Thursday, May 28, 2015

A Christian, Pro-Life View of the Death Penalty

            In a classic display of ignorance that can only be born from mainstream Christianity, there is a movement to take the moral high ground by refusing to execute murderers. These individuals truly believe that they are taking a bold stance against government and those uncompassionate, troublesome conservative Christians.
            There are several things that lead mainstream Christians to their upright stance that justice should not be served against those who take innocent life. First, most professing Christians are blown from one popular doctrine to the next. The latest video from a megachurch pastor refines their thinking. Those that draw the biggest crowd must have the true words of God flowing from their lips.
            Second, they do not understand the Bible and the God of the Bible:

Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things. But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat. And surely your blood of your lives will I require; at the hand of every beast will I require it, and at the hand of man; at the hand of every man's brother will I require the life of man. Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man. –Genesis 9:3-6

The wonderful part about Genesis 9 is that is cuts down the arguments of both vegetarians and those against capital punishment. If someone claims to believe the Bible and opposes the death penalty, they are either ignorant of the history in the Bible or are living an a la carte Christian life: they pick the parts of the Bible they like and follow them, leaving the rest as something inapplicable to their lives.
            God doesn’t change. Those that study the Bible know that. So hence, when God said that those who murder a person should be in turn killed, He meant it then and He means it now. Oh the height of arrogance that one professing to love God considers himself more moral than God! How foolish to trust our own wisdom over that of God! Those militant Christians that stand against a God-sanctioned death penalty ought to be on their knees in repentance.
            Now doubtless the question is this: How is it within God’s loving nature to condemn someone to death? This is cleared up with a true vision of the God of the Bible, not the peace-at-all-cost god that mainstream Christians set up. God is just. He punishes sin. His law commands an eye for an eye. Contrary to popular belief, an eye for an eye does not make the whole world blind. It shows people the consequence of poking someone’s eye out. If the consequences for a severe violation of rights is in turn severe, society will take notice and will not so frequently commit such an act. God cares about life. Yes, God is pro-life. He cares about the preborn, unlike most apathetic Christians, and He cares about the born. In fact, He cares about life so much that He commands anyone who disrespects life so much as to take it to be severely and swiftly punished. He created man in His image, and taking the life of someone who is created in the image of God is a serious offense to God. It is why He commanded the eradication of cultures in the book of Joshua. Their brutal conquests and child sacrifice was so disgusting in God’s eyes that their culture of promoting murder had to be gotten rid of. Christians who are against capital punishment have no way to answer those of different religions, including the humanist religion, on the character of God in the Old Testament because these confused Christians consider the God of the Old Testament immoral by their own relativistic moral standards. And if we refuse to accept this part of the Bible – God who is just and takes his wrath on those who mistreat their fellow humans – then we reject the entire Bible and subsequently our faith as a whole. All over trying to look “moral”. How foolish.
            There are several cliché arguments against the use of capital punishment. “God says vengeance is mine.” Yes He does. But how, in this specific case, does God choose to take His vengeance? Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed. God’s commandment to bring justice for the victims is for mankind to do their duty by putting away the perpetrator. Look again at the Old Testament. God does not choose to directly take his vengeance on the pagan cultures. Rather, He chooses to make Israel a part of His will. He has given us the responsibility bring justice by ending the life of someone who has taken innocent life.
            “Giving someone the death penalty is cruel and unusual punishment.” And so we have proof of the need for history to be taught in school. The use of capital punishment was much more widespread at the writing of the Constitution. Washington himself used it in his military. It was law in every state. Why would states ratify a Constitution they never intended to obey? Knowing anything about the time would reveal punishments far worse than simple execution, such as tarring and feathering. The eighth amendment was intended to protect against the use of a punishment degrading to an individual and those that did not fit the crime. Since killing is the exact and equal retribution for a killer, this is hardly unbefitting the crime committed.
            “Capital punishment hasn’t worked as a deterrent.” It hasn’t worked not due to a flaw in capital punishment as an institution but as a result of our failure to properly institute it. In the United States, only 1.4% of murderers are executed, a pathetic number that still has the United Nations (and other entities that have no business in the sovereign affairs of a nation) up in arms. This tiny amount, coupled with the randomness of what juries in what states may choose execution as a punishment, serves to make the implementation of the death penalty unfair and makes it a laughable deterrent. Most murderers have been criminals already – their tolerance of prison already exists. They don’t mind spending hard time behind bars. Execution, on the other hand, cuts their lives short. With the luxury of U.S. prisons compared to other nations, claiming that wasting away in prison is worse than being executed carries little if any merit with it.
            Even if someone is sentenced to death, the process is a lengthy one. Multiple appeals are allowed that can drag out the legal side for years. After this is exhausted, if a convict is still on death row, the average wait time for execution is almost 15 years. Some have gone much longer. This contributes to the lack of deterrence that capital punishment bigots claim is the fault of the institution itself instead of the lackluster ability to put someone down for heinous crimes.
            And what heinous crimes we have seen (by Sara Heddleston,

Kelly Anne Bates was brutally tortured and murdered by her partner Patterson Smith. Her death is described as “a catalogue of depravity by one human being upon another”. Over four weeks, Patterson inflicted numerous injuries to Kelly which included burns, beatings, stabbings, and even gouging of the eyes. Her killer was convicted and sentenced to life in prison in 1997.

Sylvia [Likens] was abused and murdered by Gertrude Baniszewski. It began when Sylvia’s parents, who were carnival workers, left Sylvia and her sister Jenny in the care of the Baniszewski family in exchange for $20 a week. After one payment was late, Gertrude took it out on Sylvia with beatings, burns, confinement and a host of other abuses resulting in death.

On 02/01/2004, Carlie [Jane Brucia] was sexually assaulted and murdered by Joseph P. Smith, after kidnapping her from a car wash near her home in Sarasota, Florida. Five days after, Joseph was arrested and eventually tried for first-degree murder. He was sentenced to death by lethal injection.

In 1975, Martha Moxley was murdered by 15 year-old Michael Skakel. Her body was found under a tree in her back yard with her jeans and underwear pulled down, but there was no apparent evidence of sexual assault. She was beaten so badly, the murder weapon (a golf club) was shattered. Michael was sentenced 20 years to life in prison in 2002, but was later granted a new trial by a Connecticut Judge and was released after paying $1.2 million bail.

These murders expose several issues with the penal system. Kelly Anne Bates’ murderer got off with life in prison, while Kelly’s mutilated body was buried. A young girl’s killer, who raped and murdered her near her home, received a painless injection. A 15 year-old, clearly conscious of his deeds, only had to pay bail, going free while Martha died in barbaric fashion.
            And these were one-time murders. This is not inclusive of Charles Manson, who lead his family in the murder of seven people whom they stabbed excessively before using their blood to write on the walls. His sentence was reduced to life in prison after the terrible punishment of lethal injection was banned in California. He is still alive today, unlike his victims. Or take John Wayne Gacy, who lured little boys to his house, raped and murdered them, and buried them under his house. For their pain, he was painlessly put to death by lethal injection. Of course, those that are anti-death penalty believe he should have lived.
            Or just recently, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the terrorist who along with his brother (who was killed in a firefight with police) bombed the Boston Marathon killing four people and maiming a number of others, was sentenced to death, a rare treat in Massachusetts. Again those against capital punishment reared their ugly heads (including a number of Christians), saying a man who killed an eight year-old with shrapnel that including screws and metal shards and shot a police officer point-blank ought not to have his life ended so soon. On the contrary, any other sentence would be unjust. In fact, lethal injection is much too good for this monster.
            The death penalty is not something we should be ashamed of. Indeed, it should be celebrated. It is the true vehicle of justice, one that has been with us for most of Earth’s history. When used effectively, we can see results in less murders. (Liberals who claim the proper institution of the death penalty won’t result in less murders also believe that gun control will make cities safer, so in their defense their lunacy is consistent.) Instead of a small number of murderers being sentenced to die, execution should be an automatic sentence for first-degree murder. Let criminals and potential criminals know that if they choose to commit murder they will be put to death. Allow them one appeal. If it fails, swiftly execute them. The price of keeping an inmate in prison for a year is $60,000. This is $8000 above the median household income – for one prisoner. The answer is not to release criminals, it is to swiftly execute those deserving of death. For example, if twenty-one year-old Tsarnaev would have been sentenced to life in prison, he could easily live 60 years. Doing the math, he would cost taxpayers $3.6 million on top of the fees for the trials.
            The death penalty ought not to be made light, either. Lethal injection is expensive and prone to failure. Democrats, who believe dismembering children is a fundamental right, complain that Clayton Lockett’s execution that resulted in 43 minutes of pain was too inhumane. Tell that to Stephanie Neiman, his victim, who was kidnapped, beaten, raped, shot and buried alive before being shot to death. Which was more inhumane?
            In light of these instances, what is wrong with a painful execution?
            Perhaps allow the family of the victim to carry it out.
            Executions should be made public again. Sell tickets. Put it on pay-per-view. Doubtless there are many that want to see justice served on the vilest of our society. Build gallows again. It’s cheaper and more fitting. It will help further deterrence when the public can physically see the punishment for ruthless crimes.
            And expand it. Expand the death penalty. Make rape punishable by death as it was in the past. When the stakes are higher fewer people are willing to enter in. Make killing someone in the act of another crime a capital offense as well, including killing someone while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
            If we’re truly standing for life and justice, it is a necessity that we reinforce the value of life by executing those who take it. That way the public knows how seriously we treat that injustice.
            I call out the hypocrisy of those against the death penalty. They will claim that executing someone is too inhumane. They also claim that life in prison is worse than execution, yet say life in prison should be the norm. It is simply rhetoric in defense of allowing criminals off easy. You can’t have it both ways.
            Bottom line, think through your stance before you take it. And don’t dare think you can be more moral than the One who created morality. How arrogant you are.
            While I’m at it, there should be a hook in the wall of the cells of suspected killers, just in case they want to do the honors themselves and save taxpayers money. This may sound heartless, but rationally speaking it is heartless not to condemn someone guilty of death to death.
            Will we reinforce how valuable life is by equally and swiftly punishing those who show they don’t respect it, or will we hold to our “high ground” and show society that taking a life is only worth a prison sentence?
            Apparently you know better than me, so you decide for yourself.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Race Relations: King vs. Sharpton

            We’re falling right into Al Sharpton’s trap.
            Jesse Jackson is happy with our reactions.
            Martin Luther King, Jr. is rolling in his grave.
            The goal of these three men has been the same: to cause tension. The difference is, MLKJ wanted to cause tension to bring social change. The other two want to cause tension for personal gain.
            King wanted general societal tension that would cause indifferent people to take the side of the oppressed. The likes of Sharpton and Jackson want to cause tension between whites and blacks. King never considered the battle against whites, only against those that perpetrated the injustice. He drew the obvious distinction and realized that not all whites are racist. Sharpton and Jackson try to blur those lines.
            Black racists (and yes, it is certainly possible to be racist against whites) want to turn black people against whites. They encourage violence to demand change. MLKJ was nonviolent and worked with white people.
            There has been an “us vs. them” mentality developed on both sides, often from birth. Some, but not all whites believe that the hardest work black people do is when they riot. Some, but not all blacks think that whites are purposefully structuring society to keep them down. Some, but not all whites think that black people are criminals who hate police. Some, but not all black people think that white people hate them and police are out to get them.
            In fact, it is sad that I have to address the two groups as separate groups at all. These stereotypes are taken from a minority and applied to all. I have numerous black friends who I trust and who are in no way criminals. And I do not hate them. I know several police officers as well who are, amazingly, not racist.
            Black racists demonize police officers who are often doing their jobs. If someone is attacking them, they will use all necessary force to stop them. White or black, a criminal attacking police is likely to end up dead. And then wind up as the latest crusade Al Sharpton goes on to stay relevant. This is not to say that there are not racist police officers. But if Sharpton were to take his own racist glasses off he may see much fewer racist police officers.
            If these men would instead focus on helping inner cities and bringing a sense of community there, if they would lead by example in showing that there is a role for blacks to play as much as whites in American society, there may be fewer black men dying at a young age. Over 90% of murders of black people are done by other black people. What of all those men? What of the abortion rates that are much higher among blacks?
            They point to poverty as white oppression. But the best correlation between demographics and poverty is single-parent households. Teach men to be responsible to their children. Ninety-eight percent of people that finish high school and get married before having children are above the poverty line. Convince students to stay in school. Teach them the value of education.

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of "interposition" and "nullification" -- one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

And when this happens, and when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual:
“Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”

            This is the world that Martin Luther King, Jr. envisioned. Brotherhood. Communion. Not a society of distrust. Not one where some blacks riot because they assume a killing was racially motivated simply because a police officer was white (or in the case of Baltimore, half of them are) and the criminal was black. Not one where some whites generalize blacks to be criminals. Not where things are divided between “white America” and “black America”. Not where Oprah Winfrey criticizes Raven Symone for considering herself simply an “American” instead of an “African-American”. Not one where people vote for a president simply because he is black, where the president jumps to conclusions on police killings and where his wife speaks of how tough white people make it. Not where the Democratic Party has minorities hooked on welfare to get their votes. MLKJ saw the end of Jim Crow laws as the time when America would be united instead of divided along racial lines.
            Instead, in the name of black rights we see the lines still there. And while Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson and Oprah Winfrey and Barack Obama profit off of racial tension, the inner cities are suffering. Americans have their businesses burned in the name of progress and are considered racist simply because of the color of their skin, something MLKJ specifically condemned. The nation grows more dangerous for police officers simply because they do their jobs. Three white and three black police officers are railroaded to court to advance the political agendas of a mayor and Attorney General. No one from the Obama administration shows up to the funerals of slain police officers but do show up for slain criminals. From the top down, the racial tension is still there.
            We don’t need a color-blind world. We can celebrate differences without allowing them to divide us. But the double-standards are apparent. There is a need for a “Black History Month” but not a “White History Month” – that would be racist. I believe limiting black history to one month is a disservice, as their history is tied up in American history.
            It is time to stop using the past as an excuse. The whites alive today have never been slave owners. Many were not alive when Jim Crow laws were in the books – and even so, many whites then were against the laws. Blaming whites for the problems of blacks would mean that blacks are reliant on them. Take responsibility for your own actions. Don’t immediately jump to the conclusion that a person who killed another of a different color is guilty – or innocent. Learn the facts before you decide.
            Perhaps that day that Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke of is not out of reach. But we won’t get it through race-baiting and blaming our problems on others. It is done through personal accountability and objectivism. Stop listening to those that want division.
            I’ve been to Martin Luther King, Jr.’s grave, several times. It is in the Center for Nonviolent Social Change. If you see a racial problem in the U.S., first be objective to see if it isn’t your own prejudices getting in the way. Black or white, the process doesn’t change. Then, if indeed there is a problem, bring it into the public square. Don’t destroy and loot the public square.

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