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.
CNN's Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the big stories
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.
To believe in God is to believe in the good in others, that is what Jesus taught. Mr. Zimmerman, where was your belief?
Believe in the goodness of a thug bashing your head in.
@Davy Jones – why do you use the word "thug" to describe Trayon Martin? Did you know him? Or, is it because his skin was darker than yours?
Davy's apparently bored and looking for attention.
G-od's plan? This is why atheists and other doubters exist. So G-od wanted a young man to be shot in the head? There are people that believe this crap. Unbelievable!
This WAS NOT God's plan. It is in=mmerman trying to justify what he did.
I kinda agree with you but I think most atheists exist becasue they have never had a spiritual experience. ard to believe in something you have never seen, felt, experienced.
Oh, bullish!t. Most atheists were brought up in some sort of faith.
@TC What you just described is reality. Forget Christianity look at Islam. In Syria the leaders have been killing their people. Treating the Syrian people like a pinata. Has anyone seen, felt or experienced Allah during this time? No because he doesn't exist. Period. If Allah doesn't show up now, when will he?
"God" is made up
Especially when he's in drag.
@grumpy: and then he's FABULOUS.
agreed. and "Zee-Man" is just another religious nut
Only as made up as your own beliefs.
I wonder if he will think it's God's plan when he is in prison doing time for the murder of Trayvon Martin
Based on his thought process he probably will.
and the other inmates start to call him "Bertha"
The final outcome... Trayvin Mertin kills Zimmerman or Zim kills Trey, certainly must be at the will of God...
I wonder exactly which God the father, Tracy Martin, prays to. Every time he speaks in public, he gets more hateful and vengeance seeking... the god that brings that about... hatred and revenge... is the god with horns, a red suit and a pointy tail.
Davy Jones your brain must be in a locker. the Man's son was shot and killed for no reason and you expect him to be happy?
the old testament dude, I mean, god, I mean, unicorn...
I guess Zimmerman doesn't believe in free will.
Remember, white folks. If a wild boogie jumps out of the bushes and starts attacking you, just lie there and take it. Don't try to defend yourself or you'll wind up like George Zimmerman. In today's America, boogies have every right to attack white people. And anyone who complains about that is just a bigot.
Well you gave a pretty good example of bigotry for people to follow.
Amen, bro. To defend your life from a feral chimp is racist, and all that do so should be forced to life in prison 😉 White people need to learn to love diversity, no matter how many black-on-white murders occur because of it LOL
Nope in my state we defend ourselves from boogies. It would be justified.
I've never had a boogie jump out of anything at me. Must be because I don't go around profiling and stalking people.
It's not a question of Boogies, WetDogSmell or PorkSkin, regardless of race it is wrong and this discussion by JailtheBoogies shows how much hatred and racial junk people like you espouse. Shame on you Punk.
Don't you mean:
If while stalking a wild boogie it jumps out of the bushes and starts attacking you ..
we, whites, probably deserve it...
Klansman alert folks!
@Electroguy just shut up and crawl back to the mental asylum you just got relaesed from and stop making references to a God you know nothing about. You have so much hatred in you that you can not see reason.
It appears you have as much hatred as him.
I know a lot about your god. He's a hypocrite and a murderer.
Please elaborate? And how can you know murder is wrong without the God of scripture?
Elaborate? There's an entire book of elaboration. A book of God killing time after time. Examples being when he ordered Moses and the Israelites to kill all the Midianite males and when he drowned every man, woman, child and fetus on the planet except for Noah and his incestuous family. Oh, that's right. You don't think there can be right or wrong unless it's determined by God. So, if you believed there was no God, you would brazenly punt kittens and kill children.
Yes, all of those things happened and all of those people were served Justice according to the law of God. It was only by God's mercy that Noah and the people God chose to show favor did not receive the same. That was not murder, it was justice. Justice we all deserve, for the wages of sin is death.
Your last sentence doesn't even address the question I raised and didn't even suggest that a non-believer can't act morally. Once again, you judge God a murderer, but how can you know what murder is and even if it is wrong?
CNN fails to mention that Martin was bashing-in Zimmerman's skull at the time of the shooting. It wasn't like Zimmerman accosted the kid and shot him execution style, Martin was trying to kill him.....
Yeah, sure. He wasn't fallowing him...lol!
The chicken s–t got nothing more than booboos NOT AT ALL life threatening!
This was an avoidable tragedy, which Zimmerman instigated!
Exactly. the funny thing is that Zimmerman was a liberal. See what happens to you liberals! Eventually they come for you also.
Jerome, if someone followed you and then attacked you, you wouldn't fight back? My god, what did you expect Trayvon to do? Zimmerman is a sicko and people who defend him are as well.
Yes, the self defence of an armed man who picked a fight with an unarmed teenager and was losing.
None of us were there. Guilt and innocence are not cut and dried. Our standard is innocent until proven guilty. He killed someone and his deeds need to be interpreted by a jury of his peers. Let this play out in court where it should be.
Wow, Jerome, that's crazy! You must have solved the whole mystery.
Um...all Zimmerman had to do was stay in the car, not get out and swagger around like a tough guy. He was the intial aggressor.
Jerome, what had Martin done? What crime had he committed? Had he done anything wrong that caused Ziimmerman to follow him?
There is noevidence that martin was bashing zimms head into the ground. That's zimms version.
@Tom, Tom – walking while black was his crime.
Apparently, K. I'd just like to see Wavy Davy Gravy admit it. But of course, he's a troll.
And, if Zimmerman was having his skull "bashed in", why did he refuse medical treatment by EMS?
Mel. What does being a liberal have to do with this? Did your brain slip out of your ear?
but you also fail to mention the fact the 911 operator also told him not to follow him. In my opinion, he should not have followed hi and he brought the entire confrontation on himself. If someone was bashing my head into the ground, yes, I would defend myself. I don't have it in me to shoot someone though. That is just me and this is just my opinion. I feel bad for the people who are so racist out there. Racism is ignorance taught by other ignorant people. I feel bad for all of you. I hope you one day wake up and realize we are all the same no matter what color our skin.
Zimmerman needs to tighten his story. If I kill an unjust aggressor, who is in the process of doing bodily harm to me so as to peril my life, I offer absolutely no apology. "God" has nothing to do with my right to defend myself. Zimmerman's words sound like "a pile of bovine excrement". In my opinion, he should show no remorse if he's innocent. Is he?
Very true. If he did the right thing and was protecting his life. Then there is no need to appologise. One does not need to appologise for defending ones life from an ongoing attack.
Sounds like some part of him realizes that he provoked the attack.
He would need to get his stories to match, to begin with!
And he didn't know what the SYG law was, prior to this killing? Really???
Loved his interview, the prosecution has months to tear it apart!...just loved it!
How can Tracy Martin believe in God and deny that Trayvon's death was part of God's plan?
Because delusional people that think there is a god are partially insane. There is no god and there is no plan, fool.
Prove there's no God, fool.......because we've already proven that there is 🙂
Exactly how STUPID are you? This is about HIS KILLERS comment! Who in hell does this piece of crap think he is!
He sounds as stupid as you!
No you didn't, Jer(k)ome... you're full of crap. Give us links to the proof (Links to theme parks don't count)
If she believed in God, she would accept his apology.
Jerome, I must have missed something. Please run that proof by me again to convince me. From my perspective, Tryvon is in the ground rotting away, not in some fairy tale heaven or hell. When Z dies it will be the same thing, he will not burn in hell. He will rot in the ground.
Jerome: What proof would you have?? Please don't make a claim and then not cite references to back you...you only sound delusional.
Maybe something bad happened to this guy while he was serving as altar boy.
Religion (man made) is the root of all evil. But religion has to exist, otherwise there is no way to profit from God. For that reason, churches should be taxed for the businesses they are. Everybody wins (except the believers).
I'm in the wrong business. Wanna partner up to start a church? LOL
Agreement. Tax the feckers.
Tax the Churches, they are nothing but conartists peddiling lies for money anyways.
@Defy – Not an impossible idea. I know several people/couples doing this just for the tax dodge. It's a very doable scam because it's religion and the gov is reluctant to question the motives (unless they're obvious).
Russel: If Hubbard could form such a ridiculous religion as Scientology, I'm certain a more reasonable one could be formed...people are gullible, they'll believe anything.
It was Trays plan before he came into this life.
"it's all part of god's plan/the lord works in mysterious ways" until it's a touchy controversial subject then all of a sudden they pull the "free will" copout card where god is a non-interventionist. Well which is it christians? Do we have free will or are we just pawns of God with the illusion of having free will that already knows what we do before we do it??? It can't be both.
WE HAVE FREE WILL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
BIG RON: you sound like you where an I witness.. SMH I wounder if it was your child..how would you Feel # something to think about
amazing.. Just as the pope said he'd pray for victims of sodomy.. yet he was responsible for orchestrating the cover ups with his letters to the bishops directing them to do what ever is needed to hide the crimes.
This was not God's fault. Do not blame God on this. Zimmerman was supposedly a mature man when he got the gun. Maybe it was his father's fault for pushing him to take up the security position. No it was not God's fault nor the father's fault. Zimmerman be a man and accept the verdict.
It is hard for it to be Gods fault when there is no God.
Yahweh and Allah are fairytales created by ancient mental neandrathals who understood only a small fraction of what we know of the natural world today. That people choose to place the basis of their belief system on ancient ignorance is rediculous. Yahweh and Allah are lies just as Zues, Ra, Vishnu, Thor, Damara, those carbon frozen dudes dropped into volcanos from alien B52 spacecraft and the Flying Spaghetti Monster are all lies.
I hope each and every liberal faces the same fate of being held down with their head being bashed into the cement and see what their reaction would be...
That's very christian of you.
And while I would not stoop to hoping that you and each and every other conservative have your son killed and then listen to the killer claim he was in mortal danger, it would certainly be an educational experience for you.
Indeed you are a sick, warpped and demented person. First of all what does this have to do with Liberals and secondly why the wish. Indeed it is idiots like you who give a bad wrap to conservatives like me. Being a conservative does not mean I am not human or lack common sense. People like you give us a bad rap and make us seem like we just landed from a distant planet. What hate do you spew? Pray that what you wish does not befall you and your in-bred few.
It's not a liberal trait to racially profile people and follow them when told not to. They're smarter and know to employ professional law enforcement that is funded by their tax dollars.
Liberal are not usually stalkers......
What an arrogant jerk. To even bring religion into it. Well if's he not convicted and is killed by someone down the road. Guess that was God's plan to. And I life in Florida with jerks like this!
I wish it were God's plan for you to shut up...
No, electro, it's god's plan for you to eat your heart out because we live in a free society.