Vengeance Is Mine

There is a condition in America that needs to be addressed that the issuance of a “pass” or a pardon would correct. I’m talking capital punishment, or more literally, murder that is sanctioned by the state. I’m against it, as are most of the civilized countries of the world.

While a lot of the countries still have death penalties on their books, most have given up the practice. Of the 35 countries in the North and South American continents, 19 have the death penalty, but only 2 of them, the U.S. and St. Kitts, still execute people. Of the 49 European countries, only one country, Belarus, has the death penalty and executes. It would seem that the more secular European countries are more forgiving than their Christian cousins in the Americas. I am at a loss as to why.

We know that America always wants to be number one, and currently we’re number five on the execution hit list behind such widely regarded human rights advocates, China, Iran, Saudia Arabia, and Iraq. That list is from 2014, and, who knows, a President Trump might feel the need to “Make America Great Again” by using the gas chambers. After all, if you look at what constitutes a capital offense in some countries, you could see how a President with a complete disregard for the rights of the individual might react. Some capital offenses in other countries are: homosexuality, drug trafficking, apostasy, perjury, corruption and adultery. I suspect that a President Trump might let the last two slide, but, it could be a matter of “do as I say, not do as I do”. Which I guess brings me around to my point.

For a supposedly “Christian” country, we ignore the teachings of Jesus a lot. I mean, “Thou Shalt Not Kill” made number one on the list of things that we’re not supposed to do if we expect to wind up in Heaven. There were no qualifiers to the commandment as I recall. No exceptions carved out for killing for your country, or allowing the state to punish by using the death penalty. “Thou Shalt Not Kill”, simple, straight forward, to the point. In fact, the sentiment is further reinforced in the Bible in Romans 12:19 “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.Now from that verse, it’s pretty clear to me that the Lord is saying, “Don’t worry about it, I got it”. Sure as heck works for me.

I mean we’ve experienced “Death Race 1998” when George W. Bush raced to outdo his brother Jeb in extracting vengeance for the people of their respective states. W put to death 152 prisoners for the people of Texas, while Jeb contributed 21 for Florida. W did not allow any clemency hearings during his term as governor. W declared that he was not smart enough to overrule a jury, no matter how compelling new evidence of innocence might be. I hope someday that the Bush family faces a judge with the same sense of fairness and compassion that they have exhibited to others.

The “compassionate conservative” could not even be dissuaded from his role as God’s executioner by arguments that capital punishment actually costs the state far more than keeping the prisoner locked up. How easy is that? Keep a commandment and costs down at the same time? Seems like a no-brainer to me. But then, I don’t claim to hear God talking to me. Maybe that’s the issue. People that hear God’s voice should be eliminated from making capital case decisions.

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