Can Religion Justify Murder?

Essay by tracker55555College, UndergraduateA, December 2006

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If you take a minute to think about it, can you find anything that will justify murder? Some people can, and that is exactly what two brothers from Northern California did, they took the lives of two innocent men and justified it by hiding behind their religious beliefs. On July 1, 1999 Gary Matson and Winfield Mowder were killed by Matthew and Tyler Williams. The Williams brothers broke into the home of Matson and Mowder with the sole purpose of killing these two men because they were homosexual.

While incarcerated, Matthew Williams reportedly told his mother, Sally Williams, "I had to obey God's law rather than man's law. I didn't want to do this. I felt I was supposed to...I have followed a higher law...I see a lot of parallels between this and a lot of other incidents in the Old Testament...They threw our Savior in jail...Our forefathers have been in prison a lot.

Prophets...Christ...My brother and I are incarcerated for our work in cleansing a sick society...I just plan to defend myself from the Scriptures." ("Religion Gone Bad: Preface")

These young men took it upon themselves to justify their actions by saying that what they had done was okay because the Bible told them so. Throughout history there have been many religious leaders who have used their own personal interpretations of various verses from the Bible to justify their personal agenda, but these two young men took that a step further than most people are comfortable with. Some examples of scriptures or sacred texts they were using can be found in both the Old and New Testaments.

In the New Testament, Acts 5:17-29, you'll find a story about when the Apostles went to prison. In the middle of the night they were released by an angel of God and...