Skip to comments.Death penalty: Foundation of government
Posted on 11/18/2009 1:38:45 AM PST by bogusname
Capital punishment is back in the news.
There were actually those who protested the execution of mass-murdering Islamic terrorist John Muhammad, just as there will, no doubt, be those who protest the execution of mass-murdering Islamic terrorist Nidal Malik Hasan.
More alarming to me is what appears to be an increase in people saying that capital punishment doesn't square with their "Christian faith."
Let's get something straight: There are few things the Bible is more clear about than the fact that God commands us to put murderers to death.
Not only does he command it, but he says that failure to do so results in the land being "polluted." God doesn't care about carbon dioxide emissions. He doesn't believe in "man-made catastrophic climate change." He doesn't fret about recycling. But he does care about the pollution that comes from failure to heed His commandments...
(Excerpt) Read more at wnd.com ...
Does he care about the fact that the government can’t be trusted to get it right every time? That the government is corrupt and that people in positions of power often have nothing but their own self interest at heart?
“That was a key part of what we call the Noahic Covenant God’s rules for governance of the post-Flood world.”
But we aren’t a “post-flood” world as much as we are a post crucified and resurrected world. I don’t condone murder, but like the previous poster, I have little faith that we don’t often put innocent people to death.
In theory at least I've got nothing against hanging somebody like Manson, Dennis Rader, Paul Bernardo, John Mohammed...
Here's the problem: I'd want several changes to the system before I could feel good about capital punishment anymore.
1. Guilt should be beyond any doubt whatsoever; the usual criteria of guilt "beyond a reasonable doubt" doesn't cut it for hanging somebody.
2. The person in question must represent a continuing threat to society should he ever escape or otherwise get loose. The "bird man" of Alcatraz would not qualify, John Mohammed clearly would.
3. I'd want all career/money incentives for convicting people of crimes gone which would mean scrapping the present "adversarial" system of justice in favor of something like the French "inquisitorial" system in which the common objective of all parties involved was a determination of facts.
4. I'd want there to be no societal benefit to keeping the person alive. Cases in which this criteria would prevent hanging somebody would include "Son of Sam" who we probably should want to study more than hang, or Timothy McVeigh who clearly knew more than the public ever was allowed to hear.
Given all of that I could feel very good about hanging Charles Manson, John Muhammed, or Paul Bernardo, but that's about what it would take.
In fact in a totally rational world the job of District Attorney as it is known in America would not exist. NOBODY should ever have any sort of a career or money incentive for sending people to prison, much less for executing people. The job of District Attorney in America seems to involve almost limitless power and very little resembling accountability and granted there is no shortage of good people who hold the job, the combination has to attract the wrong kinds of people as well.
They expected DNA testing to eliminate the prime suspect in felony cases in something like one or two percent of cases and many people were in states of shock when that number came back more like 33 or 35%. That translates into some fabulous number of people sitting around in prisons for stuff they don't know anything at all about since the prime suspect in a felony case usually goes to prison. Moreover, in a state like Texas which executes a hundred people a year or thereaboputs, it is, that has to translate into innocent people being executed on a fairly regular basis.
There were a total of 37 convicts executed in the U.S. in 2008, 18 of them in Texas, not a hundred.
It is virtually impossible for a normal human being to have zero doubt about guilt in the vast majority of cases. Your bar is unreasonably high.
Capital punishment isn’t about “feel good” or feeling bad. It’s a penalty for certain crimes. Let’s leave the “feel good” to the liberals.
The french govt lawyers have a “money incentive”. They get paid a salary.
On your point 2. It is almost impossible to tell if a person will be a “continuing threat to society” or not. We must go on what they have done, not on wishful thinking about what they are going to do in the future.
Who do you plan on using to prosecute people for criminal behavior? The neighbors?
This is precisely the kind of "absolutist think" that the Left uses constantly--shame on you for falling for it. Gun control---"if it saves just one life" is one example. Banning DDT is another. Since this is an imperfect world, even the best process will sometimes give the wrong answer. All we humans can do is make the best good-faith effort we can devise. And in the case of the death penalty, we have MORE than done so.
What matters is that the cure not be worse than the disease. It is a proven fact that those criminals who kill, will very likely kill again. "Life without benefit of parole" simply puts prison guards and other inmates at higher risk.
Sorry, but it just doesn't happen OFTEN. Yes, the incidence of innocents executed is non-zero, but it damned sure isn't "often".
This is simply a physical impossibility. EVERY piece of evidence, including DNA, has "some" margin of error. That margin may be tiny, but it is certainly NOT (and can never be) "zero". In the real world, "beyond a reasonable doubt" is the only possible approach.
Other than that, France is a fairly big place and they seem to get by without District Attorneys.
Again there are too many horror stories out there. Mike Nifong would have executed several of those Duke Lacrosse players; Janet Reno would have executed several innocents given the chance and in fact they told Bobby Fijnje's parents he'd be dead from AIDS in two years unless he copped the plea being offered. Fijnje was saved by heroic lawyering and the financial resources of a large church; Grant Snowden was blasted out of a Flori-duh prison by a federal appeals court after sitting there for 13 years for crimes which never happened, much less which he was innocent of; Frank Fuster is still sitting in such a prison for more imaginary crap. You've got the Indiana case (Camm) in which a man has been convicted of murder twice despite a totally airtight alibi and both convictions tossed by the Ind. supreme court and lunatic DAs wanting to try the guy a third time as if the fifth amendment didn't exist, we've had a national political leader (Tom DeLay) taken out of politics through the flagrant abuse of proprietorial powers.....
Like I say, I'd like to see the job of DA abolished.
“Moreover, in a state like Texas which executes a hundred people a year or thereaboputs, it is, that has to translate into innocent people being executed on a fairly regular basis.”
You just “might” want to check your facts.
You'd still have people being paid under the system I'd like to see; they simply would be paid for determining facts, as opposed to being paid for trying to put people in prison whatever the facts might be. I'd view that as an improvement...
I am not against the death penalty, I know that some people just deserve killin (who said that?).
But we arent a post-flood world as much as we are a post crucified and resurrected world.
Not a popular opinion to have here but one I share with you. I don't find "eye for an eye justice" in the New Testament, Jesus fulfilled the law for us.
Everyone flame away, I won't answer rebuttals when I'm out numbered 95 to 1- I've tried before and I can't keep up with all the replies.
The death penalty isn't "eye for eye justice", it is to prevent further killings. There is NO (I repeat ZERO) method in use today other than capital punishment that is absolutely certain to prevent repeat murders. "Life without benefit of parole" certainly does not provide that assurance---all that does is shift the target population from the general public to prison guards and other inmates.
Just as we appreciate a soldier who goes to his death as a sacrifice for our freedom we should appreciate a Christian who was wrongly accused but suffered the punishment. Both have sacrificied in accordance with the laws of the gummint and the guidance of Christ but one is known as a hero and one is known only in glory to God. Whose reward is greater? For He said, "Let your right hand not know what good your left is doing for if one is rewarded here on earth what reward is there in heaven?"
Christians have been persecuted for centuries for believing things that "seem wrong" to those outside the faith. There are a number of seeming paradoxes of the Christian faith to those outside it, probably the greatest of which is that, "In order to save your life you must give it up."
Judges determine facts. Not govt lawyers. Nifong wouldn’t have executed anyone.
Here’s a better solution instead of your utopian one. If anyone illegally causes the death of another; lying cops and prosecutors included, they get it in the neck as well.
Lastly, Perfection is the enemy of good.
I completely agree with you Graybeard.... I’ve never really understood some christians adherence to the old testament as the supreme word.... particularly when the new testament is obviously so at odds with much of it. Wasn’t that the whole point to becoming christian? Otherwise we might as well have remained Jews.
Jesus DID fulfill the Law. That is for personal living, to lead a Holy Life, pleasing to God, it was required to live by that Law. Of course, in human nature, it is not really possible to do so. Jesus coming and dying for us was necessary.
Having said that, Gods rules for a just society stand. The 10 Commandments stand, Jesus said to keep His Law. All that happened was that Jesus took your place for failing to do so. And God does command to put to death those that murder, to ‘put the evil away’ from society.
A person doesn't just wake up one day and become a killer; oftentimes they'll work their way up to the crime in which they are charged for, and rarely does a person get caught the VERY FIRST TIME they commit a crime. Thus, executing a person creates justice for all the unkown victimes of that criminal.
Consider the New Testament description of government:
"But if you do evil, be afraid; for he (government) does not bear the sword in vain; for he is Gods minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil."
The purpose of government has not changed from the Old Testament.