Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Sounding Off 4.01.2008 Capitol Punishment

Obama made the following statement recently, if you haven't heard it already: " ... look, I've got two daughters. 9 years old and 6 years old. I am going to teach them first of all about values and morals. But if they make a mistake, I don't want them punished with a baby." (emphasis mine)

Hmnnn ... Now, to be fair, he was talking about contraception in general, including abstinence education. But this was not just a problem of words, it is what the Democratic party believes about babies, especially "unwanted" babies. There are so many problems with this statement, I don't know where to begin, but I'm really not surprised. Obama is running for the candidacy of a party that, without any exception I know, is dedicated to supporting all unborn deaths already legal and pushing for even more liberty in killing babies. For any liberal friends of mine reading this, can we dig up one elected Democrat who is actually pro-life? I'll give you a dollar ... no make it two, if you can find one, but you'll have to declare those two dollars as income and the government will take half, so therefore the two dollars (John Cusack movie running through my head ... "I want my two dollars!")

Also, North Korea is not happy with the more conservative party leadership in South Korea (the new leadership isn't making nice little, "let's just be unified" statements at the expense of all common sense ... the new elected leadership is expressing their concern about nuclear weapons activity going on a few miles from their capital). So what does North Korea respond with? First, they've been firing off random missles into disputed waters with South Korea (in other words, they disagree with things like pesky UN agreements) AND they threaten to incinerate all of South Korea as a pre-emptive strike, just for questioning North Korea's right to have nuclear weapons (like that convinces us they should have them).

Oh, and by the way, who gave North Korea that nuclear technology? Oh, look, that's Bill Clinton. Hmnnn ... I wonder when Michael Moore will do a documentary or Jon Stewart a comedy bit on failed Clinton/Democratic policy? I'll give the first person to send me that DVD or that YouTube those same two dollars (half of which is bound to be taxed). I think my money's pretty safe.

On to a quick discussion of capital punishment.

Basically, capital punishment is the death penalty, the ultimate punishment for the ultimate crime.

To be honest, I don't have a problem with the death penalty. I think it is biblical, first of all. Death is the first punishment God gives out (after the Garden of Eden AND after the flood). It was actually the first commandment given with a specific punishment, pre-Mosaic Law. If you murder another human being, you will be killed, and the blood is on your own hands.

In fact, looking through Leviticus and the Mosaic Law in general, it is interesting how many times the punishment of death is meted out and then the phrase, "and their blood shall be upon their own hands," is given. In other words, the state (a theocracy in this case, but in principle any state with ruling authority) has the right to execute as punishment and they possess no spiritual or moral guilt because of that act.

Again, we don't have much in the New Testament to go on here because they weren't interested in establishing a worldly government. But it seems clear to me that the state, as it speaks of in Romans, is still ordained by God to wield the sword of punishment for those who do wrong. That isn't taken away with the availability of the New Covenant in the earth. And not to mention the times that God Himself kills people in the New Testament for serious sins (Ananias and Saphira for "lying to the Holy Spirit," and Herod (the king of Judah) for receiving the praise of a god).

And if God is basically redemptive, and I completely believe that He is, then these actions, while seemingly hateful, are actually loving and redemptive. And they were. To look at Ananias and Saphira, the scripture clearly indicates that the fear of the Lord, a sobering thing necessary even in the New Covenant, came upon the whole assembly in Jerusalem, some 5 to 15 thousand people, and the Bible clearly infers this as a good thing, that it spurred them on to righteousness.

God does not enjoy the death of man, he says that clearly in Ezekiel, and neither should we. Can this be abused? Yes, as I've said many times lately, any proper and prudent discipline can be abused, but that does not invalidate the discipline, only the vessel, or in this case the state, using that discipline and its ordination correctly or not.

Now, I have to also say that I don't have a problem with NOT having the death penalty. You can seriously punish people without it, it seems to me. The only problem with those fighting to abolish the death penalty is that there is a lot of propoganda going on ... they twist characters and personalities to deem them corrected or changed or they drum up one story out of thousands where a man or woman was wrongly executed, usually telling the story in a very Crucible type setting, making the figure somewhat Christ-like in its imagery.

The best argument for looking at the death penalty and all punishment in America, generally, is the racial inequality in the sentencings, whether jail or execution. It is probably the best and strongest case for racism still existing in America, and it is so unconscious that most white people dismiss it out of hand. But it is there and very concerning, at least to a former hippie like me.

As a Church, I don't have a problem with supporting either side. Some of my pacifist friends might find that weird, but like I said, capital punishment is very supportable as redemptive by the scripture, Old and New Testament. To the degree that we, as Christians, want to enjoy the punishment and talk about people "deserving" it, well, we can get into some shady water with that one ... I mean don't we all deserve hell? We have to be careful what the attitude of our hearts is. But bringing someone, under the ordination of the state and after the evidence surely convicts, into conflict with their own mortality is actually quite compassionate. It reveals the spiritual truth that the penalty for sin is spiritual death.

But I don't have a problem with those who wish to show a different type of compassion and attempt to "longsuffer" with those that have committed those heinous crimes. Not sure how practical or even realistic, spiritually, it is, but I can't fault them for trying to love in this way. I can't support or condone the lying and exaggeration that occurs in that movement sometimes, but I feel many have a pure heart, motivated by something that "hopes all things and believes all things". Maybe it's a little utopian and silly, but sometimes that's the safest way to go, too.



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