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This entry was posted on Friday, September 3rd, 2010 at 12:01 am and is filed under It's Friday, Open Thread. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
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33 Comments(+Add)

1   Jerry    http://www.jerryhillyer.com
September 3rd, 2010 at 9:12 am

Nice.

2   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
September 3rd, 2010 at 9:20 am

Interesting

3   troy    http://www.sheepandgoats.blogspot.com
September 3rd, 2010 at 9:29 am

Can you be “pro-life” and support capital punishment? Doesn’t the latter negate the former?

4   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
September 3rd, 2010 at 10:31 am

The Scripture clearly teaches that the higher powers have the commission to execute judgment, even captial punishment. That does not mean we should support or oppose it, although I oppose it. But I am not the government.

In a democracy abortion can be legitimately legal. What does that say about a democracy? It is fallen.

5   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
September 3rd, 2010 at 11:17 am

In a democracy abortion can be legitimately legal. What does that say about a democracy? It is fallen.

In the church, people can be sinners and still be saved. The church is fallen.

One can twist logic to make pretty much anything “good” or “fallen”, when in the end they are simply tools/methods that can be used for good or ill…

6   Neil    
September 3rd, 2010 at 11:39 am

Can you be “pro-life” and support capital punishment? Doesn’t the latter negate the former?

i am not nearly as “pro-capital punishment” as i used to be… that said, i don’t think pro-life and pro-capital punishment are mutually exclusive – since the latter assumes guilt and due-process.

7   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
September 3rd, 2010 at 11:51 am

#5 – I agree. So which is more a divine tool:

A Muslim country that outlaws abortion,

or

A democracy which murders millions of unborn children legally.

See, another twist. :cool:

8   Neil    
September 3rd, 2010 at 11:52 am

it’s ok to abort elected babies since they would… or is it ok to abort non-elect babies since they would never…

RATS!

9   Neil    
September 3rd, 2010 at 11:54 am

In a democracy _________________ can be legitimately legal.

abortion
greed
homosexuality
cruelty
adultery
malice
.
.
.
.
.

10   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
September 3rd, 2010 at 11:59 am

#8 – Forces some to fall back on the “no one knows who are elect” theory or the “all to God’s glory” theological shield.

The pagan culture of the west which slaughters millions of unborn babies is worth protecting against those “real” pagans who would never allow such a thing.

Killing a woman for adultery = sharia law abuse

Killing the unborn = the enlightened western democracy

11   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
September 3rd, 2010 at 12:24 pm

Can you be “pro-life” and support capital punishment? Doesn’t the latter negate the former?

Not at all. Capital punishment is a matter of justice and consequences, and is within the Biblical bounds of pecuach nefesh – which, technically, is the preservation of innocent life – not the preservation of life above all other considerations (noting that innocence is not a look at the fallen state of man, but innocence within a specific framework). This is why it is “pro-life” to kill in self-defense, as well.

Even so, the biblical bounds of “pro-life” require two witnesses in order to be able to execute capital punishment, which is not always the case in the modern justice system.

#6: I’d also note that a democracy which allows abortion (along with allowing people to sin in other ways) is far different from a nation which proscribes abortion (see China’s “one-child” policy). Laying such culpability at the feet of a political system is as ludicrous as blaming your dog for the increase in pork belly prices.

12   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
September 3rd, 2010 at 12:27 pm

The pagan culture of the west which slaughters millions of unborn babies is worth protecting against those “real” pagans who would never allow such a thing.

Gee, if only we lived in a binary world where anserine argumentation in baseless attempts to create moral equivalency held any weight.

13   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
September 3rd, 2010 at 12:48 pm

Supporting the governmenst role in executing capital punishment is not the same a supporting capital punishment itself.

Love your enemies and do good to them who despitefully use you seems at odds with capital punishment.

#11 – I agree. I was attempting to show how one sided it is to claim our culture is superior to some others we deem “pagan”.

14   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
September 3rd, 2010 at 12:51 pm

All cultures on this earth are pagan.

15   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
September 3rd, 2010 at 1:25 pm

Love your enemies and do good to them who despitefully use you seems at odds with capital punishment.

This assumes that a criminal is, by definition, one’s “enemy”, rather than just a member of your own society who has broken certain laws which biblically may include the penalty of death. If the death penalty were simply enacting revenge, you might have a point. Rather, capital punishment is a component of civil order and justice – not within the purview of individual morality (which would be vigilantism, rather than capital punishment).

Apples and oranges.

#11 – I agree. I was attempting to show how one sided it is to claim our culture is superior to some others we deem “pagan”.

[...]All cultures on this earth are pagan.

Incorrect.

Pagan: (n)
1. An adherent of a polytheistic religion, especially when viewed in contrast to an adherent of a monotheistic religion.
2. A hedonist.
3. To be without a monotheistic religion.

If one tries to build his/her culture upon the principles of Christianity – even if not perfectly implemented – the imperfections do not render the resulting culture “pagan”.

16   troy    http://www.sheepandgoats.blogspot.com
September 3rd, 2010 at 1:28 pm

Wouldn’t the term itself, “pro-life”, mean that you are a proponent of life, or for life? How can you be a proponent of LIFE and support the taking of a life through execution? Does the term “pro-life” exclusively mean anti-abortion or does it mean proponent of life?

17   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
September 3rd, 2010 at 1:45 pm

Wouldn’t the term itself, “pro-life”, mean that you are a proponent of life, or for life?

Actually, “pro-life” as a doctrine is a derivative of the Jewish doctrine of pikuach nefesh, “the saving of life”, which places the value of saving an innocent life over most other negative commands. The key exceptions to this are blasphemy and sexual sin [i.e. if given the choice between cursing God (or committing sexual sin) or allowing an innocent to die, one must not curse God (or commit sexual sin)]. Additionally, pikuach nefesh allows for one to use lethal force in stopping a rodef (a “pursuer”) from taking the life of an innocent person (self-defense).

How can you be a proponent of LIFE and support the taking of a life through execution?

The key, though, is that “pro-life” (pikuach nefesh) is a moral stance aimed at individual behavior, not aimed at criminal punishment. In the case of capital punishment, it is consistent for a society (not an individual) to judicially apply this penalty for certain crimes, as a punishment and a preventative measure. The burden of proof of guilt is higher, though, for such punishment.

Unfortunately, our current educational system is a bit lax in teaching the consistent chain of logic behind most of our civil structures, and in differentiating them from the individual.

To wit – if you, as an individual, were to kill John Doe because you saw him commit a murder, you would not be executing capital punishment. You would be a vigilante, apart from the law of society. Thus, if you are pro-life, you are anti-vigilante.

However, if you and another witness saw John Doe commit a murder and took him to the civil authorities, who then sentenced him to death and executed the sentence, you would not be a vigilante – because it is the government (which has the God-given authority to maintain civil order) which executes him, through its system of justice.

Does the term “pro-life” exclusively mean anti-abortion or does it mean proponent of life?

In the US, “pro-life” has generally been short-handed to mean “anti-abortion” (and in doing so, may have created the confusion you point out). Those who consistently apply it, though, may be (in the broader sense) pro-life in that they are in support of the preservation of innocent life by rejecting abortion and supporting the punishment (capital or otherwise) of criminals who have taken the life of the innocent.

18   Neil    
September 3rd, 2010 at 1:50 pm

All cultures on this earth are pagan.

i would disagree, mostly based on the over-simplification of this. all cultures have pagan elements, but they are not, in-an-of-themselves – pagan.

on a class i teach on christ and culture it is common for someone to exclaim that culture is evil or satan or something like that.

culture is, in its simplest form, the way groups of people do things, define things, think.

19   Jerry    http://www.jerryhillyer.com
September 3rd, 2010 at 2:14 pm

i would disagree, mostly based on the over-simplification of this. all cultures have pagan elements, but they are not, in-an-of-themselves – pagan.

Oversimplification? Surely you jest.

20   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
September 3rd, 2010 at 2:33 pm

“If one tries to build his/her culture upon the principles of Christianity…”

You are enviably naive.

21   nathan    
September 3rd, 2010 at 3:07 pm

there’s no evidence that the death penalty acts a deterrent/preventative.

it’s about retribution.

Not saying it should or should not be used, but i’m just say’n….

22   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
September 3rd, 2010 at 3:13 pm

there’s no evidence that the death penalty acts a deterrent/preventative.

it’s about retribution.

Actually, if we’re looking at its existence in American Law, its inclusion is both from Natural Law (where its purpose is as a deterrent and as a preventative (not retribution)) and from Judeo Christian Law (where its purpose is punitive, not retributive). Neither is based upon retribution (satisfaction of personal vengeance). [Thus my comment about understanding the evolution and roots of our current systems and practices, rather than supplying our own unmoored explanations for them.]

23   nathan    
September 3rd, 2010 at 7:54 pm

Regardless of Natural Law’s articulation it hasn’t played out that way or garnered the results.

I think you’re splitting hairs on the words retribution/punitive, but that being said…fine…

let’s just own that we punish people with the ultimate punishment for what we believe to be the ultimate in crime.

the whole “deterrent” language just doesn’t line up with reality, so it’s better to just make an unapologetic case for “laying the wood” to someone because we believe they deserve it.

24   Scotty    http://scottysplace-scotty.blogspot.com/
September 3rd, 2010 at 8:25 pm

there’s no evidence that the death penalty acts a deterrent/preventative.

I would say that it does. The one that receives the penalty of death will never be able to commit that crime again. I offer Arthur Shawcross as an example, Ted Bundy another.

25   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
September 3rd, 2010 at 10:09 pm

If your theology suggests that someone who dies without Christ would never have believed on him ever, then capital punishement is acceptable.

However, if like Daivid Berkowitz (Son of Sam) you believe any criminal should be given a chance to bve saved, then capital punishment is at odds with the gospel and its scope.

26   nathan    
September 4th, 2010 at 11:37 am

@Scotty,

that’s a bit of sophistry…but I get your point… ;)

but that’s not what most people think of when we use the word “deterrent”.

It also presumes that anyone who commits murder is a killer like a Ted Bundy.

Not everyone who kills will kill again. Not every murderer is a sicko.

Just saying.

27   s    http://scottysplace-scotty.blogspot.com/
September 5th, 2010 at 9:18 am

Nathan

Just a thought, how does one go about proving that the death penalty is or not a deterrent? A proof that murder still happens is not valid argument that the death penalty is not a deterrent either. There are people that are going to break laws regardless of outcome. They are willing to take certain risks to do what they do.

Point being, we can only speculate, on each side of the argument, as to the death penalty deterring or not deterring a crime. Hence my original statement in #24. There is one person that won’t be committing a crime again. I don’t think it’s a bit of sophistry.

28   scotty    http://scottysplace-scotty.blogspot.com/
September 6th, 2010 at 12:23 pm

oops I see I didn’t type in my WHOLE name!! Sorry ’bout that.

29   nathan    
September 6th, 2010 at 1:09 pm

but that only under girds my point.

It’s a silly claim…

Let’s just full force argue for the belief that the point is we believe that a certain kind of punitive measure is the appropriate consequence to certain crimes…not deterrence since it’s a pointless discussion and doesn’t make any room for the simple reality that most murderers are NOT Ted Bundy.

Do you see my point? The whole “deterrence” discussion only muddies the waters and is ultimately pointless.

Your argument against my critique is that deterrence can’t be proved or is even valid since there are people who will commit crimes regardless.

Then drop the “deterrent” b.s. altogether.

Let’s just own it and say:

You kill in this society, we believe you deserve the gas chamber.

All the other stuff is hooey.

30   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
September 6th, 2010 at 6:43 pm

(Just got back from a weekend vacation…)

Imprisonment & Capital punishment as ANYTHING but punitive and as a deterrent (whether progressive psychology mags agree or not with the deterrence factor) is a relatively new invention of the late 20th century, where its purpose was reconceived as a “rehabilitation”. Despite the general failure of this model/view of civil punishment and the high recidivism rate (which of course has spurred all sorts of studies searching for the holy grail of “treatment instead of incarceration” of criminals), this view is what currently fuels the primary hand-wringing about capital punishment, because – by definition – it cannot be used as a means of rehabilitation, and therefore must be incongruent with the new goals of the prison system.

Not surprisingly, the doctrine of hell vs. some sort of rehabilitative state (thus the resurgance of belief in a purgatory or the moral bankruptcy of “Christian” universalism) has risen in tandem with this view of imprisonment/capital punishment as anything other than its original, and biblical, purpose. Actions have consequences – and forgiveness of a sin does not remove its consequence.

31   scotty    http://scottysplace-scotty.blogspot.com/
September 6th, 2010 at 6:49 pm

Let’s just own it and say:
You kill murder in this society, we believe you deserve the gas chamber.

I wasn’t trying to disown any statement like that.

My only mention of deterrent was about the accused. Maybe it was playing with words. But the point is the same…..that guy won’t commit another murder. That’s all I was trying to say. I said that either side can’t be proven.

As I build speed on the on ramp of I-95 the next thing I do is set my cruise control for 78 mph. I take the risk that I might end up being cited for speeding. And, anybody that knows Florida knows, that at 78 I’m the slow poke.

We don’t do away with a punishment for speeding because laws don’t stop speeders. Because I chose to bend the envelope I, and only I am responsible my actions on I-95 and deserve the penalty that comes with a speeding fine.

That’s where I often have a problem with death penalty discussions. I’m not saying it was you or anybody here but so often it ends up the one that sides with death penalty is somehow less of a Christians because they believe that. It wasn’t anything that I did that put that person in the gas chamber, it was their own actions.

Ultimately God is control either way. There is nothing I can to do to stop it nor hasten one’s death by whatever means to somebody that has been given the death sentence.

I won’t carry the guilt of somebody because of their actions got them into not so nice of place. I have enough guilt of my own to deal with. If I know of someone that is facing a death penalty I’ll offer a little prayer hoping that the person has or has had a saving encounter with God.

32   Jerry    http://www.jerryhillyer.com
September 7th, 2010 at 12:05 am

There is only one form of rehab proven to work…and even then it is sometimes sketchy. Prison is not rehab, even if people are sometimes rehabilitated there.

I’m tired, so that might be beside the point or rather incoherent.

33   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
September 7th, 2010 at 12:46 am

Let the government exercise their God given right for justice and punishment, even capital punishment.

Our calling as believers is the gospel.