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When Murder Isn’t Murder

Photo by Pablo Padilla on Unsplash

By way of preface, I will be refraining from naming any of the persons involved in the story and from entering into particulars of the case, as this is an ongoing police investigation and because this concerns real people. My heart goes out to the family of the victim. I cannot imagine their pain and grief, and I pray that in the midst of tremendous loss they might find some solace.  While I will try to avoid personalising commentary for the above reasons, we must not forget that we are talking about real faces and names and lives; it is because of such that the issue being raised in the New York Post is all the more saddening and needs telling.

One of the most fundamental notions of being human is that murder is wrong. There are many dreadful things that human beings do to each other, but the most serious and base sin is surely murder.

Over the weekend a New York man murdered his girlfriend and her baby (she was 5 months pregnant). He was initially charged with 2 counts of murder, but the second charge has since been dropped by the police. A spokesman for the District Attorney told the New York Post that the abortion charge ‘was repealed by the Legislature, and this is the law as it exists today.’

Like flicking off a light switch, one moment it was illegal to take the life of the child, but now the perpetrator has nothing to answer—at least in relation to this young one.

While the murder charge remains against the man for killing his girlfriend, New York State’s new and controversial Reproductive Health Act has now come into effect and thus protects the accused from being charged with killing the 5-month-old unborn child.

How is killing an unborn child defined by the State as murder one day, and okay the next day? Like flicking off a light switch, one moment it was illegal to take the life of the child, but now, even while acknowledging the gruesome way both mum and child died, the perpetrator has nothing to answer—at least in relation to this young one. The situation is even more morally absurd given the new abortion laws rely on permission being given by the mother and a doctor.

According to the Daily Mail, Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown says that the man showed “no mercy and no regard for human life.”

NYS coat of arms.jpg

New York State coast of arms

What Have We Become?

When murder is no longer considered murder, what have we become? When a man can stab another human being to death and then have a charge dropped because the law no longer considers the act unjust, what have we become?

There is an obvious disjunction here. It is as clear as last week’s comments that were made by Virginia’s Governor Ralph Northam, who advocated a position for infanticide. And yet society is forced to close its ears and suppress the conscience in order to maintain and the unfettered and indefensible mantra of a ‘woman’s right to choose’.

Let the reader understand, this program of dehumanisation is far from finishing its course. Not only is infanticide now on the table, but murder charges can be expunged when society deems a person outside the protection of the law. The evolving situation in New York State is one example of a movement that is taking hold across many Western societies where it is no longer possible to even assume let alone uphold the basic laws that gave rise to the very notion of justice and righteousness.

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus says:

You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell. (Matthew 5:21-22)

The Apostle Paul reinforces Jesus’ point:

The commandments, ‘You shall not commit adultery,’ ‘You shall not murder,’ ‘You shall not steal,’ ‘You shall not covet,’ and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbour as yourself.” (Romans 13:9)

Our modern sins, like those in the ancient world, are a matter of failing to love our neighbour. The wonder and attractiveness of sacrifice and giving for the sake of another is losing traction as the new morality stamps out opposition with newly fashioned laws and with civil intolerance.

We desperately need to return to the message that Jesus Christ preached, to hear both the mercy of God and the righteousness of God. Love is not killing our neighbour, or slandering them or cheating them. Rather, love rejoices in inconvenience; chooses generosity over greed; protects unexpected life and values those who are sometimes more challenging on account of disease or disability. Recent days have given us great insight into the direction Western cultures are heading. Do we like what we see? Is this where we wish to be directed?

First published at