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. Dave

    Sounds like u don't know the facts

    July 20, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
  2. Dave

    He simply said that it was part of gods plan for him. I have no problem with that. Was he supposed to lay there and let him beat on him? Give me a break.

    July 20, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      Let's look at the facts:
      a) Zimmerman called 9-1-1 and was told not to follow the kid...he did not obey this.
      b) Zimmerman specifically stated that the boy was wearing a hoodie.
      c) Zimmerman had the gun
      d) Trayvon was doing nothing wrong when he was being stalked by Zimmerman...he was simply walking home carryign a bottle of iced tea and a bag of skittles.
      Trayvon is not alive to give his side of the story and naturally Zimmerman is going to pull the 'he started it' crap-Zimmerman is facing jail time and he realizes this...he's a dumba$$ but not that much of one.
      As for the 'god made me do it' crap...he can use it but fortunately the court system will laugh in his face. It is not a defense. If he attempts that they could very well lock him up indefinitely in an asylum for the religious psychosis he is obviously suffering.
      No-one know with 100% certainty what happened that night...one one person is available to give the story and that person is the one facing charges....of course he's going to spin it...we already know Zimmerman and his wife are dishonest (she's facing perjury charges).

      July 20, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
    • Mass Debater

      He must have had the 9-1-1 operator in one ear and God in the other so when they told him to stay where he was and to not pursue, God must have been in the other ear saying "Come on George, you got your piece in your pocket, whats the worst that could happen? Now let's go get that nlqqer!"...

      July 20, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
  3. Pete

    Wow,the religious wackoes are out in force ,time for me to don my tin foil hat and hide!!!Ta ta!!!

    July 20, 2012 at 1:09 pm |
  4. Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

    I am a troll.Ignore all my posts.

    July 20, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      What, even yours?

      July 20, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
  5. Naimka

    This lying POS invokes God's name?? What did God have to do with GZ's ill-advised idea to be a "hero" and follow, stalk, chase and harass this kid who was doing nothing wrong and minding his own business? Seems like this is GZ's doing, not God's.

    July 20, 2012 at 12:42 pm |
    • Dave

      Really? I didn't know u were there! Typical

      July 20, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      Dave: Were you?

      July 20, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
  6. doomsdayZen

    Seems more like an example of *not* following God's plan. If you follow God's plan for you, you don't end up in a situation where you kill and unarmed kid. Seems more like he followed his own plan and now he's in a heap of trouble. Maybe he should start living the Word instead of making foolish statements about it.

    July 20, 2012 at 12:06 pm |
  7. 007isalive

    @ who invited me
    So the young father who is not present at the bedside of his wife during the delivery,doesn't know, how his boy came out,from where he came out and why he came out !

    July 20, 2012 at 11:51 am |
    • Who invited me?

      Are youtrying to tell me that you KNOW what happened, by using some strange analogy, that does not correlate.

      Best leave the case in the hands of the jury...that is how America handles it.
      There is no argument here,
      there is only you out for blood , that you cannot be SURE is owed.

      July 20, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
  8. Hypatia

    Without resorting to idiotic hyperbole, did it ever occur to anyone that this is a ploy to poison the jury pool?

    July 20, 2012 at 11:38 am |
    • ME II

      Entirely possible, however, it seems to me that if this were a legal ploy it would be better executed. I'm guessing that he isn't listening to his defense attorneys, as they usually tell them not to talk to the press. He seems to be losing whatever credibility he had, rather quickly.

      July 20, 2012 at 11:57 am |
    • Dean

      All he needs is one other person who also wants to blame God for the awful things hat they do and he gets a hung jury.

      July 20, 2012 at 12:00 pm |
    • ME II

      "...who also wants to blame God for the awful things hat they do..."
      Don't people like this generally just want to blame others and include god incidentally? Not sure that would help Zimmerman if a jury member wants to blame others.

      July 20, 2012 at 12:03 pm |
    • Cq

      ME II
      He appears to be mainly interested in cashing in on his notoriety, so maybe he views this as something similar to God sending him a winning lottery ticket?

      July 20, 2012 at 12:29 pm |
    • ME II

      Hadn't thought of that. Maybe you're on to something.

      July 20, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      Maybe, he's realizing that he stands little chance of getting off and by saying this he'll be convicted of suffering from religious psychosis and be granted an insanity defense where he'll at least get time in an asylum and not in amongst people who want his a$$. I guess we'll never really know his reasoning.

      July 20, 2012 at 1:16 pm |
  9. mac


    July 20, 2012 at 11:20 am |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      Fairy tales can come true, it can happen to you if your mind is weak. (no need to read that verse, it won't be helping anyone)

      July 20, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
  10. Bob

    Warning Warning Atheist united on this post!!! dont worry about anything they Post. They will tell you God kills is a slave driver is merciless and yet He lets these pimples on the butt of society live NOW THATS MERCY, thats the best exaple I can give of Gods loving nature

    July 20, 2012 at 11:06 am |
    • Who invited me?

      now that's the hate I've come to expect from a "christian"...way to go Bob!

      July 20, 2012 at 11:08 am |
    • Bob

      Thank you I needed that

      July 20, 2012 at 11:29 am |
    • Bob

      If any atheist was nice to me I wouldn't think that I was doing my job

      July 20, 2012 at 11:33 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      What "job"? Did your Christ tell you to sit on your rump all day typing on a computer?

      July 20, 2012 at 11:35 am |

      Bob is trolling. Ignore.

      July 20, 2012 at 11:59 am |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      Bob is not capable of thinking for himself...he didn't make it past third grade.

      July 20, 2012 at 1:20 pm |
    • Bob

      TruthPrevails 🙂
      Hey I at least can get the smiley to appear so that means if I made 2nd you didn't make kindergarten?

      July 20, 2012 at 1:30 pm |
    • Mass Debater

      bob – atheists "They will tell you God kills"

      This must be akin to a holocaust denier telling you how hot the nazi ovens must have been...

      July 20, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      Hey Dolt: The smiley doesn't appear in the name field, only in the comment field (try putting it beside your own name to maybe grasp this). You still have not provided any evidence for your imaginary friend...we'll be waiting. You made some comment about Atheists being on here but yet you are too...so once again you look like a typical christard hypocrite...your imaginary friend friend disposes of hypocrites to your other imaginary friend...enjoy!

      July 20, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
  11. Señorita Rita

    I repeating thst God's plan & will says: "Thou shall not kill!". SMH

    July 20, 2012 at 10:20 am |
  12. 007isalive

    @Who invited me?
    Are you anybody from zimmerman worshippers?And by the way what are you doing with all those volunteer judges of zimmerman who are advocating him in his crime ,free of cost.

    July 20, 2012 at 9:33 am |
    • Who invited me?

      I am an american where we advocate innocent until proven guilty.
      You are not on the jury, are not sitting in the courtroom to hear the testimony, and were not a witness to the incident.
      You sound like a vigilante who, if he is found innocent, will want to exact your own justice....That is as un-american as it gets.

      July 20, 2012 at 9:38 am |
    • barbraS

      @whoinvitedme....real Americans show respect to the country by capitalizing its name and its inhabitants.

      July 20, 2012 at 11:53 am |
  13. 007isalive

    You all are now put of track .This article is about trayvone and zimmerma, not for expertise of the bible, so put your byebye bell aside and talk about the case about the insult zimmerman alleged the God involving him in his brutal act,that killed an innocent boy, not a thug.If he was a thug why he was out of jail? by the way when did jesus come to zimmerman's home to tell his plan? or is he having a prophecy?This man must not go unpunished. or he will kill more innocents.

    July 20, 2012 at 9:21 am |
    • Who invited me?

      so which are you...the judge , jury or the executioner?

      July 20, 2012 at 9:23 am |
  14. Trayvon was a brave boy

    I just found this in the King James version of the bible:

    "There she lusted after her lovers, whose genitals were like those of donkeys and whose emission was like that of horses." – Ezekiel 23:20

    So this is saying that some woman likes donkey ding a ling? One of you christians please explain this.

    July 20, 2012 at 8:49 am |
    • Ting

      It means she likes a man hung like a donkey. The author of this book of the Bible would not have a problem with hotel po rn.

      July 20, 2012 at 8:57 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      And later in Ezekile 23:35 – Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says: Since you have forgotten me and turned your back on me, you must bear the consequences of your lewdness and prostiution.”

      See it's always a good idea to read a little further.

      July 20, 2012 at 11:19 am |
    • Hypatia

      So the guys who wrote that tripe were pervs. What else is new?

      July 20, 2012 at 11:22 am |
  15. Bob

    A good part of these blogs should be call faith flogs because that is all they are. A excuse to flog someones beliefs and most of what is said is false. If you really knew the Bible and God you wouldn't even write a blog like this and this is the Faith co editor. I guess there wasn't anyone else available for the job.

    July 20, 2012 at 7:41 am |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      Isn't that the amazing thing...no-one knows the buybull or god!!! To claim you do is to lie. You have provide the evidence that the stories in the buybull are accurate and provide the evidence that your god existed/exists. This is a belief blog because it touches on more than just the christard brand of delusions. Faith is what you have and to define that properly, it is belief without evidence. So while you may not give a damn that what you believe is based on facts and evidence in this world, we do care that what we believe is verifiable.

      July 20, 2012 at 8:18 am |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      "You have provide" should have read "You have to"

      July 20, 2012 at 8:19 am |
    • Who invited me?

      So Bob
      Give away your computer and all your other posessions like you Bible and your Jesus told you to...why do you own a computer Bob...not living the faith is why.

      July 20, 2012 at 8:39 am |
    • Bob

      Who invited me?
      Actually the people that God blessed were very wealthy actually, I love guys who dont read the Bible

      July 20, 2012 at 10:00 am |
    • Who invited me?

      Luke 12:22-34
      You can change the meaning to suit your needs all you want bob.
      Reading the bible and thinking it leads to enlightenment or salvation is a fools quest.
      I know it to be the work of fiction that it is.

      July 20, 2012 at 10:06 am |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      Bob: God is man made and until you have evidence based on actual facts outside of your buybull, your claim that god blessed anything fails. Only children and schizophrenics have imaginary friends...given that you're not likely a child, it is safe to say you suffer from some form of mental illness.

      July 20, 2012 at 10:09 am |
    • Bob

      TruthPrevails 🙂
      If you are blind to the truth of the Bible then there is virtually nothing that I am going to say that is going to change your mind. Its really funny that your the one who is delusional and yet calling me the same Its the old case of the blind trying to lead

      July 20, 2012 at 10:18 am |
    • Rynomite

      So Bob, you don't believe there is value in discussing and defending your faith? At the very least I would think that questions posed by atheists would force you to greater knowledge of your own relegion. Granted, sometimes CNN's internet chat boards can be a bit mocking, but there is also good discussion here.

      July 20, 2012 at 10:21 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      If you don't like it here, Bob, there are thousands of other forums. I'm sure one of them will be more to your taste, perhaps one where you can post by yourself, to yourself.

      July 20, 2012 at 10:23 am |
    • Who invited me?

      wassa matter bob
      Don't like it when the bible is used by an atheist to bolster their arguement.
      My point was that according to the passage that I read, MY interpretation is that true wealth is not in possessions, and possessions do not make you a christian.
      Cast your bread upon the waters Bob.
      Now YOU likely interpret it differently because you covet your possessions... so which form of truth are we going with today?

      July 20, 2012 at 10:31 am |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      Bob: Delusional? I'm not the one believing in something that has NEVER been proven with any form of evidence to exist. I'm not the one blinded by the fact that the buybull has no verifiable evidence in it. I'm not the one foolish enough to think that there is anything more to this existence. I've read your book of fairy tales, just as most Atheists have and through reason, logic and accepting the evidence and facts that are based on peer reviewed studies have come to the conclusion that any belief in a deity is just the lazy mans way out. If you're so sure of your god, then please give an accurate description of it. In the christard brain it is believed that everything requires a creator, so please tell us who created your god. It is you who is too lazy to pay attention to the truth and it is you who is too lazy to use your brain to understand that your god is a man-made mechanism used for the control of people. So calling me delusional is like the pot calling the kettle black. You're a hypocrite and from what I recall your god sends hypocrites and those who judge to the imaginary place called hell...enjoy it there. I'm sure you'll be in good company or NOT (just a rotting bundle of bones 6 feet under with not way to ever verify if you were right or wrong and thus once again your claim fails 🙂 )!

      July 20, 2012 at 10:40 am |
    • Dodney Rangerfield

      Did you hear the one about the Canadian that minded its own F'n business?

      July 20, 2012 at 10:42 am |
    • Dodney Rangerfield

      You won't. The ass hole can't help itself from butting in on every topic everywhere as if their opinion were needed or wanted.

      July 20, 2012 at 10:44 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Did you hear the one about the troll who was a one-trick pony?

      You won't. He got so old and dull he's now dog food.

      July 20, 2012 at 10:48 am |
    • pervert alert

      better to follow wisdom than the bull sh it of some qu eer bait nursery rhyme character. Qu eers the people that brought AIDS into our neighborhoods.

      July 20, 2012 at 10:55 am |
    • Bob

      Wow its a atheist convention today, dont you guys have anything better to do than pester people. Go read Hawkins or something maybe you can all enjoy your religion together and sing Kumbaya while you contemplate the nothingness of life

      July 20, 2012 at 10:56 am |
    • YeahRight

      "Qu eers the people that brought AIDS into our neighborhoods."

      Typical prejudice stupidity from this bigot. The fact that you are clueless about AIDS shows the world how dumb you are.

      July 20, 2012 at 10:56 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      What 'wisdom'? Oh, you mean "whizz dumb"! There, I fixed it for you.

      July 20, 2012 at 10:56 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Why don't you follow your own advice, Boob? If you don't like it here, there are thousands of other places you can go. Or maybe you could actually get off your fat azz and go DO something for people who need your help: the hungry, lonely, homeless, and sick.

      But that would mean you'd actually have to live your beliefs, wouldn't it, instead of just jawing about them as if they made you superior to others?

      July 20, 2012 at 10:59 am |
    • pervert alert

      sorry qu eer can't fix anything. Qu eer the folks that are killing innocents with AIDS one victim every 5 seconds.

      July 20, 2012 at 10:59 am |
    • YeahRight

      "u eer the folks that are killing innocents with AIDS one victim every 5 seconds."

      More trolling by the uneducated prejudice bigot who has no clue about the real facts on AIDS or the gay community. LMAO!

      July 20, 2012 at 11:01 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Well, honey, I'm not gay, but nobody can fix what's wrong with you.

      July 20, 2012 at 11:01 am |
    • pervert alert

      Yeah right and i'm a hotintot. You might not be qu eer but if it comes to hunting one we'd want you along to act as bait. Qu eers the folks that brought AIDS to the innocent of the world.

      July 20, 2012 at 11:06 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You must be so bored.

      July 20, 2012 at 12:09 pm |
  16. Robert

    That's a new defense, "god made me do it"
    Just another man using god to excuse his horrific behavior. As long as we have religion, we'll have this.

    July 20, 2012 at 7:09 am |
  17. jonathan

    Its a good character from Zimmerman that he apologize to Martins family.What i believe in is that God has set a day for everyone that he will call them.Am not defending Zimmerman but just speaking reality.I hope that peace may prevail between the parties.Let us all pray that we can live a lovely life because if truly Zimmerman had love for fellow human being,he couldn't do that act of finishing Martin.

    July 20, 2012 at 6:36 am |
    • Atone Deaf

      Its idiots like you that blow my mind. Your lack of logic and useless response just go to show your ignorance. Your not speaking in reality your fvcking delusional.

      July 20, 2012 at 9:27 am |
  18. One one

    "I believe today that my conduct is in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator."

    – Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, Vol. 1 Chapter 2

    July 20, 2012 at 6:00 am |
    • ?

      Quoting hitler as truth is the last resort of an idiot.

      July 20, 2012 at 6:09 am |
    • One one

      @?. Who said anything about truth, except you. The point is, Hitler claimed his actions were the will of god. I simply put the quote out there and did not attach any meaning to it. You obviously took it in a negative way.

      July 20, 2012 at 6:18 am |
    • Ting

      Christians are going to be really shocked when they get to heaven and discover that Adolf is there. It's going to be a real hoot. Of course when it comes to murders, Hitler has to take a back seat to God. God wins hands down.

      July 20, 2012 at 6:37 am |
    • ?

      fact really is. hitler was a liar who would use anything or anyone to gain and use power and he was an avowed atheist in thought, word and deed.

      July 20, 2012 at 10:57 am |
    • Who invited me?

      So what was it like in Hitlers head while you were reading his thoughts?

      July 20, 2012 at 10:59 am |
  19. UK Dave & my fellow scientists

    ..You're out of chances!
    ..You're out of chances!

    July 20, 2012 at 4:04 am |
  20. Al

    I think this only works in Texas. People there hear God talking to them all the time. The Governor heard God tell him to run for president. Apparently God likes to converse more with Texans.

    July 20, 2012 at 2:34 am |
    • Jokester

      Why does Texas have all the god-talkers and Louisiana have the mosquito infested swamps? Louisiana had first pick.

      July 20, 2012 at 2:39 am |
    • JWT

      Ever think Jokester that Louisiana got the best part of the options.

      July 20, 2012 at 7:08 am |
    • Mirosal

      I think that was the point of the joke. You didn't get it?

      July 20, 2012 at 7:14 am |
    • bananaspy

      Yeah I find it interesting that the only two categories of people god speaks to are people locked up in looney bins... and politicians.

      July 20, 2012 at 12:07 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.