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."

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Catholic Church • Christianity

soundoff (1,528 Responses)
  1. ChizzWizz

    God must be really angry these days.

    July 19, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
  2. Rick

    How is he going to use the stand your ground defense O'Mara when no one believes your client!? You'd have a better chance getting Stalin off with this defense. I repeat Zimmerman has no defense available to him and needs to get a plea deal or else he's going away for at least 40 years.

    July 19, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
  3. cdgfla

    Gee, I'm shocked that he picked Faux News for his interview. It was probably part of the contract he signed with them for the funding of his legal defense. What's funny is that after he is acquitted, George will be a millionaire in less than a year from all the job offers, book deals, and speaking engagements he will get.

    July 19, 2012 at 3:07 pm |
    • Uncouth Swain

      I doubt he will be a millionaire. Chances are if he is found not guilty for 2nd degree murder here....he will probably be foud guilty in a civil court and pay out the big money.

      July 19, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
  4. bob@deism.com

    The Bible teaches nonsense that would make someone actually believe this was part of God's plan. I prefer what the Deist Elihu Palmer wrote in his book on God, Deism and religion, Principles of Nature. Palmer wrote, "Every person is accountable for themselves." Makes sense!

    Progress! Bob Johnson

    July 19, 2012 at 3:01 pm |
    • Marina

      This is a very ignorant comment. The bible is not nonsense and how do you know if Zimmerman is Christian and not muslim or some other religion? You've probably never read the bible and if so, you probably did not understand it if you think is nonsense.

      July 19, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
    • Veritas

      According to The Washington Post "Zimmerman’s family was “very Catholic...very religious,”.
      The Orlando Sentinel quoting his father "described his son as an altar boy"
      Records also show that George Zimmerman has a tattoo on his chest of a cross, with the name, “Christina.”

      Does that sound like a Muslim or some other religion?

      July 19, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
  5. cdgfla

    It always amazes me to see the same religious nutbags who renounce anything produced by science (Stem cell research, global warming, that the earth is actually round, etc.) fall back on a scientific theory and creation, i.e. psychology and a plea of Insanity when it serves their purpose instead of just ONCE asking themselves, "Is this religious crap that I believe in the actual problem?"

    Andrea Yates drowned five babies in a bathtub because she didnt want them to grow up to be "Devil Worshippers". The nut bags then came out of the wood work to rely on an "Insanity" defense. Bullsh_t. Her religious beliefs killed her children, nothing else.

    July 19, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
  6. Donald in CA

    This is the dumbest thing i ever heard. Gods plan that george murdered some one. Maybe its his gods plan that all those racist right wingers sent you that money to defend and get out of jail. Last time i checked god wasnt a racist. You should be convicted on that statement alone.

    July 19, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
    • Atone Deaf

      Yea, actual the God of the old Testie was a racist, murdering bigot. Go back and re read your bible. Its all there.

      July 19, 2012 at 3:13 pm |
  7. Jake

    It's disturbing how many of you say he's probably going for the insane plea solely because he calls it God's plan....

    July 19, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
    • sam

      Uh...it is pretty insane.

      July 19, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
    • ME II

      Are you suggesting that God told him to kill Martin?

      July 19, 2012 at 3:01 pm |
    • cdgfla

      Its insane because its the ultimate cop out by you religious people to explain your evil actions and the real world things that occur that don't comport with your religion. Literally nothing makes me happier than reading about a church collapsing and killing a hundred or so sychophants during a service. God's plan huh? Worship a diety capable of producing a George Zimmerman and slaughtering his believers wholesale? Never. That is the definition of insanity.

      July 19, 2012 at 3:02 pm |
    • Jake

      @sam, believer or not, christians say it all the time. As a christian, I'm not one to claim things are "god's plan"- not my thing-, and I said in an earlier post it WAS a poor choice of words to gain approval, but It's just how some people think..

      July 19, 2012 at 3:02 pm |
    • Jake

      @Me II. not at all. again I'll say I thought it was NOT the best choice of words if he wants a "following" of people supporting him, but I simply UNDERSTAND people who use that phrase.

      July 19, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
  8. Jake

    Poorly worded as "God's Plan". He calls it God's Plan after being asked if he would change anything. God's PLan may not be the best way to explain it especially when everyone seems to hate him, but really, if you were about to die, would you change pulling the trigger "in retrospect"???

    You don't go saying "God's Plan" when a huge portion of the nation thinks you're guilty.

    i believe him though.

    July 19, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
    • Ernest

      Jake... Why don't you quit while you're behind...

      July 19, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
    • Jake

      @ernest .. you don't get this debate thing do you?

      July 19, 2012 at 7:19 pm |
    • theresa

      why are you saying, the nation hate him ? just because people wanted him helded/arrested in jail, don't mean people hate him. i for one wanted him held/arreated becauses, i had never known of a preson to killing another and not be held/arrested, to get pro and cons of the situation . the amount of time they held him don't equal to a dead person, an unarmed dead person. you don't do that and just walk away, with no other questions asked.i don't think anyone in their right mind and stand for right could see that either. suppose that was your relative. i think that is what the nation was asking for . the family wanted more than what they were getting . i know if it was my child, i would want more than the martins' were getting. hate, is a very strong word and people need to watch how they use that word .
      HATE( HATIING )will take you to hell. people are so quick to give their opinion , advice or express their thoughts. thats well and good. but before i do that, i try walking in the other person's shoes. so many days i have tried walking in the martains shoes for i have children. i couldn't , i tried. i hurt so much for them. no, i don't think nation hate him,i think that's a mistake.

      July 22, 2012 at 7:07 am |
  9. Not buying it

    I think he is trying to go for an insanity plea. I can't believe he is in any way serious about that, but if he plays dumb enough, maybe he won't get the death penalty. It really sucks how God gets blamed for everything that every psycho does out there.

    July 19, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
    • Dismantle ALEC's legislation

      He should be found guilty of some crime, in my opinion, but whether he will does seem to be a gray area because it may not be easy to prove he wasn't standing his ground as defined by the NRA-provided (indirectly via ALEC) law in Florida.
      Let's hope that the law is repealed.

      July 19, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
    • Lindabp

      He is an arrogant dumb.

      July 24, 2012 at 6:24 pm |
  10. K-switch

    Maybe Zimmerman thought Treyvon was medical professional that performs abortions.

    July 19, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
  11. Phil

    The American form(s) of Christianity has changed. We know from Pew polling that more religious Americans tend to favor torture more than the non-religious. Jesus told Bachman, Perry, and Cain to run for President and he also advised Huckabee not to. Jesus spoke to Pat Robertson and let him know who was going to win the election but also said he wasn't supposed to let us know the result. The GOP has become God's Own Party. We should have known that when Falwell and Robertson told us that the ACLU, lesbians, and feminists were responsible for 9-11.

    Of course it was god's plan to have Mr. Zimmerman track, shoot and kill that young man. This is American 2012.

    July 19, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
  12. MichaelJCaboose

    This is the sickest thing I heard since that guy in Norway's trial.

    July 19, 2012 at 1:54 pm |
  13. Junior

    It is God's plan for Zimmerman to shoot Martin: To reveal how wicked Zimmerman is and be a recipient of His wrath.

    July 19, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
    • Answer

      Definitely god's plan that involves you also in this three ring circus of approval.

      God has given unto us atheists, a deep rich laugh, at your hilarious assertion of your god's will by having a religious nut-job plead scientific insanity.

      July 19, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
  14. Paul Tayor

    Trayvon Martin went to the store to get some a bag of skittles. On the way home he noticed a man in a car was stalking him. Seeing that the man stalking him was bald Trayvon immediately thought of the Aryan brotherhood and was scared and speeded up his pace. The stalker also speeded up his pace. Trayvon knowing that he couldn't out run a car and afraid of getting ran over to stand his ground. The man in the car jumped out of the car and tried to grab the bag that Trayvon was carrying. Trayvon scared shirtless and afraid the man had a gun immediately attacked the man and knocked him to the ground and started pounding his head on the pavement. The stalker managed to pull out his gun and managed to shoot Trayvon in the heart.
    It was not God's plan for Zimmerman to kill Trayvon anymore than it was God's plan for Zimmerman to molest his cousin, or God's plan for Zimmerman to lie to the judge about the amount of money that he had or God's plan to lie about the numerous passports Zimmerman had. Zimmerman is obviously a criminal parading as a police officer.
    Now Zimmerman is playing the God card and it seems to be working with the theological and political nitwits this nation abounds in.

    July 19, 2012 at 1:30 pm |
    • EagleEye2

      Yeay, let's hear it for the stalker. One less thug to worry about. GZ is a hero and you are a zero.

      July 19, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
    • Hunter

      NO, Eagle Eye2, YOU are the zero, in fact less than zero. You are obviously a racist if you automatically jump to the conclusion that this 17 year old KID was a thug in any way or that a man who MURDERED a child is some kind of hero. I can't stand you people who come on these blogs and spout a bunch of lies and show your obvious idiocy!! Go back under the rock you came from.

      July 19, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
    • Bert

      Everything that happens is according to god's plan. Therefore this must have been.
      You don't get to pick and choose what is and isn't his plan – if god wanted martin to live then he would still be alive.
      Trayvon's parents should thank George for carrying out god's plan – it's not their place to question it.

      July 19, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
    • luvtucson

      Very well and clearly stated Paul Taylor.

      July 19, 2012 at 11:39 pm |
  15. Answer

    Now that's a story. The religious losers that do murder wants to escape justice by using a scientific evaluation of insanity. I love their moral defense.

    July 19, 2012 at 1:07 pm |
    • sam stone

      It's not like this is the first time someone has used god to justify some heinous act

      July 19, 2012 at 1:20 pm |
    • Answer

      @sam stone

      Yep. Certainly not the first time.

      Zimmerman is now another number to the statistic of a religious person who is about to end up in jail.

      July 19, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
  16. Speak1_2000

    @Cant Stop Laughing
    I am a bit embarrassed at some of the anger shown in the responses from my fellow believers (Yes I am a Christian) Now that that is out of the way, I agree with you on the fact that he went to the nut cases of the right wing that are still racist and definitely to those who want a "racial war". He will still be tried and hopefully convicted and sentenced. While we all get on with our lives. I am still shaking my head at his comments though. (just looked over the typos in my last posting...my apologies)

    July 19, 2012 at 12:40 pm |
  17. horus was plagairized

    Imaginary friends are for children....interesting the dueling gawds contradiction but then the bable is filled with them so what else is new?? wonder which of the 3870 gawds man has created since achieving consciousness these folks chose as thiers...just goes to show that man will attatch his own ideas to gawds and then use it to deny the rights of others...just think if zimmerman was indoctrinated in Iran he might of blown himself up already!!!

    July 19, 2012 at 12:36 pm |
    • what's a brony?

      I wonder how many atheists relay on faith and can admit it.

      July 19, 2012 at 12:39 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      I think you mean "rely," brony. I am an atheist, and I rely on faith, but not for what you think or in the way you think.

      I am happy to relay this information to you. 🙂

      July 19, 2012 at 12:53 pm |
    • what's a brony?

      Ooops sorry I just noticed that.

      You are human.You aren't above faith.

      July 19, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
    • K-switch

      Most of the time, I have faith that when I sit on a chair it won't break. But sometimes chairs do break even though I had faith it wouldn't. But sometimes I look at the chair and I don't have faith it will support me. And if I so decided to, I can scientifically verify if said chair can support me.

      July 19, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
    • rAmen

      clearly define "faith", then I'll tell you if i have it or not

      July 19, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
    • Answer

      "You are human.You aren't above faith."

      Ahh my love for the inane rantings of the religious tard..

      "My version of faith is what I have.. it is not what you have. It is not what you can define. It is what I tell you is the version that is the correct version."

      "So what is the correct version of faith?" "It is my version"... "So then your faith is the better one..?" "Yes".

      The rantings of the elitist tripe.

      July 19, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
  18. Speak1_2000

    This guy must think he can get away with the crime to begin spouting about "God's Will." He is as bad as those who did not know God and yet killed masses in his name during the Crusades...he would have been perfect for that era. However, in OUR time, it is still a crime and shout be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law especially since he lied to the court on several occasions and now he is changing his story yet again.
    He now says he did not follow / pursue him? That is on the 911 recording that he did-disregarding the dispatcher (Police officer) not to. He is trying for the insanity defense

    July 19, 2012 at 12:30 pm |
  19. just sayin

    Hello! And welcome to the HeavenSent blog. This is YOUR opportunity to voice your HeavenSent opinions!

    Please frame your posts to best preach to Atheists about the dangers of a Godless life-style.

    Here are some suggested key words to get you started:

    Jesus’ letter, the Bible
    God’s truth
    Jesus’ truth
    The truth
    Holy Men Scribes
    Fat drippings
    Personal worms
    Satan is death
    Your father Satan
    You atheists
    Smug atheists
    Prayer really works
    Lies, lies, lies
    Enemy of Jesus

    And much, much more!

    Enjoy your stay, and remember….Muslims, Jews and Atheists need not apply!


    July 19, 2012 at 12:20 pm |
    • zometimer

      meat on a stick!

      July 19, 2012 at 6:41 pm |
  20. Cant Stop Laughing

    OMG...this is possibly one of the STUPIDEST threads I have ever read! LOL The uneducated screaming about how the "atheists" will believe that Zimmerman believes his own bull...blah blah blah. ARE YOU KIDDING ME??? LMAO Let me explain...MOST Atheists ARE so because of a high level of education. THEREFORE, we (and yes, I am Atheist) can CERTAINLY differentiate between someone who is actually delusional enough to believe that "god made him do it" or "its god's plan" and those who say that kind of stuff as a ruse or diversionary tactic. Seriously people...this is from an interview with the utterly moronic Sean Hannity. Zimmerman was CLEARLY pandering to the Conservative RIght WingNuts!!! Those are 'his people'...and THAT is the strategy at play here....ACT like he is just a god-fearing Christian and all the WingNut "sheeple" will believe his bull. There is a REASON his first interview in of FOX "News"!!! OMG...I'm still laughing at the supposed "christians on here. You people are so phony it's ridiculous. IF you really believed in the tennents of Jesus Christ...you wouldn't spew such hatred all the time! LMAO...

    July 19, 2012 at 12:11 pm |
    • what's a brony?

      If atheism can cure mankind..Many atheists proves it cannot save us.

      July 19, 2012 at 12:36 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      English, please, troll.

      July 19, 2012 at 12:38 pm |
    • what's a brony?

      Non-belief has not saved mankind.

      Atheists want to believe it.Its kinda like a fairy-tale.

      July 19, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
    • Speak1_2000

      I hope Zimmerman gets much Thorazine as he talks to what ever it was (in his head) and whatever plan he was "given" to shoot the young Martin. He sounds like a Crusader-in the wrong era. At least, he is consistenly delusional.

      July 19, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Try again, bro.

      July 19, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
    • Moby Schtick


      1. Mankind is not "savable" to be saved or not saved.
      2. Nobody has claimed that "non belief" can "saved" mankind.
      3. Non belief is something a person does NOT do, not something they do.

      It's like you're implying that nonstamp collectors claimed that non stamp collecting would do something and then it didn't happen. You're not even making enough sense to have a coherent claim that isn't even wrong.

      July 19, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Sady the set of coherent thinkers and our little brony are independent.

      July 19, 2012 at 1:09 pm |
    • what's a brony?

      "ban religion".

      Many atheists desire that world as they think it will cure all the evil in the world.

      Care to explain why many want that world?

      See a real fairy-tale with a happy "ending".

      July 19, 2012 at 1:11 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      "Many"? How many? Can you name them? Point out their posts?

      July 19, 2012 at 1:12 pm |
    • Athiests For Freedom Of and From Religion

      Brony, what is this notion of saving mankind you raise? Why does mankind need to be saved? And saved from what?

      July 19, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
    • what's a brony?

      Shove it loser.

      July 19, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      How "Christian" of you, Bro-L.

      July 19, 2012 at 1:20 pm |
    • what's a brony?

      How "atheist" and "loving" of you loser.

      July 19, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
    • Leo

      Tom, are you admitting that Christians have better standards than you?

      You post like that all day??

      July 19, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
    • *

      Athiests For Freedom Of and From Religion,

      * should be spelled, 'Atheists'

      July 19, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Oh, don't be mad, bro. I'm just trying to help you.

      July 19, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Nah, Leo. Or at least not the "Christians" on here.

      July 19, 2012 at 1:23 pm |
    • Athiests For Freedom Of and From Religion


      July 19, 2012 at 1:24 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV


      ... got cogency?

      July 19, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
    • what's a brony?

      Its ok bro.The truth is hard to accept bro.

      July 19, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      There was truth here? Where?

      July 19, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Apparently not today.

      July 19, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
    • what's a brony?

      Bro please.

      July 19, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
    • bro please

      Tom is a troll or so it seems.

      July 19, 2012 at 2:03 pm |
    • Missfitz69

      It's all true and the invisible sky wizzard also told Hitler, Pol Pot and Stalin the same darn thing!!!

      July 19, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
    • Hunter

      You are absolutely right, Can'tStopLaughing! I can't laugh at this though because it's too sick and sad that people actually believe anything that comes from Fox, and believe a murderer's claim that it was God's will. Like someone else said on here, it reminds me of the murderer that killed kids in Norway.

      July 19, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      So ... we observe the metamorphasis of 'what's a brony' to 'bro please'.

      We wonder what's a 'bro please'?

      July 19, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
    • Ghandi

      I like your Christ
      I do not like your Christians
      They are so unlike your Christ

      July 19, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
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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.