Monday, December 12, 2005

Tookie and the Needle

As I write this brief post, a convicted killer and co-founder of the Crips gang, "Tookie" Williams, is just hours away from lethal injection at San Quentin Prison in California. Of course, the usual talking heads and protesters are making a loud noise both outside the prison and on the talk shows.

I am not going to comment on the merits of this case or the lack of them. What concerns me is a mistaken idea being purported in many churches and by clergymen on these talk shows - a claim that Christianity teaches against the death penalty. It does no such thing. Quite the opposite.

If God is anything, He is consistent. Among the 613 Laws of Moses instituted by God, the death penalty was among them for several different offenses. The method of execution was by stoning. Not the easiest way to go, is it? A far cry from lethal injection, which resembles putting a pet dog or cat down. Well, that's the Old Testament. What does the New Testament say? Check out Romans 13:3-4, which reads:

"For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same; for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil."

There you have it. The last time I checked, a sword wasn't used to spank or to give a love tap. We also have a more correct view of what the criminal justice system should be about, but our society is too afraid and too politically correct to say it. We have a "rehabilitation" mindset, when punishment should be the mindset instead. Punishment of evil. I am not against rehabilitation of those willing to be rehabilitated, but you don't ignore or sweep the concept of punishment out the window. Until we quit weeping so many tears over convicted killers who are brutally unrepentant of their crimes and begin weeping over the victims, this subject will always be skewed on the scales of justice.

No truly innocent person should be executed. But if they are indeed guilty and there are no legitimate grounds for mercy, then the sentence must be carried out. Justice demands it. The state does not bear the sword for nothing.

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