The Rudolph case makes Sam’s point perfectly.
If I was walking down the street, and saw a man running along killing babies in strollers, and I stopped him, and in the ensuing struggle killed him, I would probably be regarded as a hero.
In the mind of some people, though, birth does not make any difference in the life status of the baby, and if they really feel that way. . .
On a side note, I have been thinking about this subject lately, and I find myself wondering why it is that most people seem to have no apparent trouble claiming to believe one thing, but acting as if they believe another, and other people are driven to radical actions that are in accordance with their beliefs. This is not just limited to religious issues. Hard core environmentalists, animal rights activists, and so on, might also be viewed in a similar light (not that I am calling them terrorists, but I am calling them fundamentalists, who insist on rigorously applying their ideaology to their life). I am beginning to suspect that some people are simply wired differently (possibly a genetic predisposition for a certain bioneurological configuration?), and this leads them to rather brutally attempt to apply their beliefs to the way in which they live there lives.
If this is true, then it becomes rather more important to root out bad beliefs and retire them. Most people don’t get how important, because most people are “moderates” who don’t feel the burning need to constantly try to keep their actions in line with their beliefs, and thus they have difficulty understanding the danger of certain beliefs.
On the other hand, I suspect that this fundamentalist wiring can also be very positive. Certainly I know extremely dedicated (fundamentalist?) environmentalists who seriously contemplate the impact of everything that they do. I care about the environment, but it is not my driving passion (which is social and political reform). I feel that I benefit from the wisdom that people who care about other things accumulate. In fact, what I feel that we have in common is a fundamental dedication to maximizing the positive impact of our lives for the present and the future.
I’ll conclude this ramble by saying that I suspect that the small number of “true fundamentalists” that exist in any population are there because of an evolutionary advantage. If everyone was a fundamentalist, people would be too rigid, and things would stagnate or worse. If everyone were “fuzzy” though, no one would be dedicated enough to principles for the breakthroughs that have been important milestones in human society.