January 29, 2005

To Kill or Not to Kill

My comments on a very interesting post over at Zombyboy's(with a few editorial alterations):

"I am opposed to the death penalty and that sometimes shocks some of my Protestant friends. A phrase I like to repeat when they begin to quote Old Testament (and thus old law- you can't pick and choose which of the several hundred laws to follow and impose and which to dismiss to "culture") to me is "If everyone returned an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, we would all be blind and toothless." That's not to say I don't believe in[sic] defending myself, my family, or my country. I will take up arms, and might have to die by them, in order to protect, but this Christian believes that only God can, in perfect judgment and being perfect righteous, take life.

Now, from a practical standpoint, the death penalty is far more costly than life imprisonment. It does absolutely nothing to reform the criminal. It is simply a punishment, and as I a parent I recognize the need to punish, but to a greater extent to help the child rid themselves of an offending habit or behavior through daily discipline and education. Sometimes I let them reap the natural consequences; other times I intervene. I think that counseling should be required of every public offender, and medications administered if necessary. I realize that the government can't force the inmates to take medication or to be receptive to cognitive therapy, but it can offer it and keep it's own conscience clean by it's honest attempts at reforming and changing criminal mindset and behavior.

Don't ask me "what if someone violently murdered your child/spouse?" I haven't experienced that and God-willing, hope I never will. I do believe that principles determine our actions, and by adhering to them now, I will be as conservative with my own wrath and desire for revenge as I expect others to be. I have read studies that show that the families of those who have been murdered or been the victim of a violent crime, show no more long-term resolution when the criminal has been executed than those whose offender has not been. I hope that I can trust God Himself to administer justice when human government cannot or does not."

Posted by Rae at January 29, 2005 12:08 PM

i share the same sentement towards the death penalty. your response to those opposing your stance is quite logical and i love using logic to combat opposition. i will have to remember that one: "blind and toothless."

over the past two years God has given me the greatest blessing i could ask for. i can now trust completely in him; sometimes i just get this overwelming feeling of being held in his hands (me in the fetal postition) like a precious jewel or Moses in his floating basket.
i have other things to say about this topic, but i just can't seem to put them into words. If someone close to me was taken away i can now truly believe God would bless me and remind me of this understanding all over again. i have done my time doubting God and his motives; it is now about whether i can listen to his direction; i now question my decisions and my motives in relation to his direction. my life has never been the same, the amount of joy and love in my life and relationships has never been as high. thank you Jesus.

Posted by: nick at January 30, 2005 01:45 AM

Hello Rae,
I am not suprised by Z's view on this topic, or yours. You both have a good size heart and both of you are giving of charity and Christian mercy. Something that is lost on many Christians.
I am not near as firm as either of you in my views on this topic. I do believe that the young and 25 maybe even 30 or under crowd could be rehabilitated. I do not think that middle aged men who committ heinous acts should be shown much mercy. Murder is something that I believe should hold a greater penalty, not for teaching anyone anything, but as an ultimate punishment. In other words, you commit the ultimate crime, you will get the ultimate punishment.
One of my salesmen who drives in from San Antonio twice a week stopped by today for the first time in about 2 weeks. He has been on jury duty. During the trial, the jury, of which my salesman was the foreman, found the defendant guilty of aggrevated assault and armed robbery. During the sentencing phase of the trial the defendants record came out showing that he had been convicted of a string of other crimes including rape, robbery, assault, and domestic abuse. This is a path that this man has chosen to stay on. What was this guy doing back on the street after a rape? I don't have much mercy for people like this, and if he would've added murder to his list, I wouldn't shed a tear for his snuffing. I would instead, pray that he found God before his soul started it's journey.
I do believe that there is a new law that we live by and that we don't live under the old law. However, I also believe in submitting to the government, as spoken about in Timothy, and this is a matter that, fortunately, I don't even have to think about, until I am in the same place my salesman was for the past two weeks, or perhaps if a vote is pushed.
Anyway, one of the jury members wanted to give the guy 15 years in jail, and my salesman pushed for life. The jury comprimised on a 60 year sentence, which will be life for this guy, as he is 43, and hopefully he won't be parolled before his days are up.
That's my take.

Posted by: Superhero at February 2, 2005 01:10 PM

Remember, Supe, I never said that I was against life imprisonment. Someone who demonstrates incorrigibility shouldn't receive the same benefits as his fellow citizens who restrain themselves from breaking the laws and the hearts of the people. I do realize that I would be tempted to retaliate in a way that would maim someone for life (not every joint can be replaced).

But thank you for thinking that I have Christian charity :D

Posted by: Rae at February 5, 2005 01:34 PM

I correspond regularly with an inmate who comitted murder as a juvenile, and got 20 years due to his minor status. He became a Christian in prison. If the government followed the policies I think are right, this man would have been executed within a year and hence most likely would have died in his sins. Even though I am sobered by this, it is not enough to cause me to change my mind on the death penalty issue. Although I am certainly glad that God has seen fit to extend His mercy even to prisoners.

Posted by: kgowen at February 13, 2005 04:06 PM
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