On Thursday, Dec 8, 2016, the United States added another notch of shame to its belt of murder. The United States, by way of Alabama this time, put to death another one of its son’s, Ronald Bert Smith Jr. It did so in a way that should envelop you in emotion – embarrassment, anger, disgust, and quite possibly, a palpable sickness. If you are a Christian, this is the only conclusion in faith.
However, in today’s America, quite a many people, “Christian’s” included, are overjoyed, or at least complacent in the killing of its people. Unfortunately, a large contingent of these folks are under-informed or misinformed. The bedrock of their beliefs are rooted in either the slippery slope or ad hoc fallacies. Unfortunately, in a Trumpian America, this migrates over, in lieu of fact(s), to the ad hominem approach.
I don’t want to get weighted down with what seems egregiously simple to understand – God gives life and God alone takes life. It’s right there in Job 1:21. It is further supported in Luke and in Mathew. Actually, it readily available in both the Old and New Testament. If that doesn’t fancy you, it’s smack dab in the middle of those pesky commandments. Like I said, though, I don’t really want to belabor what is seemingly obvious, although let me just offer a couple of stark examples of their fallacious beliefs.
You’ve heard the expression, ‘We support the right to life’ – this is used all the time, but never when it comes to the death penalty. It is used when abortion is the issue. The off the reservation argument is that these are mutually exclusive. I’ll save you the ceremony; they’re not. You either support the right to life, or you don’t.
I’m sorry, it is that simple.
Another battle cry is of the under-informed is, ‘An eye for an eye!’ This is in conflict with the Bible, for vengeance is not yours, but God’s. Have a peek in Matthew. If that’s not enough, in a great turn of ironic bliss, and eye for an eye does appear in a great book; the Qur’an. In Surah Al-Ma’idah [5:45] “And we ordained for them therein a life for a life, an eye for an eye, a nose for a nose, an ear for an ear, a tooth for a tooth, and for wounds is legal retribution”. The irony, of course, is in the fact that most people who claim an eye for an eye to be amongst their wittiest of witticisms, also hold Islam to be the wickedest of the wicked; the bogeyman.
If that’s not enough, this thought is also predominantly from those that champion the small government. After that’s settled in, search through you heart of hearts and ask yourself this question;
What is a bigger government act than state sponsored murder?
Like I said, though, I don’t really want to belabor what is seemingly obvious.
After I saw the story about the murder by the United States by way of Alabama, I was further sickened to read that the condemned, “coughed, and his upper body heaved repeatedly, for the 13 minutes as he was being sedated, and his arms appeared to move slightly after two tests were administered to determine consciousness (Chandler, Brumback, 2016). Now, I’ve read plenty where the impressively under-informed like to congregate about this disgusting behavior and over and over and once again, I hear, predictably; ‘He should suffer for what he did’. The problem is that simply is not legal. The eighth amendment does not protect only some (innocent) people from cruel and unusual punishment, no; it protects all people from it. Actually, if you really boil it down, it is in place to safeguard the guilty rather than the innocent. If the government is treating the innocent en masse, both cruel and unusually, there’s likely a coup afoot. If we exclude the fact that capital punishment fits the bill for both cruel and unusual, we can at least come to a consensus and agree that the way in which these people are put to death, is.
The shame of a nation.
Peace be with you.
On Twitter @ryandavidprice