Friday, February 06, 2004
I had forwarded a link to a wimpy, soft-headed, pansy Christian on the need for maintaining the death penalty and he accused me of being a hypocrite on the right to life issue. After a heated exchange with this "brother" I got the impression that he seemed to think it inconsistent for a Christian to be opposed to abortion under the appellation of being "pro life" and at the same time favor the death penalty. He accused me of claiming to be pro life when in practice I am pro death. What utter and complete nonsense!
He first tried to convince me that the forerunners of our modern Pharisee churches were against the death penalty but what he failed to realize are some key facts:
• If these churches were in existence today, we would not allow them into our denomination because they would be failing to uphold the laws of our great country which is known world-wide as a Godly Country.
• The reason these churches opposed the death penalty was because the established church of the day would often persecute them to death, so this was nothing more than a position of self-interest, rather than enlightened godly principle.
• Our connection with these historic churches is much more tenuous than one is led to believe and he is merely looking at the writings of known "radical" offshoots of the True Pharisee tradition not the wider body of Pharisee thought at the time.
• Finally, if these forerunners of our modern-day Pharisees were to exist in our country in our day and age, they would likely favor the death penalty once they knew how justly it was enforced.
This namby-pamby bleeding-heart christian misses the fact that in this country the death penalty is legal. The death penalty cannot be immoral if it is legal. The laws of this country give the courts the right to execute judgment on convicted criminals. Arguments about innocent victims being put to death in miscarriages of justice or the disproportionate number of poor and minority victims are merely red herrings to mask the issue. Even if the victims were innocent of the particular crime they were being tried for, God would not allow an innocent person to die. If they are put to death, then it is done justly and for a crime we simply don’t know about. Anyone who has read the pro-death penalty book The Chamber by John Grisham will see the sense of this argument. And the reason more poor and minority victims are put to death is due to the simple fact that they commit most of the crimes. The O.J. Simpson trial is proof that a poor innocent person of color can get a fair trial in this country.
Abortion on the other hand is always immoral because it involves the taking of an innocent life. The fact that it is legal does nothing to make it right. Our country is in the business of passing laws, not morality. It is a well established fact that the government can’t legislate morality. Just because we are legally allowed to do something does not mean we ought to do it. Smoking, drinking, dancing and going to movies are all legal but they are certainly not things any self-respecting Christian would ever do.
Another argument he made is that we are not really pro life because we do not have any women who attend our church with their babies who were not aborted. While this may be true, he misses the whole point of it. First of all, no good Pharisee girl would ever bring an unwanted child into this world. In order to get pregnant, girls must fornicate, and Pharisees are never guilty of this sin. The average Pharisee may be guilty of a little lust here and there but true Pharisees would never fall into the trap of sexual sin. This transgression, like divorce and remarriage, is reserved for those who are only professing Christians rather than true possessors of the Spirit of Christ. So, by definition, any girl who gets pregnant out of wedlock probably isn’t a Christian and would immediately be dropped from the church roles and excommunicated from the assembly. So it is not that we are not pro life but it is the fact that we don’t have women in our Pharisee churches who would ever be in a place where they would consider getting an abortion because all of their children would be wanted. It’s simply not a sin we are susceptible to.
Aside from that, we would not want such women around our impressionable young girls. Any woman who would consider abortion as a viable alternative is not someone we want darkening the door of our church. But just because we do not want fallen women and their illegitimate offspring in our churches does not mean that we are not pro life. We would never condone their sexual permissiveness and we need to demonstrate our stance against sin so we separate ourselves as much as possible from the world. Being pro life doesn’t mean we are not anti sin.
Finally, what this dogmatic dilettante doesn’t realize is that support of the death penalty stems from our pro-life stance. It is precisely because we hold life in such high esteem that we demand the death penalty for murder. If we allow someone who has murdered to go on living, we show that we place a low value on the life of the victim. Killing the killer is how we show respect for the life of the one who was killed. The Bible is very clear that we need to practice "a life for a life" when it comes to capital crimes. If we don’t take the life of those who have no respect for it, then we show that we don’t respect life by allowing life to go on for these heinous criminals.
Say to the Israelites: If anyone curses his God, he will be held responsible; anyone who blasphemes the name of the Lord must be put to death. The entire assembly must stone him. Whether an alien or native-born, when he blasphemes the Name, he must be put to death.
If anyone takes the life of a human being, he must be put to death. Anyone who takes the life of someone’s animal must make restitution – life for life. If anyone injures his neighbor, whatever he has done must be done to him: fracture for fracture, eye for eye, tooth for tooth. As he has injured the other, so he is to be injured.
Exodus 24:15-19 (NIV)
Death penalty advocates often cite Leviticus 24:17 in defense of their position. They don’t cite the verse before it and support legislation making blasphemy a capital offence, nor do they cite the verses after it in support of administering personal injury in payment of personal injury claims. I wonder why that is?
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