gift" of free-will? You Christians fail again. Try some other twisted logic to maintain your delusions.
So many Christians, so few lions.
LMAO that is bad my brother :))
If you look at the murders by "atheists" in the last hundred years you will see societies that treat their leaders like gods. Hardly how a true atheist would run things. Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, etc. all used the framework that was borrowed from religion to push their personal ideologies.
This old chestnut? No thanks. You must be new here.
Absolutely Disgusting invoking “its God’s Plan”!
True. god likes to kill people in larger numbers. Just killing one would be an insult to him.
The String Theorists seem to agree with the Buddhist Philosophers that past, present, and future are illusions. At least in this particular Universe, the thug was ALWAYS killed, maybe that was the Lord's plan.
welcome to the planet earth.
free will and an all knowing being goes together like oil and water.
By the way, all 9/11 terrorists did what they did in name of God, so Zimmy is in good company
Okay, so somehow this "plan" from God is worse than Moses or Abrahams plan? Trayvon's mom needs to go read more about God, Moses had thousands killed. Abraham almost sacrificed his son and that is considered amazing faith in God's plan. Zimmerman has great faith and should be a prophet.
and you should be taking loads of heavy narcotics, drooling from the side of your mouth, and lashed to a wheelchair slick.
Just try to imagine what Zimmerman would prophesy.
Give me one shred of direct evidence of a god, then we can possibly talk about whether or not this god has plan or not.
Give me strong evidence that there is not!
Well, I would say orgasms, but christians seem to be against them for some reason.
Sorry Andrew. You say god exists; you prove it. I don't have to disprove god; the burden is on your back. That is the way evidence works.
The fact that you exist is proof enough. The evolutionists have no answer for any of the important questions. The only reason they claim they do is so they can ignore the moral standards set by the creator of life and embrace hedonism as their religion. Micro evolution occurs every day. Macro evolution is an invention that makes no sense. Absolutely no where in the world today can we observe simple forms evolving into more complex forms. Add a trillion years and it will not matter. The second law of thermal dynamics applies. Just as a fighter jet will never evolve from a pile of parts, no life was ever created from a pile of parts except by God's design. The complexity of one human cell makes the probability of macro evolution completely impossible. Macro evolution is as scientifically valid as the Avengers and the X-Men.
Andrew – it's up to the believer to prove that their is a god not the non believes to prove not. H= there is no god
It is important to understand that the null hypothesis can never be proven. A set of data can only reject a null hypothesis or fail to reject it.
Typical religious schtick... when you believe something without evidence, the burden of proof lies with you. Can you prove the Flying Spaghetti Monster doesn't exist?
@ Doug Lynn
You, sir, know absolutely nothing about biology, science, or rational thought.
Doug Lynn, Try to understand what the 2nd law of thermodynamics says before you post anything. Evolution is entirely consistent.
God is everywhere in all things you can see the creator if you have eyes to see... that is why God is the creator you can see it expressed at different frequencies over a small factor of time all around you. The miracles of life are not miracles at all ...its the creator simply expressing its self. All inside Humans have lost the ability to see the creator but your american Indians can still. but first you have to turn your mind OFF or you will never see or hear anything but your clutter and programming. That's the trick to seeing god, I see him/her every day!
I like how every article is taking what he said completely out of context. In the interview, he described what happened in full detail and said basically that what happened that night happened. He basically stated that it was 'God's plan' that he was still alive after Trayvon went for Zimmerman's gun. People need to stop listening to things selectively and pay attention to the context.
Well I guess no-one will ever know if it's true that Trayvon went after Zimmerman's gun, considering Trayvon is not alive to tell his side. Everyone heard it correctly including Trayvon's grieving parents. What Zimmerman implied is a cop out excuse for his own personal delusions.
These priest/father above, got it right without saying Mr. Zimmerman is innocent or guilty...let the courts decide they say. I strongly agree, Mr. Zimmerman is trying to justify what he did as "God's plan," but like father Tom Reese stated above..."God is disappointed and upset when things go wrong." ...SO BASICALLY, MOST OF US ARE ALWAYS MESSING UP, THEN WE WANT TO SAY "THIS IS GOD'S PLAN." WRONG, WRONG WRONG!! We need to start take responsibility for our own mistakes and actions that cost another family heartache and greef. PERIOD.
people will invoke god for anything these days
God told me to tell you that you're wrong.
Sorry, couldn't resist.
Me II, but god no doubt told you to lie.
What unbelievable bias and spin! This is lies and spin! What a ratings joke CNN has become...God help you and your sick, low, LOW! IQ lynch mob.
Loretta, yer beans done been burnin' on the stove. Best git to 'em.
Was travon Martin justified in assaulting Zimmerman? Please answer this.
Was Zimmerman supposed to takethebeating and perhaps end up dead?
Can I beat someone up for following me in a neighborhood?
Hey Rob!..send Zimm some more of your welfare cash
yes, you can ... if u follow me, and do not stop following me, u r steeping on my freedom and i will beat the crap out of you of you do not stop. Of course, since I carry a gun, you will end up dead, but that will be my self defense.
u r just a racist idliot
I'm a racist idiot on welfare....seriously, is that all you people have. Martin committed assault and it was not justified.
How about not being a total coward and defending yourself with your hands. Puss*
Rob.. If I follow you, then approach you in a unfriendly manner, your natural response is fight or flight! Just as a cat/dog,or small children. Zimmerman lost the fight that he initiated ans pulled his gun. end of story.
That's not self defense perry boy. You need education apparently. No surprise. Punk..
We have only Zimmerman's testimony that he was assaulted. Given that Zimmerman was the one stalking Martin, it seems to me that Martin was defending himself. When Zimmerman lost the upper hand in the skirmish, he pulled out his gun and shot Martin.
Zimmerman was supposed to heed the 911 representative's instruction to stop following Martin and had he done so, the skirmish would never have occurred and thus, Martin would still be alive.
No, you cannot beat someone up for following you.
when the police told him not to follow after that it wasnt self defense it was premeditated murder
Common sense, Rob. I know that's hard for you. I want you to try your very best, though. Because every time you post, the IQ of this board drops.
So, "theologians," how does that work? If god has perfect knowledge, doesn't it know what choice you will make? And if god knows what you will choose, how can it be said that there is there any choice?
It's pretty comical to watch people trying to apply "logic" to their absurd idea of god.
Just because our dimension of time is two dimensional doesn't mean God's can't be three dimensional. Can't you look at 3 dimensions without touching them or affecting them and still know what they look like?
The article does not say that God does not know what choices people are going to make. God knows what choices we are going to make. But He doesn't take away our ability to make them and He frequently does not rescue us from the results of those choices.
I.e. If a novice enters into a chess match with a master, the conclusion is foregone. But the novice still has the freedom and obligation to make any move of his or her choosing until the conclusion of the game.....
It all depends on WHAT you call God?! be more specific!
You'd think that after 2000 years god would have realized that his plan isn't working and he needs a new one. What a stupid god!
God has allowed the world to go on for so long because of His great mercy. God waits patiently for people to turn to Him. If they keep refusing, they eventually run out of chances. You should be thankful that you still have the opportunity to make your choice....
they told me to use the brain god gave me, so i did !
and now im atheist
Don't crow too loudly about it. God may decide to rearrange events in your life so you will be compelled to change your mind. It's a frightening thing to be on the wrong side of God.
Zimmerman is like his father, a sociopath! It's everyone else fault, even God for their actions. He showed no emotions, or regret, which is classic sociopath behavior. He pursued, confronted, killed! We don't have a legal system anymore, it's a legal business. His father knows how to manipulate that business, and the apple has not fallen far from that heartless tree. He will most likely get away with killing that teen, make lots of money off of it, get a reality show, along with his friend Frank, the Corn Man Taaffle, his remark on jail tape defines him "Maybe I should where a hoody," then laughing in regards to his safty leaving the jail after the bond is posted. Only a sociopath would make such a heartless comment! Water seeks it's own level, so those who spupport him are like him, maybe in a lesser degree, but our society is one of the most violant, and living in denail socities on the planet, there are more Zimmerman's then we'll ever accept of being, and that tenn did nothing you Zimmerman supporters, but fight for his life. That Coward Zimmerman wouldn't even have gotten out of his car if he didn't have a gun! He said when asked, and yes Hannity sure did surprise me with a very good question when ask "would you still be here if you didn't have a gun, " the answer "Yes sir!" Well, you say you thought your life was in danger
George, how could you say "yes sir" if you didn't have a gun. No gun, you die according to your story! Only in America this kind of heartless freak gets air-time, and his lawyer just wants donations so he gets paid!
well there was TWO people there that day, and one is dead...
But YOU know what happened !
he could very well be guilty as sin but no one knows for now... its very very easy to make a dead kid sound so innocent,
I agree with you 100% shame on society and the air time this freak gets