Opinion

Christians can’t allow the Bible Belt to be the ‘death belt’

In this Oct. 13, 1999, file photo, Ricky Bell, then the warden at Riverbend Maximum Security Institution in Nashville, Tenn., gives a tour of the prison's execution chamber. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey, File)

(RNS) — I’ll never forget the first time I visited Tennessee’s death row.

On my way to visit the men in Unit 2 at the Riverbend Maximum Security Institution in Nashville, I bumped into the state’s Gov. Bill Haslam. As it happened, I had just come from a conference where he had shared about how his Christian faith shapes his political convictions. I told the governor that I was praying for him and hoped no one would be executed under his leadership. Then I headed to Riverbend.

As I met with about a dozen of the men on death row, I mentioned that I had just talked with the governor. It occurred to me that they might have some things to say to him.

So I posed a hypothetical question to them: “What would you say to Gov. Haslam if you bumped into him?”

After a moment of silence, one of the men spoke up.

“I’d tell him that he needs to come join us for prayer on Friday morning, so we can pray with him and so he can pray with us,” he said. The other men nodded in agreement, a few of them offering a heartfelt “Amen.”

It was a genuine request from one Christian to another to come join them in prayer and recognize their humanity. Since then, I’ve tried to invite Gov. Haslam nearly every time I’ve gone to Riverbend, and I’m still hoping he will take them up on the offer.

That moment came back to me this week, as the state of Tennessee plans to execute Edmund Zagorski, using the electric chair. It’s the first time the electric chair will be used in Tennessee since lawmakers brought it back four years ago.

I wonder if things might be different if the governor had come to Friday prayers at Riverbend.

Some of the men he would have met are fully transparent about what they did to land them on death row, many of them confessing that, before they found Christ, they felt they had no reason to live after what they had done. Many of them have worked hard to heal the wounds they were responsible for. I know the governor would have a hard time executing these men if he were ever to meet them.

Some of the men there at Riverbend maintain their innocence, which is entirely believable given the current track record when it comes to executions in America. For every nine executions, one person is released from death row after proof of wrongful conviction.

Among them was Ndume Olatushani, who was convicted of a murder in Tennessee even though he had never even been to the state. The first time he came to Tennessee was to defend himself in court against a crime he had nothing to do with. It took him more than 20 years to prove his innocence. Many of the men at Riverbend remember Ndume well and refer to him as a source of hope that maybe they too will be able to prove their innocence.

Since that first visit a few years ago, I’ve seen these men on death row grow in their faith. I’ve sung hymns with them, prayed with them, laughed and cried with them. I’ve taken my mom and wife to visit Unit 2, and many of my friends.

I got to be there when one of the men was ordained as a minister. His first act after ordination was to serve us all communion there on death row. The thought that this young minister could soon be executed, and at the hands of a fellow Christian governor, breaks my heart and keeps me up at night.

It’s not just Tennessee.

I think of Kelly Gissendaner, who was executed by a Christian governor in Georgia as she sang “Amazing Grace.”

I think of the assembly line of executions in Arkansas last year, where four inmates were put to death in eight days — and where state officials had originally planned eight executions in 11 days, beginning right after Easter.

It make me wonder if Christians have missed the whole point of the gospel, where Jesus says things like, “I have not come for the healthy but for the sick” and “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy” and “Let the one who is without sin cast the first stone.”

If they believe that “while we were yet sinners” Jesus died to save us from death, should they in turn be willing to offer mercy to others — and to pray that they will experience redemption?

The fact is, the death penalty wouldn’t stand a chance in America if it weren’t for Christians. The Bible belt has become a death belt in America.

Since 1982, Texas — often called buckle of the Bible belt — has executed 555 people. This year, of the 19 people executed in the United States, 10 were put to death by that state. Three more are scheduled by the end of the year and three more are already set for 2019, according to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

It is time for Christians to rise up, stand on the side of life, and call for an end to the death penalty.

I am grateful for Pope Francis as he calls for Christians worldwide to double down on their commitment to end the death penalty. I’m thankful for Mother Teresa, Sister Helen Prejean and so many other Catholics as they’ve faithfully stood against execution. I’m inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as he called capital punishment “society’s final assertion that we will not forgive.”

Unfortunately, many of my fellow white evangelicals haven’t spoken out. Now is the time for them to do so.

We need Christian pastors, musicians and authors and all citizens of faith to use their platforms to stand up for life when it comes to capital punishment.

I am grateful to see six-time Grammy award-winning artist Amy Grant do exactly that a few weeks ago as she held a sign that said: “It’s time to end the death penalty.”

We need more pro-life Christians of all stripes — Protestant and Catholic, evangelical and mainline, charismatic and liturgical, Republican and Democrat, old and young — to take a stand right now.

We need moral leadership from Christian governors and judges, senators and jurors who are committed to Jesus, the one who said, “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.”

When Christians decide that capital punishment is incompatible with the gospel of grace and redemption, the death penalty will die in America.

If Christians around the world stay faithful to Jesus, we will see the end of the death penalty in our generation. After all, when it comes to executing our own citizens, the United States along with China, Iran, Iraq, Yemen, and Saudi Arabia are still leading the way.

Let us end the death penalty. And let us do it in the name of the executed and risen Savior, Jesus.

(Shane Claiborne is the author of “Executing Grace: How the Death Penalty Killed Jesus and Why It’s Killing Us.” The views expressed in this commentary do not necessarily represent those of Religion News Service.)

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Shane Claiborne

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  • Thank you Shane for this. I’ll be at RMSI tonight to stand with the fellas and their visitors. Christians killing Christians without remorse is a terrible place to be. The guards don’t want Ed to go – half his jury doesn’t want Ed to go. My prayer is that at the last moment, Governor Haslem will change his mind and listen to his conscience.

  • “We need more pro-life Christians of all stripes — Protestant and Catholic, evangelical and mainline, charismatic and liturgical, Republican and Democrat, old and young — to take a stand right now.”

    But they have taken a stand.

    That’s the problem.

    The vast majority of bible-belt Christians claim that the votes they cast in 2016 were “pro-life” votes. The “pro-life” movement has unmasked itself, very clearly, as a very destructive and anti-life force in U.S. political life.

  • “But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, where unto ye desire again to be in bondage?” (Galatians 4:9)

    Many mainstream churches are like the Galatians. They want to go back to the old covenant so they can love God with all their hearts…..only to find out sickness and poverty in their midst.

  • Hey, author of “Executing Grace: How the Death Penalty Killed Jesus and Why It’s Killing Us”, you deliberarely left out Billy Ray Irick, now dead. You don’t want us to remember him or something? Well, I’ll never forget:

    Billy Ray Irick was convicted in 1986 NOT in the death PER SE of Paula Dyer, a Knoxville girl he was babysitting – but because, truth be told:

    (1) Billy Ray Irick severely tore up 7-year old Paula Kay Dyer’s v*g*n* and r*ct*m.

    (2) Billy Ray Irick brutally r*p*d 7-year old Paula Kay Dyer.

    (3) Billy Ray Irick applied injurious blunt force on 7-year old Paula Kay Dyer’s head.

    (4) Billy Ray Irick knocked 7-year old Paula Kay Dyer unconscious.

    (5) Billy Ray Irick murdered 7-year old Paula Kay Dyer by asphyxiation.

    And you go, “Christians can’t allow the Bible Belt to be the ‘death belt’”?!?!?!

  • Rant all you want but, man, can you at least rant in English? Didn’t your grade school teacher ever grill you for using the same word twice in a Rant Composition? Lookee here: it ain’t twice but 3 times the word “life” shows up:

    “pro-life” – that’s 1
    “anti-life” – that’s 2
    “political life” – that’s 3

    Voila: “The ‘pro-life’ (1) movement has unmasked itself, very clearly, as a very destructive and anti-life (2) force in U.S. political life (3).”

  • Your example isn’t even close to what the rule of thumb regarding use of the same word more than once is about. And you should talk, your writing is herendous, total bable at times.

  • Hey Rain (Bow) Man, Babble Me here. Remember when you once wrote, “I drove my car to the car dealership where the car salesman sold me a new car”, then I told you off, “That just sounds really bad, way too repetitive!” The advice I slapped you with was, “Recast it to something like, ‘I drove my car to the auto dealership where the salesman sold me a new vehicle.'” Casting pearls, that turns out.

  • A few rambling thoughts:

    1) the commandments say – thou shall not kill. Christ says, love your neighbor as yourself. To me, this implies that we, (generally) do not take human life.

    2) Christ also said, give to Caesar what is Caesar’s- implying perhaps that man judges there fellow man while on earth.

    3) when I read about the horrendous crimes these men commit; especially to children, it is very easy as a human to want revenge for the innocent at the hands of Justice. As A person Christian, I try to see through to the human person, and try to have mercy, empathy and mercy. It doesn’t always work. Some of these men are the definition of pure evil.

    4) the same people that lament about those on death row are the same people that prevent states from building prisons and complain about the criminal justice system. I would suggest they give the same amount of concern to the family of the victim as they do the person convicted. FYI – a person generally doesn’t wind up on death row or prison by holding a job or working with the sisters of the poor. They started young and worked their way up the death row ladder.

  • What do you expect from a nation that advocates gun rights to everyone, a nation that drops bombs not only in Japan but also in Vietnam, Korea, Syria, Palestine? What more could you expect from Americans that kill innocent wildlife from helicopters or go to Africa for hunting pleasure trips? What more could you expect from America that shows her ugly face in violent TV. episodes and movies? It’s no use pretending to be ‘devout ‘Christian’ or conservative ‘Evangelical’ when your heart is full of murderous , racists, and bigoted views. Today, America is led by a heartless and uncaring President who lacks humility, humanity and compassion and seeks Christian support. Sadly, his main constituemvcy comprises Bible -toting evangelical believers and preachers who do not reflect an iota of Christlike compassion, humility and forgiveness.So, providing death sentences to convicts is not surprising of Americans.

  • I’m afraid you are totally wrong about that.

    He told those who had no sin in them to pick up the first stone and cast it at an adulterous woman — the death penalty demanded by religious law for adulterous women.

    No one picked up a stone and hurled it at her in the gospel story, though many “Christians” who claim to follow Jesus’ words literally, especially in the “bible” belt today, want to do otherwise.

    Go figure.

  • The primary reason under Natural Law to inflict a punishment is to redress justice. That is the basis for the maxim “the punishment fits the crime”.

    To that an auxiliary reason is defense against the criminal, a corollary to an individual’s right to self-defense. Even today in some countries criminals control their syndicates of nefarious activities from the relative comfort of their prison cells.

    Finally add deterrence to the equation. It is undeniable that a society without laws, without police, without courts, and without punishments degenerates into chaos.

    To these Christianity adds rehabilitation.

    The use of death penalty can accomplish all these, including rehabilitation, as the Gospel account of the “Good Thief” who comes to his senses while being executed and attains salvation attests.

    An outright no conditions ban on the death penalty insures that there will cases rendered impossible to accomplish redress of justice.

    It also guarantees that in certain places defense against the criminal will be nearly impossible.

    However, in order to inflict the death penalty we need a justice system that precludes the execution of the innocent. The article correctly points out that in some places that is not the case. In particular so-called public defenders are public plea bargainers against a state with huge resources.

    If we are going to rehabilitate the convicted, there have to be adequate systems to do. They are generally not present and the major training that takes place is enhancement of the skill of minor criminals so that they can become major criminals.

    Abolishing the death penalty outright, then, works against all the reasons for inflicting punishment and creates an injustice system.

    It’s major selling point is that it is cheap.

  • What he did NOT do is say:

    “If you execute this woman, you sin.”

    If you happen to find that statement, pass it on.

    Btw, you’ve completely misread the story. The conditions for an execution under Jewish Law were not present. Look it up.

    I just thought since you are so fond of pointing what Jesus did NOT say when advancing some heterodox argument, you might enjoy the same approach to this.

  • The United States does not advocate gun rights to everyone.

    The United States observes its Constitution which provides a basic right to keep and bear arms.

    The nation that dropped bombs in Japan, Vietnam, Korea, Syria, and Palestine ended the Holocaust and is the major reason why Western European do not speak Russian.

    Hunting from helicopters is so rare that it’s newsworthy, and is completely unrelated to the death penalty.

    Safari hunting in Africa does not have negative impacts on wildlife conservation there, and provides needed income to individuals who would otherwise go without.

    Now, if you really want to see senseless violence, consider the late Soviet Union, Red China, North Vietnam, North Korea, and Pol Pot.

    Nary a Christian, a Jew, or a Muslim leadership among them.

  • The death penalty is receding in the US , happily. But we should note that the term “pro-life” mainly refers to the push by conservative Christian extremists to deny women their rights of conscience with regard to abortion and contraception, which generally impacts negatively on women’s health. It’s way past time for this opposition to women’s rights to end.

  • Maybe that’s because the post he was responding to was all about the United States, no?

    Your objection is therefore pointless – as usual.

  • If you support the death penalty, oppose gun control, vote for politicians who demand cuts in benefits to poor families with children, support unending foreign conflicts and oppose healthcare reform, you are not “Pro-life”.

    An opponent of abortion is merely a fetus worshiper.

  • The death penalty, when done by government, is biblical.

    Nobody is being unfair or unjust to Robert Bowers if he is convicted of the anti-Jewish massacre (multiple capital offenses) that he clearly did.

  • “Some of these men are the definition of pure evil.”

    And if it were limited to just them, there would be far less objection to it.

    But unfortunately for your narrative, that has never been the case. Race and economic class, and level of representation, factor largely in the decision to even invoke it.

    The majority of people on death row are in for felony murder. A killing done in connection to another felony. Usually robbery.

    Not the worst of the worst deserving of the ultimate retribution by society.

  • Oh?! Felony murder is not the worst? Tell that to the murdered person; and their family. I bet they think it’s the worst.
    Interesting how you are quick to defend the guilty- those who in your own words have committed murder of another human being – and at the same time are just as quick To dismiss the truly innocent; the unborn.
    You are on the wrong side of history my friend….

  • I’m sorry you insist on misreading the gospels, Mr. Connelly.

    You’re free to do that, of course, but other Christians have the right — and obligation — to point out your distortion of what’s plainly there in the text, which you don’t want to see.

    A strange position for someone who professes to be the most orthodox of Catholics to place himself in, given the condemnation of capital punishment by the Catholic church.

    But go figure. We do love to have it our way and to absolve ourselves of the radical demands of the gospel, as Dietrich Bonhoeffer noted when he talked about cheap grace.

  • Yup. More prisons for more bad people. Sorry to say but true.
    Unless you would prefer for criminals to live next to you ed. I would suspect that a bright, liberal, self-righteous person like yourself has insulated yourself from the criminal element though; haven’t you?
    Maybe if our schools taught people how to read, write, do math and speak; combined with a bit of economics and civics – they would be productive members of society. But we have failed in that regard – haven’t we?

  • No. Not even close to the worst. Where is the pre-meditation? Where is the cruelty or sadism worthy of the ultimate punishment? It isn’t there

    Worst of the worst would be:
    1. Murder involving torture
    2. Murder for hire
    3. Serial murder
    4. Mass murder

    I am quick to apply sane and objective standards to our justice system rather than join panicky lynch mobs. I would rather uphold rule of law and the principles of a free society than give into malice for its own sake.

    Take your self-righteous excuses for being a malicious SOB elsewhere and leave the discussion to those willing to take it seriously. You clearly are not.

    “To dismiss the truly innocent; the unborn. ”

    Get bent, loser.

    You couldn’t care less about people. Those born. So I couldn’t care less about your deflection here. Your alleged concern for the unborn has nothing to do with “innocence” or the sanctity of life. It has to do with treating people as your personal property to command.

  • I’ve been with you a long time on this one, Shane. Good, appropriately-heart-breaking and frustrating stories. Thanks for helping us not give up. #circleofhope.net

  • Nope. More prisons for inoffensive offenders you mean. The majority of those in prison are not for violent crimes or even crimes against property. The War on Drugs has filled more prisons with people who simply did not belong there.

    “self-righteous person like yourself has insulated yourself from the criminal element though; haven’t you?”

    Considering you don’t know squat about the population of our prisons, that remark is rather ironic from you. You are apparently incapable of an informed adult conversation on this subject.

  • I am talking to a m0r0n.

    Any pretense you have an intelligent remark on this subject is non-existent.

  • If we limited the death penalty to only the worst of worst like Bowers, there would be far less objection to it. But we both know that is not the case.

  • No. You’re trying to remove the elements of responsibility from individuals that murder other individuals. Which is why guys like you want to empty the jails and fight for people that are pro choice; because both of those positions do not require one iota of personal responsibility.

  • Nope. Felony murder by its nature is not considered pre-meditated regardless of your opinion.

    You are trying to stretch a well worn and studied legal definition to suit a personal narrative here. There is no premeditation in a crime which was not premeditated, spur of the moment, unplanned. You just want excuses for being an execution happy little derp. To you manslaughter doesn’t apparently exist. But in the real world it does.

    “Which is why guys like you want to empty the jails and fight for people that are pro choice; ”

    Empty the PRISONS of non-violent, non-offensive criminals which serve no societal purpose in incarcerating (not people remotely related to the capital offenses) and fight for people who value personhood. You are not pro-life, you are a fetus worshiper who apparently hates people once they are born.

  • There is no such thing as a non-violent, non-offensive criminal in prison; that is where the worst of the worst go;and frankly, we need more built.

  • 🙂
    The people who responded negatively to you are, by an large, actively supportive of this destructive force.

  • Never heard of drug possession charges apparently. They make up more than 45% of the people in prison. Calling them the worst of the worst is just hyperbolic stupidity.

    I am talking to a m0r0n.

  • “Felony murder by its nature is not considered pre-meditated regardless of your opinion.”

    Oh, brother. Who in the world told you that?

    There’s this little thing involved called TRANSFERRED INTENT. Meaning that the necessary intent/premeditation transfers from an inherently dangerous felony (usually robbery, rape or the like) to the resulting killing even if the killing itself was unintentional.

  • People convicted of drug possession go to the county or city jail.
    State or federal prison is for murderers, rapists and the like.

  • I really hate it that so many people don’t get what was going on in that particular passage. It was such a cleverly-laid trap, and Jesus was absolutely brilliant in it.

  • Not according to stats.

    78,000 46.1% Federal Prisons
    200,000 15% state prisons
    116,000 20% local prisons

    That is a lot of people taking up a lot of prison space who are there thanks to insane laws which aren’t working.

  • I know you are not arguing for safari hunting so I’m just making a separate point, but I don’t understand the mindset behind safari hunting. If there are ecological purposes to control animal populations, maybe, but for fun?

  • In mentioning those five countries he was referring directly back to Nelson’s post, which also left out Germany. Curious you didn’t upbraid HIM on it!

    In fact, it was Connelly who raised the spectre of Germany when he supplemented Nelson’s post by noting that America was not only responsible for bombing those five countries, it also did two other things: 1.) Ended the Holocaust, and 2.) Is the major reason why Western Europeans do not speak Russian.

    It would be obvious to anyone with an elementary knowledge of history. that 1.) referred to Nazi Germany, and 2.) referred to the Soviet Union. I suspect he felt no need to mention either one, as the references were so blatantly clear.

    Then again, perhaps he should have spelled it all out, because you do, after all, read the comments here

  • That’s all well and good, as well as rather tedious in its irrelevance.

    You would be extremely hard pressed or just an extremist to consider such offenders the worst of the worst or that it is a factually pre-mediatated act. Not in the way of any of the examples I listed as my “worst of the worst”. It is a virtual one by operation of law and statute, but in reality is not really one.

    I simply cannot in good conscience or objectively believe most forms of felony murder are on par with sadistic murder, mass murder, serial murder or murder for hire.

  • Parker, I don’t understand the conservative gripe with how kids our currently taught. The criticism seems too broad based to be accurate. I’m sure there are school districts that are failing kids but there also are many that don’t. Perhaps my kids are lucky to be in a good school system andI pay close attention to what and how they are taught and am quite impressed.

    Secondly, maybe eddoerr is also pointing out that prisons are only a band aid and not a cure.

  • Hey, dude, I don’t recall ever having such an interchange with you because I’m always aware of not using the same work like that in a sentence, your loniness.

    However, your car example is nothing like Mr Lindsey’s sentence construction. Once again your idiocy defeats you.

  • Yes, they are, aren’t they, Alexandra? And some of them purporting to be the strictest, most orthodox Catholics in town — actively rejecting the current pope’s affirmation of the ban on capital punishment already apparent in the thinking of John Paul II. Some of the personal attacks aimed at me in this thread I just laugh at. They’re laughably stupid. Imagine someone raking someone else over the coals for using the same word twice in a piece of writing, when he uses the word “rant” twice himself, the word “twice” two times, and the word “life” five times.

    Talk about being totally clueless.

  • True, and I agree with you that Mr Lindsey reads way more into the story of the adulterous woman (below) than is there at face value. That said, I believe that Jesus left his followers with the tools to come to new conclusions about Christian concepts, the keys to the kingdom. And should the Church choose to teach that slavery, capitol punishment, etc is a violation of Christian principles, what is bound on earth will be bound in heaven. But I don’t think that we have reached that consensis yet, which is why we have discussions and disagreements such as this one.

  • I live in a LARGE US city and have lived in a few other medium sized cities of 650k and greater. Each of these cities had a school system that placed a large tax burden on the tax payers and produced a lot of 18 year olds who could not read or write. You may very well be in a school district that works; my experience in 30+ years is that school systems in large cities mostly do not. These school systems directly impact the livelihood of these individuals; and I would argue whether they wind up in the criminal justice system or not. There are obviously other factors; but I would contend that the lack of education is near the top.
    Second is subject matter – mr doerr can speak better on this, but the allocation of subject matter has changed since the 1980’s. The US has slipped in world rankings and we as a nation are producing less educated people and are less competitive because of it.
    You may or may not know this, but many American companies are not only outsourcing their call centers to India, but their engineers, programmers and financial analysts. Cost is one factor, but the pool of highly qualified professionals is greater in India.

  • Jonathan Merritt, “Many forget that Jesus once served as a one-man jury on a death-penalty case. In a famous New Testament story, an adulterous woman was dragged to Jesus’ feet. The woman was guilty of a capital offense and had been caught in the act by at least one witness. The law mandated her death but Jesus prescribed a different response: ‘Let whoever is without sin cast the first stone.’ He was teaching that only a perfect being—only God—should have power over death and life.”

    https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2014/05/jesus-death-penalty/361649/

    Please enlighten us as to where Jonathan Merritt (and a world of other biblical scholars and theologians) goes wrong in reading this passage? I’m aware of your gnostic claims that you and you alone understand the bible, and of your claims that you’ve spent years studying the biblical text and have superior linguistic knowledge.

    So I’m happy to have you enlighten us about why the plain meaning of this biblical text is not the plain meaning at all, but what you’re more comfortable imagining it says. Thanks for exegeting it properly for us.

  • Not true at all. You decide something is true because you believe that it is true and then you preach that no matter the evidense against it. Do some research about who is incarcerated in US prisons on all levels.

  • I think it is more complicated than just the school system. Poverty, single-parent families, crime, etc. take their toll on kids and create a culture not conducive to study. Simply blaming the public school system is far too simple. By the way, I grew up in a very large US city, still work there, but now live in the suburbs so I am familiar with the issues urban schools face.

    I’m very aware that American companies outsource their call centers and would argue that cost is the most important factor. Call centers in America pay poorly and those with any education would not want to be stuck in them for long. Highly qualified professionals in India are simply cheaper.

  • You mean like “sodomy is A-OK”, that sort of distortion of what’s plainly there in the text?

    Speaking of strange positions, I have NEVER professed “to be the most orthodox of Catholics”. You, on the other hand, have purported to be a Catholic theologian.

    As to the woman caught in adultery:

    http://apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=11&article=1277

    and several more.

    A person could be executed only if there were two or more witnesses to the crime (Deuteronomy 19:15), one witness was insufficient (Deuteronomy 17:6).

    The Law was equally explicit that BOTH the woman and the man were to be executed (Deuteronomy 22:22). The man was absent, demonstrating that this trumped-up situation obviously did not fit the Mosaic preconditions for invoking capital punishment.

    It was a trap and Jesus knew it. Once he wrote in the sand, they knew the punishment for what they were about to do – execute someone wrongly – was death and there were more than two witnesses.

    If the passage “He who is without sin among you….” is taken as a blanket prohibition against accusing, disciplining, or punishing the erring, impenitent Christian, then it flatly contradicts Romans 16:17; 1 Corinthians 5, Galatians 6:1, Thessalonians 3:6,14, Titus 3:10, 2 John 9-11, and a host of other passages. Jesus told his followers of the necessity of doing the same thing (e.g., John 7:24). Peter could be very direct in assessing people’s spiritual status (e.g., Acts 8:23). Paul rebuked the Corinthians’ inaction concerning their fornicating brother: “Do you not judge those who are inside?… Therefore put away from yourselves that wicked person” (1 Corinthians 5:12-13).

    I am afraid your dog won’t hunt.

  • Unless the hunter(s) is(are) torturing the animal(s), I am not sure what moral objection can be raised.

    The fees support the wildlife programs, game wardens to fend off poachers, provide meat to locals, a trophy for the hunter, wages for the workers on the safari.

    The guides are usually third or more generation professionals to whom it is advantageous to keep a balanced healthy population of wildlife sustained.

  • That was no death penalty case. The Romans had already removed from the Jews the power to execute on their own authority (John 18:31).

    Which was precisely why the issue was presented to Jesus.

    The religious leaders had already tried and failed to trap Jesus into saying that paying taxes to Rome was unlawful. Now they bring Him a woman taken in adultery and ask if she should be executed. If He said yes then they could out Him to the Romans for defying their laws. If He said no He would stand discredited in the eyes of the people, for no Messiah claimant worth his salt would defer to Roman law over the Torah.

    But knowing that this was merely a ploy to try to get Him killed, Jesus effortlessly turned it around on them by citing the relevant law from Deuteronomy 17:7 (which is probably what He was writing on the ground) which required that the accusing witnesses must be the ones to initiate the execution, provided that their own hands were entirely clean in the matter. And not one of the accusing witnesses could do so, for they had not fulfilled the requirement that BOTH parties to the adultery be presented (Deut. 22:22). Nor would they have dared to do so in any case, for that would invite the Roman authorities to come down on them.

    And of course, once the two requisite witnesses wimp out, that is the end of the matter from a scriptural standpoint.

    I am no fan of the death penalty myself, simply because I do not relish the thought of cutting short someone else’s day of grace. But that does not mean that the death penalty itself is inconsistent with either scripture or natural law.

  • Forget the moral question. I can’t understand the enjoyment of trophy hunting. That’s my only point.

  • So, if we reach a consensus we should all jump off the bridge, we should jump off the bridge?

    You’re demonstrating the chasm that opened in the late 19th century between traditional Judaism and Christianity and the “liberal” versions thereof and has widened since.

    The new versions believe there is ongoing revelation and the proper measure of God is Man.

    The traditional versions believe God talked to Man, which we call revelation, and that is all we have to work with. The proper measure of God is God.

  • ON THAT NOTE OF RELEVANCY, here’s one for the road;

    According to Leite’s Culinaria, “Spuddies” (apparently, there’s more than 1 of you in existence) – a.k.a. “Tater Tots” – come to life out of these “ingredients … 1 1/2 pounds baking potatoes (about 3 large) … 2 cups cold water … 1 tablespoon unflavored gelatin … 2 tablespoons Wondra (instant) flour … Salt to taste … Peanut or canola oil for deep-frying [and] Fleur de sel to taste”!

  • I forgot to mention that the Romans reserved the death penalty to themselves in occupied territories.

    There are two common theories as to what Jesus was writing in the sand before the crowd dispersed.

    The late fluffy exegesis was that he was writing the sins of the crowd with rock in their hands in the sand, shaming them.

    I subscribe to the notion he was writing the names of the folks in the crowd with rocks in their hands, quietly advising them the Romans would soon be visiting their houses.

  • The US is the undisputed world capital of death, both domestic and exported. With homicides at a rate that would make Satan blush, and pushing death globally in the shipping of weapons to every conflict and war on the planet, to the tune of $70 Billion a year! $70 Billion… let that soak. The French are a measly $17 Billion, and Russia is a pitiful 3rd at $14 Billion. They’re invested in death merchants like Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Brown and Root and many, many more who thrive in the anguish, misery, despair, suffering, torment, death and destruction… creating refugees, widows, orphans and enemies by the millions! And the ‘Church’ supports the politics of this evil, while babbling about a ‘death penalty’. It’s disgusting and repulsive.

    Evil is real folks… not some HarryPotter, feel-good bs being fed to us on Sunday…

  • If you get the Church to come to concesus regarding such a stupid idea as to jump off a bridge, by all means, you be sure to jump off the bridge.

    𝕋𝕙𝕖 𝕥𝕣𝕒𝕕𝕚𝕥𝕚𝕠𝕟𝕒𝕝 𝕧𝕖𝕣𝕤𝕚𝕠𝕟𝕤 𝕓𝕖𝕝𝕚𝕖𝕧𝕖 𝔾𝕠𝕕 𝕥𝕒𝕝𝕜𝕖𝕕 𝕥𝕠 𝕄𝕒𝕟, 𝕨𝕙𝕚𝕔𝕙 𝕨𝕖 𝕔𝕒𝕝𝕝 𝕣𝕖𝕧𝕖𝕝𝕒𝕥𝕚𝕠𝕟, 𝕒𝕟𝕕 𝕥𝕙𝕒𝕥 𝕚𝕤 𝕒𝕝𝕝 𝕨𝕖 𝕙𝕒𝕧𝕖 𝕥𝕠 𝕨𝕠𝕣𝕜 𝕨𝕚𝕥𝕙. 𝕋𝕙𝕖 𝕡𝕣𝕠𝕡𝕖𝕣 𝕞𝕖𝕒𝕤𝕦𝕣𝕖 𝕠𝕗 𝔾𝕠𝕕 𝕚𝕤 𝔾𝕠𝕕.

    Tradition hasn’t always been correct. But you believe that which you wish and we shall do the same.

  • I certainly hope you did not use the phrase “totally clueless” as a straight line, because it sure looks like one.

  • DOJ Special Report Oct 2015
    99.5% of those in federal prison classified as drug offenders were serving sentences for drug trafficking. Most if not all involved in drug trafficking also included possession of a illegal firearm.
    If you want to continue the research, you will find these individuals also participated in armed robbery and other violent crimes related to the trafficking.
    This isn’t jimmy on the corner selling a few bags or your college buddies smoking a few joints.
    But that fit your narrative; does it.
    FYI – 23% of criminals in federal prison are aliens.
    46% of those are incarcerated for drug trafficking. 25% for fraud, weapons charges, racketeering and sexual crimes.
    Can’t wait for the caravan to arrive.

  • 2 Thessalonians 2:15 ” 14To this He called you through our gospel, so that you may share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. 15 Therefore, brothers, stand firm and cling to the traditions we taught you, whether by speech or by letter. 16Now
    may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and God our Father, who by grace has
    loved us and given us eternal comfort and good hope,…”.

  • Per the DOJ Oct 2017 special report, 99.5% of those in federal prison on drug related charges are there for drug trafficking; most with possession of an illegal firearm. If you continue to research, you will see that these offenders also had charges such as armed robbery, assault, and extortion; all the trappings that comes with running drugs.
    These aren’t the jimmy on the corner pushers or your buddies from college who smoked through calculus.
    FYI – 21% of those in federal Prision are aliens. Of those 21%, 46% have committed drug related or trafficking offenses; and 25% committed fraud, extortion, sexual assault and/or had weapons charges.
    Can’t wait for the caravan to arrive.

  • What about if that government has turned into a bunch lying, deceptive, manipulative death mongers $20 Trillion in debt, bankrupting the nation, ‘legally’ sacrificing our kids in their corporate pimps’ wars, ‘legally’ pushing Death at a satanic pace, shipping weapons to every feud, conflict and war on the planet, creating refugees, widows, orphans and enemies in the tens of millions, invested and thriving in the misery, despair, suffering, torment, death and destruction… while claiming Christ??

  • What about Genesis 9:6? Does the author expect biblical Christians to disobey God’s word, because according to John1:1,14 God’s word (Old Testament and New Testament) is the word of Jesus Christ? So do we disobey Jesus? Remember Jesus himself had said he did not come to abolish the law(OT). but fulfill it.

  • Actually the late Soviet Union is the undisputed world capital of death, both domestic and exported, and Russia seems determined to succeed it.

    In second place is the Third Reich, followed closely by Red China.

  • Thank you for the zany diatribe.

    Apparently you do not know the meaning of the word “genocide”.

  • I assume you understand that the United States has not “balanced” its debt since WWII and has no intention at all of every paying it off.

  • Nope, mass shooting and Pentagon either…

    “He taketh peace from the earth and causeth them to kill one another…” – Rev 6

  • I think this discussion shows how a Bible passage can be interpreted to condemn the death penalty and how it can also be interpreted to reject that interpretation.

  • You ask,

    “You mean like ‘sodomy is A-OK, that sort of distortion of what’s plainly there in the text?”

    Since the guidelines for commenting at RNS explicitly say, “Conversations can encompass many ideas, but they must remain on the topic of a story or related issues,” I’m going to take a pass on answering your question, which attempts to change the subject from Christian teaching and the death penalty.

    On topic: you represent yourself as the most orthodox Catholic in the universe. Do you accept the magisterial teaching of the Catholic church that the death penalty is immoral?

    Thanks for enlightening us.

  • Thanks for your exegesis.

    So Jesus was in favor of executing a woman caught in adultery by stoning her, in line with the religious law of her community? That’s what I hear you saying. Please correct me if I’m wrong. It’s interesting to learn that Jesus, who was himself unjustly executed on a sentence of capital punishment, stood for and not against the death penalty, and encouraged his followers to stone those found guilty of a capital sentence according to the dictates of his religious law.

    I wonder what Jesus will be standing for next, in the rather peculiar gnostic “exegesis” of right-wing Christians who try to stand him and the gospels on their heads: of blessing people who dismember other people with bone saws? Of sending soldiers to the border to shoot and kill desperately poor people who throw rocks? Of separating children from parents and holding children in holding pens? Of festooning synagogues with swastikas and shooting people praying inside them?

    Jesus’ peculiar people in America seem capable today of generating some peculiar notions about what he stood for and said, don’t they — some peculiar notions that are all about denying the plain meaning of Jesus and his gospels for our own lives. But at least they’re pro-life.

  • Thanks for that cornucopia of liberal talking points, but of course you did not refute a word I said. And I believe you said something to another poster regarding staying on topic, yes?

    Jesus created, taught from, and ultimately fulfilled that entire “religious law” that you’re complaining about. And said that it would condemn many to not only physical death, but everlasting death, because they spurn the pardon He came to offer (John 5:45).

    What was “unjust,” so to speak, about Jesus suffering capital punishment is that He, being blameless, took it in our place. Which was kind of the whole point of His mission.

  • Thank you! You’re so kind to read and recommend my little blog. I always see the traffic spike on it when folks like you insert references to it in RNS comboxes. I’m very grateful to you for bringing readers to it.

  • You have to have all the facts first before you can start interpreting anything.

    Once one understands that no death penalty was legally possible in this case, from the standpoint of either religious OR secular law, then one can more easily see it for the underhanded publicity (so to speak) ploy that it was.

  • So watdyasink of my reminding you that:

    (1) Billy Ray Irick severely tore up 7-year old Paula Kay Dyer’s v*g*n* and r*ct*m?

    (2) Billy Ray Irick brutally r*p*d 7-year old Paula Kay Dyer?

    (3) Billy Ray Irick applied injurious blunt force on 7-year old Paula Kay Dyer’s head?

    (4) Billy Ray Irick knocked 7-year old Paula Kay Dyer unconscious?

    (5) Billy Ray Irick murdered 7-year old Paula Kay Dyer by asphyxiation?

    You’re thinking, “Look at [your brain] stick to wall, Yo”?

  • I did surf there and this is what I got:

    “Circle of Hope … [aims] to nurture and help grow those at all stages of their Christian faith, including those merely curious about Jesus and His followers … based on the four elements of earth, wind, fire, and water”.

    Okeydokey.

    Speaking of which:

    “Earth, Wind & Fire … is an American band that has spanned the musical genres of R&B, soul, funk, jazz, disco, pop, rock, dance, Latin, and Afro pop. They have been described as one of the most innovative and commercially successful acts of all time. Rolling Stone called them ‘innovative, precise yet sensual, calculated yet galvanizing’ and declared that the band ‘changed the sound of black pop’. VH1 has also described EWF as ‘one of the greatest bands’ of all time.”

    Okeydokey.

    Source: Wikipedia, where else. (Nothing on Earth, Wind & Fire – “and water”, though.)

  • God & Jesus shall never ever forgive Billy Ray Irick for what he did to my – our! – 7-year old Paula Kay Dyer!

    You got that, Shane Claiborne?!

    NEVER.

    “It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea, than that he would cause one of these little ones to stumble.”
    – The Christ Jesus (Luke 17:2).

  • You lost me. I have no clue what you’re talking about. I googled and found an execution of this guy in Tennessee. You must have meant to post this to the other guy. I bet a $100 bill to a peanut you’re stoned on something…

  • The nation that ended the Holocaust? There was a phrase entitled the Big 3. Significant but not not sole.

  • Another columnist that only reads the New Testament, forgetting that the God of the New Testament is the God of the Old. God’s mandate of the death penalty for murder predates the Law of Moses, and in that Law murder was the only crime where the death penalty is mandatory. And there’s a good reason for that–mercy is the province of the victim, but justice is the province of the State and for the State to abandon justice for mercy without the victim’s consent is a betrayal of that victim … and in cases of murder, the victim is incapable of providing that consent. To reject the death penalty on philosophical/theological grounds is to reject justice and betray those that have been the worst harmed.

  • You were a teacher, and you didn’t realize it was superfluous for Connelly to specifically name Germany and the Soviet Union? Talk about dim!

    I feel sorry for your former students!

  • Hello Shawnie5, no-one has all the facts, but even when people have the same facts they often come to different conclusions. For example, it is possible to question the authenticity of John 7:53-8:11 because it is lacking in the most ancient manuscripts. https://www.gotquestions.org/John-7-53-8-11.html

    Therefore I suggest that the interpretation of this passage is quite distinct from the question of the death penalty.

    In the USA, https://www.businessinsider.com.au/states-with-the-death-penalty-america-2018-3?r=US&IR=T American Christians are divided on the death penalty. The Pope opposes the death penalty https://theconversation.com/can-you-be-christian-and-support-the-death-penalty-101007 but some Evangelicals support it and some oppose it https://www.nae.net/capital-punishment-2/. Outside the United States, a majority of countries have abolished the death penalty. See https://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/maps-and-graphics/countries-that-still-have-the-death-penalty/

    As almost all European countries have abolished the death penalty, and most English-speaking countries have also abolished the death penalty, the United States is a partial exception.

  • Apparently the death penalty is just fine, so long as it is applied to unborn babies. So what are those babies guilty of, other than existing?

  • in 2016, 67,742 people (illegals) were sentenced to federal prison. Almost 30 percent of them were for immigration offenses. Those immigration convictions comprised 100 percent of the convictions for immigration crimes in the
    United States in 2016. By contrast, there were only 85 federal convictions for murder out of a nationwide total of 17185 murder convictions that year, comprising less than 0.5 percent of all murders.

    Although there is less research on illegal immigrant criminals, the general finding is that they are less crime-prone or about as criminally inclined as native-born Americans. The DHS/DOJ report reveals no new information about incarcerations on the federal level, does not provide evidence for a higher nation-wide illegal immigrant incarceration rate, nor does it support the administration’s plea for more border security. https://www.cato.org/blog/new-report-illegal-immigrant-criminality-reveals-little-admits-its-own-shortcomings

  • Wrong – that happens when person B is also impacted as a victim for a crime the offender commits against person A

  • Four things

    The fact that it isn’t recorded as to what was written either time suggests it is not relevant.
    The story comes after a definition of adultery being expanded to a thought/lust.
    The law specified stoning only for a betrothed virgin. who did not cry out

    Stephen was stoned to death and not with Roman approval/sanction but under the watchful eye of Saul who was later told by Jesus to get the heck out of Jerusalem and minister to the Gentiles because his actions towards Jews left them un-receptive to his message. Saul’s conversion is a clear message of grace. (And of course Jesus also taught – you have heard it said an eye for an eye… But I say – you know the passage).

  • Four things:

    That which was not written down became part of the Tradition.

    2 Thessalonians 2:15 Therefore, brothers, stand firm and cling to the traditions we taught you, whether by speech or by letter.

    There is simply no doubt at all that the understanding of the Church was that the State had the right, and at times the duty, to levy the death penalty.

    https://www.firstthings.com/article/2001/04/catholicism-capital-punishment

    That the account follows Jesus’ reminding the Jews that sin is in the mind and heart doesn’t appear to advance any interpretation.

    The law provided for stoning adulterers, heretics, sodomites, practicing sorcery, and other crimes – not just betrothed virgins who did not cry out.

    Under Roman rule the Sanhedrin lacked the authority to levy capital punishment (thus Jesus being taken to Pontius Pilate). The story of the adulterous woman deals with a mob, not the Sanhedrin. The martyrdom of Stephen describes an outburst, not a judicial decision, of angry men. The Great Sanhedrin moved to Galilee after the destruction of the Second Temple and the failure of the Bar Kokhba Revolt. When it continued to be a thorn in the Romans’ side, Theodosius I finally forbade the Sanhedrin to assemble, declared ordination illegal with the death penalty for any Rabbi who received ordination and the complete destruction of the town where the ordination occurred.

  • In modern parlance, strictly speaking yes. But our modern concept of felony murder grew out of the transferred (or “constructive”) intent principle and is essentially the same thing — the imposition of one act’s requisite intent onto another act.

    If it bothers you, you’re certainly not alone. It has long been a contentious idea among legal scholars.

  • Also, the text of Acts specifically states that Saul approved of this killing, which precipitated a widespread persecution of the church in Judea in which Paul was instrumental. Probably he was given some kind of official commission from the governor to nip this troublesome new sect in the bud. Tacitus himself later described Christianity as a “mischief” that was initially put down in Judea, only to resurface later in diverse places.

  • Fetuses are not persons. About 90% of abortions are performed by 13 weeks, 99% by 20 weeks. The small after viability (23/24 weeks) are only for serious medical reasons. Personhood requires a functioning brain, which does not exist until some time after 28-32 weeks. So abortion is not murder. So Doig, as a male, you shoukd just butt out and allow women to follow their own consciences.

  • In her view, OK, but ask the same question of a rape victim, a woman whose contraceptive failed or whose husband abandoned her, or the young woman who just lost her job. You are a male. Butt out.

  • You’re right, if a mother is determined to kill her baby, all the scientific evidence that her baby is an independent human life, all philosophical and/or theological arguments that that human life deserves its own recognition and respect, will be so much wasted breath. That’s why human rights shouldn’t be decided on a case-by-case basis determined by the personal opinions of their mothers.

  • Anyone reading Connelly/Arnzen’s comment would ask the same question: why mention the Holocaust and five other countries but left out Germany, the country responsible for the Shoah.

  • The Bible does not condemn abortion, and science supports the view that personhood requires a functioning brain, which is not possible before 28-32 weeks of gestation. About 90% odf abortions are performed by `3 weeks, over 99% by 20 weeks, those few after viability (at 23-24 weeks) are only for serious medical reasons. The main trouble with the so-called “pro-life” movement is that it worships fetuses but rarely gives a hoot about all the kids born into poverty. Again, males should not dictate morality to women.

  • I have to say your habit of upvoting your own posts is more than a little odd.

    The Bible doesn’t say anything at all about abortion, the closest it comes is when the Law of Moses discusses the penalty for ACCIDENTALLY causing a pregnant woman to miscarry. That’s why we need to extrapolate from what the Bible says about treating our fellow human beings generally–unlike the death penalty, which is treated specifically and positively.

    As for only granting rights to those with functioning brains, does that mean that anyone in a coma has no more human rights than a hunk of meat on a butcher’s tray, or does that loss of rights only happen once medical professionals determine that the coma is permanent?

  • Permanent comas are a medical/legal question irrelevant to the abortion rights question. Most Americans, like most Irish voters, are pro-choice.

  • I wasn’t commenting on permanent comas, those situations are obvious. I asked about those in comas BEFORE they are determined to be permanent. Do they lose all human rights as soon as their brains cease to effectively function, or does that happen only when the loss is determined to be permanent? The answer is obvious, and so is the relevancy to the question of abortion–because if babies don’t have effectively functioning brains yet, they soon will. Except for those babies whose brains’ development is so flawed that they will never become self-aware, they have no more human rights than someone in a permanent coma. And no less.

    All of which gets us off the actual issue of the column, Claiborne’s un-Christian rejection of the death penalty.

  • They could similarly ask: why mention Western Europeans not having to learn Russian but ;eave out the Soviet Union, the country responsible for adding Russian to schools in Eastern Europe.

    The answer is obvious (to all but you): because those two countries were not part of the five originally mentioned by Nelson, and Connelly’s reference makes it crystal clear what nations he means.

    Or do you think there is some ulterior reason why Connolly did not mention Germany?

  • GOSPEL TRUTH BE TOLD: Even if “[Shane Claiborne] only reads the New Testament”, these 2 scriptures alone would still “allow the Bible Belt to be the ‘death belt’”!

    (1) Romans 13:1-4 – “Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation [κρίμα – krima – adverse judgment or verdict of condemnation, if and when necessary] upon themselves. 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 [την μάχαιραν φορει – teen machairan phorei – the slaughtering knife-like instrument one bears for exacting retribution] for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger [εκδικος- ekdikos – someone executing a just judgment, carrying out what is right, including administering punishment for the wicked] who brings wrath on the one who practices evil.”

    (2) Acts 25:9-11 – “Festus, wishing to do the Jews a favor, answered Paul and said, ‘Are you willing to go up to Jerusalem and stand trial before me on these charges?’ But Paul said, ‘I am standing before Caesar’s tribunal, where I ought to be tried. I have done no wrong to the Jews, as you also very well know. If, then, I am a wrongdoer and have committed anything worthy of death [αξιον θανάτου – axion thanatou – deserving and befitting the absolute and total separation from life], I do not refuse to die [αποθανειν – apothanein – to undergo separation that goes with dying off and ending]; but if none of those things is true of which these men accuse me, no one can hand me over to them. I appeal to Caesar.'”

  • Wow; I killed a human being because I lost my job….
    I thought today’s women want to be men? Then do what men do; pick your ass up and get a new job.
    What a stupid statement.

  • So therefore she is no longer a person, but your property to command, according to your view.

    I still fail to see where any of it involves you or requires your input. It’s still not your body or physical burden. So nobody has to care about your little s!ut shaming deflection here.

  • Unborn babies are a contradiction. Babies are born.

    What makes you think a woman’s body is yours to command?

  • Stupid analogy. People in comas can have people acting on their behalf without affecting the personhood of any other human being.

    You can’t “protect” a fetus without reducing a woman to the status of property. You ignore, denigrate and attack her in order to pretend she is of no consideration here. All in order to inject yourself into the conversation.

    Guess what? Nobody requires or even asks for your opinion in such matters. Your alleged concern is dishonest, immoral and self serving. You want to subjugate women. That’s it.

  • Your inability to distinguish the obvious difference between born and unborn renders your argument too dishonest to take seriously.

    At no point is a born person physically attached to the biological systems of another person to survive. No analogy is going to cut it here.

  • So Americans liberated Auschwitz?

    Americans captured Berlin?

    Americans contributed to more than 70% of the German casualties in the war?

    Nope.

    Bob loves Nazis and hates facts. He always chimes in support of outright white supremacist posters

  • Deuteronomy 17:7 says, “The hands of the witnesses shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterward the hands of all the people. So thou shalt put the evil away from among you.” King James Version. There’s nothing about clean hands in that text.

  • Just commenting on the mindset of liberals.
    I guess I’ll go shoot my dog because my football team lost yesterday.
    Mindless; superficial; selfish way of thinking. No wonder why you fight so hard for the SCOTUS. It’s the only way your irrational thoughts gain any credibility.

  • Nope. You are just s1utshaming.

    Pretending that your opinion as to the personal and intimate choices of a woman have to be taken into consideration. Pretending you have a right and duty to override such decisions.

    Your position has zilch to do with concern for life and everything to do with what kind of misogynistic troll you are. Evidently women aren’t people to you at all.

  • Good thing no babies are killed in abortion. Babies are born.

    Even better thing you are acknowledging its really none of your business. Considering its not ever your body or your decision to make. Nobody has to care whether you like or agree with such decisions. You have no say in the matter.

  • The lack of any compassion is very evident in the false “pro-life” claims of the Republican Party along with the “evangelical Christians” and their pro-death penalty position. Ditto for their false “smaller government” claim when it wants to stick its nose in the most intimate & personal aspect of someone’s life. The same is true for their support of wars across the Earth, ecological decimation, and denial of climate change. These are positions fostered by Calvinists who’s only interests are in power, money and control. Tomorrow’s elections will determine the future of democracy in the US and subsequently across the world. Trump & his minions must be stopped from destroying our democracy and inflicting another Dark Age on humanity. This is not just political rhetoric, but a clear & present danger. Defeat the tRumpers for once & for all.

  • I spose your right… 7,8 or 9 month old fetuses are never killed by removing them partially from the mother…. are they?

  • Only for medical reasons to save the mother.

    When a fetus is unable to be delivered prematurely or alive. The standard method of removing a fetus at 7+ months goes by the medical term “birth”.

    Good to know you are relying on fictions and canned nonsense.

  • Oh, so it is a baby?
    Gotcha…
    Why would they still kill it then?
    To save (the conscience of) the mother?

  • After its born. But if you feel like playing silly “gotcha games” here, then its best you discuss the matter with someone else. Someone more reception to immature appeals and garbage canned talking points.

    See prior comments. Your entire premise is phony.

    Nobody has a 7+ month abortion and no doctor performs one except for a medical emergency to save the mother. Such procedures are invariably done by those who sought to keep their pregnancy. The term “late term abortion” encompasses ones done after 20 weeks. So don’t even bother me by pretending all of them are as you claimed after 7 months.

  • This. And further. I doubt most people, even ardent believers, would object to a death penalty for the most heinous crimes IF we knew absolutely the accuseds were guilty. But the wrongful conviction rate is alarming and unacceptable. In no way, given the significant number of wrongful convictions, is it possible to ethically justify government-sanctioned executions at this point.

  • I have yet to see a mass murderer, serial killer, paid assassin, or a torture killer who even raised real issues of innocence at trials.

  • If evangelicals can call a serial adulterer, sexual predator, swindler, compulsive liar, white supremacist, slothful, incompetent, a “baby Christian”, then they are not going to be adequate judges of one’s character. 🙂

  • “Sluts that kill their babies should be shamed.”

    Your comment is in the context of a religious blog. Are you religious? If so, is your comment a fair example of how your religion asks you to act? (If yes, please tell me your particular faith, so I can avoid its followers.) But please continue to comment. Otherwise, we won’t know where the crazies are.

  • Interesting to note youre more concerned with my comment than with the thought of a human life being ended.

  • Because I point out the inherent irony of your comment does not logically lead to an inference I am unconcerned with human life. I’m concerned with all life, including the unborn and convicts on death row. But for different reasons. As a former president of Right to Life at a major university, I remain concerned with the plight of the unborn. However, my views have evolved. At first, I despised Roe v Wade and considered Blackmun a traitor. Now, several decades later, I think he got it about right. I agree the state’s interest in regulating increases with the viability of the fetus. When it’s more or less a bundle of cells, that’s one situation. When it’s viable but unborn, that’s entirely different.

    But you never answered my basic question. Is the tone of your comment consistent with how your religion tells you to treat others? I can think of a sect or two (like Westboro Baptist), where the answer might be yes. I can think of others where the answer is no (like basically the rest of Christianity, for instance).

  • If it’s not a zygote conservatives don’t care about it, the rest of America knows this, which is why most of America has little respect for such careless, selfish people!

  • “You shall not spread a false report. You shall not join hands with a wicked man to be a malicious witness. You shall not fall in with the many to do evil” Exodus 23:1-2.

    Competency and integrity of witnesses was of the utmost importance in the Torah.

  • My response was a part of a conversation. Read the whole conversation then get back to me.
    Disappointed to hear that your views on that bundle of cells changed.

  • Did you know, that text, about not following a crowd to do evil, was a favourite one of that great freethinker, Bertrand Russell? He was that kind of a man, not afraid to speak up when he thought something was not right.

    As for Deuteronomy 17, they definitely weren’t into freedom of religion in those days.

  • I never claimed any of those things.

    So you think Connelly didn’t mention Germany because he loves Nazis?

    Then, by the same reasoning, he must not have mentioned the Soviet Union because he loves Communists.

    Only in Puddie-world would that make sense!

    And why are you answering for ed? Can’t he answer for himself?

    But thanks for playing! We have some lovely parting gifts for you…

  • Bob does love Nazis. He also has no problem with ridiculous assertions.
    Russians love Nazis these days too. They help Putin destabilize the EU.

  • So. Anti-Whataboutism Tater Tot is A-OK with Whataboutism after all – so long as it’s WhataboutEvangelicalism.

  • Connelly loves Communists too, by your “logic”.

    Actually it’s the Ukrainians – especially groups like the far right Azov militia – who love Nazis these days, supported by the EU.

  • Twisting like a worm on a hook and won’t answer. That’s ok. I have an unfair advantage. For over 50 years I was a devout believer. I had over 100 scripture verses memorized. I know your playbook. I’m conversant with your doctrines. I can easily slip into the patois of a believer.

    Then I took a journey where facts, logic, and evidence, became the measure of my views. I no longer subscribe to the idea of some cosmic accountant with a clipboard is keeping a tally on my misdeeds, or that some guy with a forked tail named Stan tempts me to do wrong.

    I agree with Sagan. Religion is the vestige of pre-literate people attempting to explain why it thunders. Science truly is a candle in the dark.

  • Please don’t feel sorry for me. I am free of dogma that bound me and kept me guilt-riddened, shamed, and suffering low self-esteem for much of my life. I don’t miss it a wit, any more than I long to believe in Santa Claus again. I don’t need a comforting story to chase away the terrors of death. I don’t need the expectation of eternal reward to motivate me to do good in this life.

  • How is my arrogance “reassuring”? Speak plainly.

    And of course, you mean exactly the opposite of what you say. You hope I do not have a peaceful death. Your words are poison and not well meant. Good job. You just failed as a representative of Christ. But then, again, you never really were.

  • Nope. I hope as the years pass by you turn back to God and accept him back into your life.
    I wonder what life event has angered you so much…..

  • Actually, thank you for your last. No snark. I believe your last question sincere, and so I will try to answer with sincerity, too.

    I was, for more than 50 years, a devout Mormon. I held a fair number of leadership callings while a member. Some people flourish in the so-called church. It was always ill-fitting for me. Yet I internalized all of my cognitive dissonance and believed I was inherently defective for many reasons–for decades. It never occurred to me to the church might not be what it claimed to be–for decades.

    Suffice it to say, I made major life decisions (such as when to marry, when to have children, leaving for 18 months to be a missionary, etc.), was a lesser husband and father, suffered much guilt and shame, only to realize the entire enterprise was a sham. The individual and institutional hypocricy became apparent. I felt duped, betrayed, and my world completely upended. I was stupefied at the massive effort, money (10% of my gross earnings year in and year out), and effort I had expended only to realize it was all based on a false narrative the leadership knowingly foisted on its members.

    I’ve been deprogramming for about 4 years. Fortunately, my wife left with me. My marriage immediately improved as we shrugged off all the responsibilities the church heaped upon us. As much as my comments may suggest otherwise, I am mostly happy and love my new life. But at times, the resentment comes out. And, so, there you are. Maybe some of that clarifies things.

  • Nope. Just a sign that evangelicals have poor judgment in making evaluations on the character of others.

    Much like you do not trust someone who likes well done steak to order for you at a restaurant or a frequent MD20/20 drinker as a somnelier

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