Supreme Court: Execution of Muslim inmate can proceed

This undated file photo from the Alabama Department of Corrections shows inmate Domineque Ray. A federal appeals court has stayed the execution of Ray, a Muslim inmate in Alabama who says the state is violating his religious rights by not allowing an imam at his lethal injection. The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals granted the stay Feb. 6, 2019, a day before the scheduled lethal injection of Ray. (Alabama Department of Corrections via AP)

ATMORE, Ala. (AP) — The U.S. Supreme Court rejected claims from a Muslim inmate who said his religious rights were being violated, clearing the way for the lethal injection to go forward Thursday (Feb. 7).

In a 5-4 decision, justices vacated a stay issued by the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that had been blocking the execution of Domineque Ray, 42.

Ray argued Alabama’s execution procedure favors Christian inmates because a Christian chaplain employed by the prison typically remains in the execution chamber during a lethal injection, but the state would not let his imam be present.

Justice Elena Kagan wrote in a dissent that the dissenting justice considered the decision to let the execution go forward “profoundly wrong.”

Attorneys for the state said Ray had ample opportunity to visit with his imam before his scheduled execution, that only prison employees are allowed in the chamber for security reasons, and that the imam can visit him before he’s led to the execution chamber and witness the execution from an adjoining room.

Prison system spokesman Bob Horton said Ray was visited by his imam both Wednesday and Thursday and that Ray again renewed a request to have the adviser present — the request that has been denied.

Other states generally allow spiritual advisers to accompany condemned inmates up to the execution chamber but not into it, said Robert Dunham, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center, which studies capital punishment in the United States.

Durham said did not know of any other state where the execution protocol calls for a Christian chaplain to be present in the execution chamber.

Ray was sentenced to death for the slaying of 15-year-old Tiffany Harville. The girl disappeared from her Selma home in July 1995, and her decomposing body was found in a cotton field a month later.

Ray was convicted in 1999 after another man, Marcus Owden, confessed to his role in the crime and implicated Ray. Owden told police that they had picked the girl up for a night out on the town and then raped her. Owden said that Ray cut the girl’s throat. Owden pleaded guilty to murder, testified against Ray and is serving a life sentence without parole.

A jury recommended the death penalty for Ray by an 11-1 vote.

Ray’s attorneys had also asked in legal filings to stay the execution on other grounds. Lawyers say it was not disclosed to the defense team that records from a state psychiatric facility suggested Owden suffered from schizophrenia and delusions.

The Supreme Court also rejected that claim Thursday.

(Kim Chandler writes for The Associated Press.)

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  • For fairness sake there shouldn’t be any clergy (including the chaplain) allowed in the chamber.

  • That might be an appropriate suit for the ACLU (which actually used to deal with civil liberties) to pursue.

    But as a reason to block and execution, it’s absurd.

  • Alabama is imposing state sponsored evangelical Christianity on the most vulnerable of all its citizens. The minister does not belong there.

    Alabama evangelicals are the same people who tried to put a pedophile/scofflaw/embezzler in the Senate

  • If you commit an unforgivable crime against innocent human beings, then I suppose you have already lost your rights to civil liberties. I do not derive any pleasure from the suffering of any human being. Keeping someone in a small cage for the rest their life until they go mad is cruel and expensive. When you are found guilty beyond a shadow of doubt, then a quick and painless death is all I am interest in.

  • To add, there were no clergy or chaplain for the fifteen year old girl that was raped and executed. So for those that believe in a balanced scale of justice, it is one way to balance the scale in the legitimate sense of the word.

  • There were no clergy or chaplain for the fifteen year old girl that was raped and executed. So for those that believe in a balanced scale of justice, it is one way to balance the scale in the legitimate sense of the word.

  • Get bent with that “what about the victim” garbage. The perpetrator was already given the harshest penalty society can give him. Justice was already served there. Balance was already restored. Anything else is just malicious nonsense.

    That is no excuse for deliberately mistreating a prisoner on death row. There is no excuse for ignoring requests for clergy prior to the execution. There is no function served by a mandatory appearance of a minister in the execution chamber. This is just Alabama evangelicals putting a tramp stamp on the proceedings.

  • Well, aren’t you a class act? “Get bent” … who cares about the victim, let’s coddle the swine that killed her. Your entire comment is nothing but “malicious nonsense.”

  • Justice was already served when the death sentence was delivered. Anything done afterwards is purely malicious revenge.

    The biggest flaw in the death penalty is that it is overused. It should be reserved for only the worst of the worst. IMO generally:
    1. Serial/mass killers
    2. Murder involving torture/sadism
    3. Murder for hire

    People who represent the worst of our society. In this case #2 applied here. ,

  • Burner account poster (probable sock puppet) came by to tone troll. Whatevs

    You can get bent too. You don’t give a flying crap about the victim here. You just want an excuse to attack people with some degree of social acceptance.

    The victim’s interests were served when the death penalty was handed out. Revenge is not justice. Looking to harm people beyond what was proportional and just is being nothing but malicious and immoral.

  • Civil liberties aren’t granted because people deserve them. They’re granted because they’re guaranteed by the Constitution, and without that guarantee society would quickly descend into chaos.

    For the record, I have no sympathy for Dominique Ray and I have no particular opinion on the merits of his claim that his religious rights were violated. The court has spoken and I accept that.

  • “What about the victim garbage”– I clearly said a “balanced scale” of justice. A balanced scale is not an absolute figure, but a sense fair turn about. And the victim is not just the girl, but every member of her family and the community that was sickened by the event. You opinion is noted and you are not alone, but that does not mean you should dismiss those who have a different sense of a balanced scale.

  • Rules is rules and you could get to work on changing the rules, instead of spending all your time on these sites.

  • Civil liberties are generally taken away when you commit an unforgivable crime. That is the nature of crime and punishment!

  • Posting on message boards doesn’t preclude social activism. Why assume one can’t do both?

  • Certain liberties are taken away at the discretion of the courts for the public good. Religious freedom is not one of those.

    By the way, “unforgiveable” doesn’t factor into the criminal justice system. “Unpardonable,” yes, but whether or not something can be forgiven is a moral and spiritual matter, not a legal one.

  • The death penalty is not severed until it is delivered. Justice is a concept. The family and friends and community who are alive to do all the suffering are not made whole by putting the murderer to sleep.

  • The First Amendment of the United States Constitution prohibits the making of any law respecting an establishment of religion. The murderer was free to worship as he wishes. If he were worshiping a just God before he went to prison, he would not have taken part in the rape and murder of an innocent young girl.

  • You can, but what I have written in the past testifies against me in the future. It’s called the written Word.

  • Your point about what Ray’s behavior says about his spirituality is a fair one. But, as with each and every one of us, the state of his soul is ultimately a matter between him and God alone.

    In any event, this case has nothing to do with the establishment clause.

  • The victim has not interest, she is dead. Society has an interest in setting an example for other rapists and murderers who would take your life or the life of your loved ones without any forethought of consequences. I am sure this was not his fist time to rape anyone.

  • God is just a concept, not physical being that controls the universe. If the Murderer was a true practicing Muslim, he would have prayed to God for favor and guidance that day, at least five times.

    If the event has nothing to do with the established clause, then religion should not enter into this as an established right on the same basis.

  • I don’t think you understand the establishment clause. This is not a matter of the state establishing a religion. It’s a matter of whether or not an individual was denied the right to practice his religion.

    As I said, I have no opinion on his particular case.

  • You really don’t give a crap about the victims at all or their family. You just want an excuse to attack people in a socially acceptable format. Your concern here is entirely fictitious nonsense.

    A life for a life is not good enough for you? It is for society. Your desire for further punishment is nothing more than malice for its own sake. It has no moral or legal support. Society has no interests in torturing and abusing people after delivering the heaviest penalty it can legally bestow. Wanton torture demeans society and any pretension of justice

    BTW rapists do not get the death penalty simply for that act, only murderers get it.

    Thanks for acknowledging I was responding to a sockpuppet

  • Certainly there were no chaplains allowed in the cotton field where 15-year-old Tiffany Harville was brutal ly raped and killed.

  • You are full of crap here with phony concern for the victim and family.

    “So for those that believe in a balanced scale of justice, it is one way to balance the scale in the legitimate sense of the word.”

    -followed by –

    “A balanced scale is not an absolute figure, but a sense fair turn about”

    So obviously balance only matters when you want it to matter. Justice and proportionality mean zilch to you. It is whatever is convenient for how you feel at the time.

    Again, a life for a life is as balanced and just as you should expect out of society. Anything else is simply being malicious for its own sake. Which apparently really is your motivation here. I have zero belief you are support such measures out of your empathy for the victim’s family. You are simply trying to act in a smug self-righteous manner.

  • Not sure why it would be such a terrible thing to allow the Imam in. The decision is technically fair, but capital punishment in general is monstrous.

  • Well it is an example of Alabama establishing evangelical christianity as the sole religion to be represented to those being executed. It is a perfect example on how violating the separation of church and state also attacks free exercise of religion.

  • You just want an excuse to torture people for your own amusement. Your concern for the victims and their families is complete and utter bullcrap.

  • I suspect this does show some bias toward evangelical Christianity or, more to the point, against Islam. But the fact that Ray was allowed a visit from his imam earlier, plus the fact that the state would allow him to see the imam up to the time he’s led into the chamber blurs the issue. I defer to the judgment of the courts.

  • The Alabama law does not require an evangelical Christian minister.

    The attorneys for Ray knew well in advance the prison’s policy.

  • He has the right to sit in his cell and practice his religion all day long. No one prevented him from having the–
    Buddhist Sacred Texts: The Sutras
    Christian Sacred Texts: The Bible
    Hindu Sacred Texts: The Vedas or “Books of Knowledge”
    Islamic Sacred Texts: The Quran and Hadith or the
    Jewish Sacred Texts: The Tanach, Mishnah

  • Of course the question of what a chaplain is doing in the execution chamber seemed to have gone completely unaddressed.

    If the convict is seeing their own clergy prior to the execution, there is no need for this state funded clergy later.

  • There is nothing in the article or the order vacating the stay about “state funded clergy”.

    Try something new: facts.

  • I don’t disagree. Unless it’s a specific requirement of a person’s religion that a cleric be present just after death for some sort of ritual function (such as anointing the body), I can’t think of any justification for not making the same rules for all religions.

  • “a life for a life is as balanced and just” A murderer’s life for an innocent life is a balanced scale? He also was involved in a rape of an innocent girl. How do you balance that scale? What he was a mass murderer or a serial murderer, or a serial rapist. How do you balance those scales??? Please give an academic response

  • “a life for a life is as balanced and just” A murderer’s life for an innocent life is a balanced scale?

    Yup. Going back as far as all benchmarks of rule of law that we know of. An “eye for an eye”, is not meant as a call for revenge, it is call for proportionality.

    One can only be execute once and our greatest penalty under our law and society is execution. Torture demeans our society, our laws and ourselves.

    Sorry if notions of civilization and rule of law go against your barely socially acceptable sadistic desires here.

  • Its your entire POV. Somehow the death penalty is not severe enough for you. You want this person to suffer beyond that. Hence the self righteous high horse and feigned concern for the victim and family.

  • This disturbs me. Why is only a Christian chaplain allowed to be present? If Alabama is recognizing a religious principle or belief for one religion, they need to recognize the same for other religions. By having only a Christian chaplain, Alabama has “established” a recognition of a religion that the state supports.

  • It’s called distributive justice.

    It is a requirement of the Natural Law that the State to the extent possible accomplish it since mankind lives in societies, and without justice, they collapse.

  • Whether or not any chaplain is present is at the discretion of the warden. It has zero to do with Alabama law.

    That pretty much clears away the rest of your comment.

    The Supreme Court found the objection to the warden’s decision untimely, and the 11 circuit’s grant of stay therefore an abuse of discretion.

    I keep waiting for someone to explain why having a religious personage on one side of the glass is a violation of rights, but six inches further away on the other is glass is to be commended.

  • “Why not let him have the other person with him, if he can be security cleared? The punishment is the hanging, not everything leading up to the hanging. If he got emotional support from the guy, why not?

  • It has a great deal to do with the law when a state government ignores a state government employee “establishing” recognition of a particular religion and failing to recognize any other religion. Don’t care if the Alabama laws cover that. The U. S. Constitution does cover it.

  • As the majority concluded, the time to bring that up came and went.

    Wardens of prisons have broad discretion.

    Since the SCOTUS is the final interpreter of the Constitution, apparently the U. S. Constitution does NOT cover it at that late date.

    This is not a First Amendment case.

  • Your reply doesn’t have anything to do with my post. Where did I say he or any of the condemned are entitled? I repeat: If you want to refuse non-christians representation in the chamber, fine by me. But that means no clergy go into the chamber. That’s fair.

    Please don’t assume I’m a liberal on law and order (I’m not) or that I have no compassion for that young woman (I do), which you assumed by your post.

  • “Ray was put on death row 20 years ago and was also serving life in prison for the killings of two teenage boys the year before 15-year-old Tiffany Harville was stabbed to death, the paper reported.” Sorry, I still think he should have had someone to support him. He may not have given that to his victims, but Christians don’t do things their way

  • Distributive Justice has nothing to do with criminal punishment. It is about the just distribution of goods within society.

    Natural Law makes an argument to allow Capital Punishment, but I have never seen a compelling argument that makes it required over life imprisonment. The argument I have seen that comes close is based on the proportionality of punishment, but that assumes that Justice must be punitive and has no place for mercy or a pursuit of the good.

  • Read my reply to floydlee. I guess I didn’t make myself clear.

    I don’t believe you can balance the scales. Nothing will really diminish the family’s pain and loss. All you can do is keep the miscreant from going back out into society and prevent him from repeating.

  • We should use the life for a life thingy with abortionists; we’d have a lot less abortions lickity-split.

  • You care so much for civilized society; yet you condone the execution of children at birth.
    Quite hypocritical.

  • I used “distributive” in error. I have corrected that.

    Retributive justice has everything to do with criminal punishment.

    When you write “I have never seen a compelling argument that makes it required over life imprisonment”, all you’re really saying is that you don’t care for capital punishment, nothing more.

    Retributive justice is a good itself. God delivers perfect retributive justice at the end.

    Mercy is personal.

    In monarchial systems the ruler granted mercy, in our system the chief executive grants mercy.

    Mercy is NEVER granted by the system of justice itself.

  • Was that their intent? The majority of death row inmates are Christians so it was probably not an issue until a Muslim inmate came along.

  • That was stupid. Evidently the entire point of fetus worship is to make ridiculous attack comments for its own sake.

    My posting history is an open book. Show me where I advocate killing children, the born.

    You condone turning women of child bearing age into property of the state.

    Its telling you have a similar desire to strip the humanity from other classes of people. Nothing hypocritical there. Just par for the course for immoral trolls.

  • The sole purpose of fetus worship is to make stupid comments on unrelated topics to demonstrate what kind of ignorant, dishonest immoral person a speaker is.

    We get it, you are a terrible person with no regard for people and real malice in your heart.

  • Do you have a point here, other than that you can Google the sacred texts of various religions?

  • Retributive Justice may not be applicable to Capital Punishment at all. Retributive Justice requires proportional punishment only to a degree, and not in a fashion that increases sin.

    However justified killing might be, it is still collusion with and participation in death and evil, and against the image of God and a person’s worth as a creature.

    So while the state may have the God-given ability to kill in its authority for meting out justice, it might not ever have true moral license based on retributive justice.

    As for God’s perfect justice at the end, it is also tied up in systemic mercy. The promise is that all creation will be renewed and that justice will flow like a mighty river. If retributive justice does not lead into penance and healing, then it ceases to be an apt reflection of what will happen at the end.

  • The issues you raise are all settled issues.

    Avery Cardinal Dulles outlined that in a seminal article eighteen years ago:

    “…. In the New Testament the right of the State to put criminals to death seems to be taken for granted. Jesus himself refrains from using violence. He rebukes his disciples for wishing to call down fire from heaven to punish the Samaritans for their lack of hospitality (Luke 9:55). Later he admonishes Peter to put his sword in the scabbard rather than resist arrest (Matthew 26:52). At no point, however, does Jesus deny that the State has authority to exact capital punishment. In his debates with the Pharisees, Jesus cites with approval the apparently harsh commandment, “He who speaks evil of father or mother, let him surely die” (Matthew 15:4; Mark 7:10, referring to Exodus 2l:17; cf. Leviticus 20:9). When Pilate calls attention to his authority to crucify him, Jesus points out that Pilate’s power comes to him from above-that is to say, from God (John 19:11). Jesus commends the good thief on the cross next to him, who has admitted that he and his fellow thief are receiving the due reward of their deeds (Luke 23:41).”

    “The early Christians evidently had nothing against the death penalty. They approve of the divine punishment meted out to Ananias and Sapphira when they are rebuked by Peter for their fraudulent action (Acts 5:1-11). The Letter to the Hebrews makes an argument from the fact that “a man who has violated the law of Moses dies without mercy at the testimony of two or three witnesses” (10:28). Paul repeatedly refers to the connection between sin and death. He writes to the Romans, with an apparent reference to the death penalty, that the magistrate who holds authority “does not bear the sword in vain; for he is the servant of God to execute His wrath on the wrongdoer” (Romans 13:4). No passage in the New Testament disapproves of the death penalty.”

    “Turning to Christian tradition, we may note that the Fathers and Doctors of the Church are virtually unanimous in their support for capital punishment, even though some of them such as St. Ambrose exhort members of the clergy not to pronounce capital sentences or serve as executioners. ….”

  • It’s common. According to a Pew survey of prison chaplains in 50 states, 85% are Christians including a 44% plurality who are evangelical Protestants. They handle all denominations.

  • But I wonder how many states put a chaplain in the execution chamber in addition to the one requested by the prisoner?

    Seems a bit redundant and the optics are not great for the state.

  • Please elaborate. The state of Alabama pays for a chaplain to minister to the spiritual needs of its prisoners.

  • You confuse authority and functional capability with moral license.

    The Roman government had the right and duty to mete out justice in its domain, but the punishment of Jesus was unjust. The same is true of the executions of the martyrs. The most famous uses of capital punishment revealed the failings of actually employing capital punishment.

    Early Church tradition affirms the authority of the pagan state to use capital punishment, but never calls it good. Christians were forbidden from acting as executioner.

  • No, you confuse your personal qualms with the Natural Law.

    The early Church tradition did not distinguish between pagan and Christian states because Christian states did not exist.

    The authority and morality of capital punishment predates Christianity – it is part of what we now call the Natural Law, what the Jews called the Noahide law.

    It is part of the natural order of a species which lives in societies.

    In fact Jesus punishment vis a vis Roman law was just. The injustice lay with the High Priest and his party.

    If retributive justice requires proportionality, there must be a punishment proportionate to a crime like that of Timothy McVeigh. And there is – capital punishment.

  • I think the U.S. constitution does cover it but the court chose not to deal with it. Perhaps someone who brings this up earlier will have a chance to have this looked at as the constitutional issue I think it is. This privileges one faith over other faiths.

  • We can agree or disagree with SCOTUS opinions, but if it doesn’t find a violation, that concludes it for that case.

    What seems to have happened here is that an individual who had twenty years to make arrangements for an imam failed to do so until the last minute.

    Bad planning or lack of planning is not a constitutional issue.

  • The sole purpose of calling opposition to ranking human lives in value so that some of them can be disposed for convenience it to place a definitional fig leaf over a really quite horrible inhumane procedure so one can keep voting for the party whose platform calls abortion a basic human right.

    We get it, you are horrible person who knows which human lives she values and which she wishes to sell for parts.

  • Alabama does not place a chaplain in the execution chamber.

    Unless, of course, they are executing a chaplain.

  • Christians claimed they lived under the rule of King Jesus. The Church was a state within the state, so to speak. And even as agents of the state, they were barred from killing by the Church. There were forbidden to repay evil with evil.

    Pilate washed his hands because the killing was unjust, even as he used his authority to order it. It is a clear case where having the authority to kill did not mean killing was just. The Romans were just as guilty of injustice as the ones asking them to kill.

    Capital punishment is not proportional to the killing of multiple people. There already exists there a disproportion to a degree that cannot be solved through capital punishment. So if we are to settle upon near proportionality rather than perfectly proportional punishment, life imprisonment becomes a tenable option.

    Taken with the Early Church’s teaching that Christians are morally forbidden from killing, and the simple truth that killing is not necessitated by Natural Law but only permitted to the state, a state governed by Christians has the authority to kill, but no moral license for doing so.

  • Christians are citizens of the Church and of the State.

    That is why they can fight in wars to preserve their country, home, and family.

    Christians were NOT prohibited from carrying out executions.

    Pilate washed his hands because he was left with no choice. The crime for claiming kingship in the Roman Empire was death, he could see the High Priest had rigged the charge to conflate a religious claim with a civil claim, but Jesus refused to defend himself.

    Capital punishment is proportional to the killing of ONE person.

    Your last paragraph outlines a position which both historically and today is held by a minority of Christians, the sects which preach total pacificism.

  • Christians were eventually permitted to fight for the state and carry out executions, but this is a reversal from the teachings of the Early Fathers and the Early Church.

    “Above all Christians are not allowed to correct by violence sinful wrongdoings.” -Clement of Alexandria

    “You cannot demand military service of Christians any more than you can of priests. We do not go forth as soldiers with the Emperor even if he demands this.” -Origen

    “But now inquiry is being made concerning these issues. First, can any believer enlist in the military? Second, can any soldier, even those of the rank and file or lesser grades who neither engage in pagan sacrifices nor capital punishment, be admitted into the church? No on both counts.” -Tertullian

    “For when God forbids us to kill, he not only prohibits us from open violence, which is not even allowed by the public laws, but he warns us against the commission of those beings which are esteemed lawful among men….Therefore, with regard to this precept of God, there ought to be no exception at all, but that it is always unlawful to put to death a man, whom God willed to be a sacred animal.” -Lactanius

    You seem to not understand that Jesus’ kingship is valid. If Rome’s laws against claiming kingship truly applied even to valid claims, then the law itself was unjust. Pilate would theoretically never have a choice when and where to apply the law, but he recognized a peculiar guilt in ordering Christ’s death.

    Capital punishment can never be fully proportional in terms of quality or quantity. The murder of a victim is always qualitatively different from that of an executed culprit. The life span denied can never be known.

    An argument could be made for capital punishment as a lesser evil, but that still makes it an evil, not a good.

  • Sorry if the point went over your head. –The murderer has a right to practice his religion and even have access to any religious text of his choosing. That does not mean that he has a right to a cleric of his choice in his cell based on an established clause.

  • That is your idea, not mine. Maybe his last request to ease his mental anguish should have been for a bottle of bourbon and some heroin. I don’t see anything in the Constitution that would prevent it. There is no feigned concern for the victim as I have victims in my own family. Trying to make it personal shows how weak your argument is.

  • It’s “establishment” clause, not “established.” And no one is arguing that he was denied the right to practice his faith. The issue is whether or not he should be allowed the same privilege as Christians who are executed to have a clergy person present in the chamber at the time of execution. As I’ve stated several times now, I have no particular opinion on this specific case.

    If you don’t mind a word of advice, sometimes less is more when it comes to posting on these boards. Superfluous verbiage (like the gratuitous listing of a bunch of religious texts) doesn’t help make your point.

  • You have judged me completely, even calling me sadistic because my only desire is to have him put to sleep as soon as possible. I think you should sign a document and have it notarized that if someone should commit an act of murder and rape against you or your family members, that you do not want a hair on his head harmed. And then you while have bought your way into heaven. Sarcasm intended

  • That’s not what you were saying here. You are trying revisionism a little too early.

    Your concern for the victims and family here is phony. Just an excuse to want to be malicious towards someone who is already facing the worst punishment our laws can give. Not buying it for a minute.

  • As much as you try to make it about me, it is not about me. As far as you not buying it, that is not my problem. It that were my daughter that was viciously raped and murdered, I would expect you to show more concern for me and not the perpetrator. That is obviously not the case. You probably call yourself a Christian.

  • You would have less abortions and millions of more unwanted children born to unwed teenage girls without a committed partner. Every woman has a right to decide when she wants to start a family and with whom.

  • Why would a child be unwanted?
    Why would an unwed teenage girl be pregnant without a committed partner?
    Looking for you to answer this and more on the Sin article comment section.

  • Because many times two young people in the height of their sexual peak get to hot to stop, and sometimes a pregnancy is the result, even with the precautions. Now the young woman is faced with some choices, hence the words “pro-choice. It is not your choice, it is hers.

  • What you are saying is that torture can be defined as what ever you want it to be. For me, being locked in a small cage/prison like an animal is torture.

  • Didn’t say that. But I have some pretty clear ideas as to what constitutes it. As does everyone who isn’t a former GW Bush cabinet member.

  • Just the opposite Spuddie. You do not see me resorting to the popular and phone “laughing out loud” line. If you had a better answer you would have posted it, instead of trying to be cute.

  • LOL! You reserve your phoniness for your concern about the victim and family. All as a pretext to say, “lets treat this guy like crap for the hell of it!”.

    Yes he is a convicted murderer/rapist, but he was also already on death row. Justice was already served. Nothing was gained by your position here.

  • “‘Above all Christians are not allowed to correct by violence sinful wrongdoings.’ -Clement of Alexandria”

    Executing the laws of the state was not sinful.

    “‘You cannot demand military service of Christians any more than you can of priests. We do not go forth as soldiers with the Emperor even if he demands this.’ -Origen”

    Origen believed (Contra Celsum 8) that while Christians should not personally serve as soldiers, they should still pray for Roman victory (in wars which were just). His was a minority opinion and faded away.

    Ditto Tertullian, who despised Greek philosophy and believed Plato, Aristotle, and other Greek thinkers were the patriarchal forefathers of the heretics (De anima, iii.).

    Lactanius makes interesting reading, but he is hardly a model of Christian orthodoxy.

    So, yes there was disputation in the early church, but pacifism and the rejection of both the natural law and the Christian’s citizenship in the world itself were rejected.

    “You seem to not understand that Jesus’ kingship is valid.”

    But Jesus said his kingdom was not of this world, which is what the views of the early Christians you cite depend on.

    By far the greatest portion of Christians believe capital punishment can be fully proportional in terms of quality or quantity.

    Article XXXVII, “Of the Civil Magistrates”, of the Church of England for one example states clearly that:

    “The Laws of the Realm may punish Christian men with death for heinous and grievous offences.”

    “It is lawful for Christian men at the commandment of the Magistrate to wear weapons and serve in the wars.”

    So says the Orthodox, the Catholics, Southern Baptists, and on and on.

  • You implied it! Sorry, but I served in the sixties when the government said it was OK to kill the Godless Communists, drop more bombs than in all of WWII, defoliate their jungles and crops with cancer causing agents that made us sick as well.

    I was 23rd Infantry, 11th Light Infantry Brigade, Americal Division, fire base San Juan Hill, Tet Counter Offensive. Recommended for the Presidential Unit Citation Award (14 July 1969) for being in 13 major battles within a two month period against well trained and equipped NVA units throughout the “Battle of Duc Pho District” — I am not proud of what they had me to do over there. I witnessed real torture and watched good men on both sides die for no reason what so ever.

  • Now you are just rambling here.

    Frankly spouting your alleged service record (we are in an online discussion, I have no reason to take anyone’s self described history at face value) doesn’t do anything to advance your alleged argument forward.

    Neither does equivocation and making crap up about what I was saying either.

  • There wasn’t much dispute in the early church. There was very little voice given to allowing military service until the 250’s. That it was suddenly decided as Constantine came to power, and not along theological lines but through blanket affirmation, has always left it in question.

    Jesus’ kingdom is not of the world, but that does not mean it is not in it and includes it.

    Yes, nation states and traditions tied to them have given into the worldly demands for blood. Even so, they only speak of it being “lawful” or “permitted.” Bloodshed is never made a requirement or a good.

  • There was considerable dispute, and I addressed your further points in a follow-up post.

    As the article from Avery Cardinal Dulles made clear, capital punishment was biblical, much more than “worldly demands for blood”.

    Providing retributive justice is not optional for the state, it is mandatory.

  • So let me get this straight….
    One poor decision leads to an even poorer decision called a choice?!
    Wow; if it’s not called sin – let’s call it for what it is:
    Poor moral foundation.
    Poor planning.
    Poor decision to commit the act.
    Poor decision during the act – tough I know.
    Lack of responsibility (called selfishness) to accept the results of the poor decision.
    Which leads to the poorest of all decisions; the taking of innocent life.
    Those are all synonyms for the word sin.

  • Polygamy and slavery are “biblical” in much the same way, but we don’t take those as moral examples.

  • No, polygamy and slavery are inconsistent with the Natural Law.

    Self-defense is consistent with the Natural Law.

    Living in a society is consistent with the Natural Law, as are laws to make it a just society.

    The administration of justice to ensure those laws mean something is consistent with the Natural Law.

    Retributive justice is a requirement of the state in Natural Law.

  • Not if Natural law is interchangeable with Noahtide law.

    Self-defense is not the higher path witnessed to by Christ, the apostles, and the martyrs.

    Capital punishment is also not self-defense. There is no good to come out of execution, not even preservation of life.

    Retibutive justice is not an all-encompassing requirement. Otherwise, we could not be saved.

  • The State is not called to the higher path. It has no soul. It only has duties and functions under the Natural Law.

    The State and Natural Law preexist Christianity. Christianity did not extinguish the Natural Law.

    Capital punishment MAY be defense of the State. That depends on the conditions in the place and time considered.

    The good which comes out of execution is the accomplishment of retributive justice. It preserves society by making clear that the laws are just, thus gaining the laws respect which is required for their observation, and by decreasing the rise of vigilantism in the absence of just laws and punishments.

    Retributive justice is an absolute requirement of any justice system. God is NOT a justice system but the Author of the Natural Law. He alone can dispense from it.

  • The state is a creation. As a creation, it is called to renewal and the higher path. Natural Law means seeking the ends of that glorified creation is ordained towards. You seemed to understand that earlier.

  • No, the state has no soul. Renewal and the higher path are means of salvation for mankind.

    The state will whether and disappear in the New Earth and New Heaven.

    The Natural Law will be superseded.

    In the meantime, the role of the state is to organize a just society by means of just laws duly administered to safeguard the public good.

    The primary requirement of just laws is that they be proportionate to the gravity of the offense.

    The Catholic Church’s Catechism puts it this way:

    2266 The efforts of the state to curb the spread of behavior harmful to people’s rights and to the basic rules of civil society correspond to the requirement of safeguarding the common good. Legitimate public authority has the right and duty to inflict punishment proportionate to the gravity of the offense. Punishment has the primary aim of redressing the disorder introduced by the offense. When it is willingly accepted by the guilty party, it assumes the value of expiation. ….. Luke 23:40-43

  • Renewal is promised to all creation. Nothing is mentioned in scripture about a requirement of souls.

    Natural Law points towards and is congruent with the next age.

    The Cathecism also teaches against the death penalty. The requirement for retribution is not ultimately fulfilled in execution rather than imprisonment.

  • “Renewal is promised to all creation.”

    At the Second Coming.

    “Nothing is mentioned in scripture about a requirement of souls.” is simply an error. Animals, inanimate objects, and corporate entities are not evangelized.

    Natural Law is not congruent with the next age, when heaven and earth are made new.

    The Catechism has been revised twice to highly recommend reducing the application of or refraining from using the death penalty. However, it cannot “teach” against the death penalty since a settled teaching cannot be repealed.

    In fact the death penalty is the appropriate retributive justice for the most horrendous crimes, which is why in the Scripture I cited Jesus tells the repentant criminal he will be in Heaven that very day. In accepting the just punishment for his crimes, he expiates his guilt.

  • And yet it does now teach against the death penalty. An authority to use the death penalty is recognized, but its actual use is diabolical in the current state of affairs.

    The criminal is not told that he will reach paradise for receiving his punishment, otherwise the other criminal would receive such a promise as well. Instead, he receives Christ’s promise as a blessing for trusting in Jesus and recognizing his kingship.

  • You can’t make this stuff up.

    This is about the looniest exchange I have seen here in a long time. Think I’ll go watch Twilight Zone.

  • Born-from-above, fired-up and die-hard followers of THE Christ Jesus of the gospels, epistles and revelation, couldn’t care less to remember that yesterday Domineque Ray was executed in Alabama by lethal injection and without his religious leader present.

    What they’ll never forget, however, is that 23 YEARS AND 7 MONTHS AGO, “on the evening of July 15, 1995, [Marcus D.] Owden and [Domineque] Ray picked Tiffany [Harville] up and proceeded to take her to [the] Sardis community located in Dallas County, Alabama, on or near Highway 41. Owden … described during his testimony how he and the Defendant Ray [had] had sex with her and how she [had] pleaded for help. Owden testified that Ray cut her throat and that he, Owden, cut her as well. He then described that they took part of her clothing along with her purse, which contained $6 or $7. … Dr. [James] Lauridson, the State Medical Examiner with the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences, described 12 defects in the skull which were consistent with stab-like defects.”

    Source: “Dominique RAY v. STATE of Alabama, CR-06-2143, Decided February 04, 2011”.

  • And the act of “sex … cut[ting] her throat … 12 defects in the skull” – “in general is [NOT] monstrous”?!

    And the fact that “13 hours ago” you ignored to note the act of “sex … cut[ting] her throat … 12 defects in the skull” – “in general is [NOT] monstrous”?!

  • Oh, but I am honestly convinced that you are not a liberal (okay, maybe there’s one or two positions in there that gotta be hashed out, but for the most part, including here, you don’t seem like a liberal.) Nor do I see you as lacking any sympathy for the victim.

    But having said that, I still agree with the USSC decision. I think I support this rotten crook’s right to petition the USSC on this issue, but indeed he did so. They gave him a straight answer (a 5-4 answer, but still an answer). So that’s that. He got his fairness. The girl got none.

  • It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man’s fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of stupidity. It is an area which we call the Tater Zone.

  • As much as Francis wishes otherwise, the Church cannot teach against the death penalty. The use of the death penalty is a settled teaching.

    Whether its actual use is diabolical in the current state of affairs depends on facts and circumstances which change from place to place and time to time. It is a prudential judgment whose application rightly belongs to the people and the secular authority.

    Francis is entitled to an opinion, but he cannot bind anyone in conscience to it.

    The criminal is told that he will be in Paradise that very day. The reason is because he is penitent and accepts just punishment for his deeds. The other criminal did not, and in fact mocked Jesus.

  • In reading a bit more on Origen and Tertullian I may have found the source of their objection to military service:


    “A related problem was that Roman military service was bound up with Roman religion; Tertullian’s On idolatry identified the taking of an oath to the state to be un-Christian, and moreover, Roman military standards (signa militaria) were given special reverence, placed in a sanctuary in the camp so that soldiers could pay homage – these were signs of the gods-given authority of the emperor. Origen, similarly, said that since all authority comes from God, it is not right to give this honour to Caesar. Several Christian soldiers were martyred towards the end of the third century for refusal to perform army rites, objection to the idolatrous nature of the signa militaria, etc. This was intensified under the persecution of Diocletian, who issued edicts to require all soldiers to take part in sacrifices and other rites – the intention being to get rid of Christians in the army, which implies that there must have been a substantial number of Christians there to be purged. So any prohibition on military service, on the part of Christian leaders, was not being well enforced at this time.”

    “After the conversion of Constantine to Christianity, the force of many of these objections was removed, and subsequent authors find little difficulty in commending Christians to military service. This is the case for Lactantius and Eusebius for example, who were both very pro-Constantine and regarded him as being on a divinely-approved mission. After Constantine we find many graves of soldiers whose inscriptions record their Christian faith in addition to their military service.”

    So the objections of Origen and Tertullian were bound up with the Roman belief in the Emperor as divine and the requirement to offer pagan worship.

  • Let me simplify it: Not necessarily a bad decision but ending in an unwanted pregnancy by accident. Now, do I start a family before I have finished my education, without the financial ability to start a family, without a committed partner or do I resolve the issue immediately. It is a choice, and it is not your choice. Your choice is to judge how moral everyone is tell them they are all sinners. You must be without sin, so do not worry, you will get into heaven and be with the virgins and angles.

    By your standards no one would take a risk on having any sex unless they intended to make babies. That is fine for you, but you should not insist that everyone live by standards you have set for yourself.

  • Your answer is yes. Yes, you do accept responsibility for your actions; as we all should.
    The sad part is that ; we end another’s life (that we helped create); because it affects my current comfort.

  • You made up your own rules about what constitutes torture. You said specifically “I have some pretty clear ideas as to what constitutes it”, and then you bring up the Bush Cabinet. I brought up my military service to define what real torture is and we had clerics come to the field to bless us, while we were killing people in their own Country, dropping more bombs than in all of WWII, and defoliating their jungles and crops with cancer causing agents, which made us sick as well. Twenty-thousand Vietnam veterans came home and killed themselves. How do we balance those scales with your morality???

  • I never even implied to treat him like crap, I am just not concerned with his sudden need to connect with Allah or what he has ordered for his last meal. His morality is that if this young girl was willing to get in the car with them, then she deservers what she got.

  • “Cruel and unusual punishment” Notice that they put “cruel and unusual” together, because putting someone in a small cage/prison for the rest of their life, with the constant chatter of criminals who would rob, rape, or beat them given an opportunity, and zero privacy is the cruelest thing I can think of, but it is not unusual.

  • You are free to make all the babies that you wish, but that decision is not for everybody. If you are not ready to start a family, you have to make a responsible decision.

  • To me it’s about fairness. Set your rules but apply them fairly. In the religious context it wasn’t fair. However, it has absolutely nothing to do with his need to pay for his crime and he had adequate time with his imam. I read that the Alabama chaplain will no longer go into the chamber. Problem solved.

    In my opinion, either the Right nor the Left have all the answers or are right 100% of the time. So why would I want to be locked into either of these labels? It’s hard to vote because it then becomes a binary decision and both parties are moving farther apart.

  • While I am sure that Origen, Terullian, and other Early Christians may have pointed to such pagan rites as evidence of the idolatry bound up in killing, that is not a stated modis operendi behind their objection to execution and military service.

    They continuously hammer on the example of Christ and the Apostles in refusing to repay violence with violence, even where it would be “justified.” They would take passages like Isaiah 2:4 and argue that it demonstrates that the use of Iron for weapons is itself a sacrilege. They would teach that it is better to die than to kill.

    These aren’t objections to state employment that requires idolatry, but assertions that positions that require killing are sinful and idolatrous in and of themselves.

  • Oh, they acknowledge that capital punishment is within the power of the state. But the new teaching is contiguous to the old, which taught that it was a lesser evil and not an actual good. Execution could be a means for curbing sin, but did not contribute to justice in and of itself.

    Now that the prison system is what it is, and the resources for disarming and potentially rehabilitating offenders to some level exist, the death penalty has become inexcusable. The allowance the Church made for it morally no longer holds.

    If Natural Law is only transitory, and if the Church has the power to bind and loose, it can refine its teaching in this way.

  • End the idiocy of prison and military chaplains by posting the following Great Kibosh of All Religions on the gates of all prisons and military buildings:

    Putting the kibosh on all religion in less than ten
    seconds: Priceless !!!

    As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Abraham i.e. the foundations of Judaism,
    Christianity and Islam are non-existent.

    As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Moses i.e the pillars of Judaism,
    Christianity and Islam have no strength of purpose.

    There was no Gabriel i.e. Islam fails as a religion. Christianity partially fails.

    There was no Easter i.e.Christianity completely fails as a religion.

    There was no Moroni i.e.Mormonism is nothing more than a business cult.

    Sacred/revered cows, monkey gods, castes, reincarnations and therefore Hinduism fails as a religion.

    Fat Buddhas here, skinny Buddhas there, reincarnated/reborn Buddhas everywhere makes for a no on

    A constant cycle of reincarnation until enlightenment is reached and belief that various beings
    (angels?, tinkerbells? etc) exist that we, as mortals, cannot comprehend makes for a no on Sikhism.

    Added details available upon written request.

    A quick search will put the kibosh on any other groups
    calling themselves a religion.

    e.g. Taoism

    “The origins of Taoism are unclear. Traditionally,
    Lao-tzu who lived in the sixth century is regarded as its founder. Its early
    philosophic foundations and its later beliefs and rituals are two completely
    different ways of life. Today (1982) Taoism claims 31,286,000 followers.

    Legend says that Lao-tzu was immaculately conceived by a
    shooting star; carried in his mother’s womb for eighty-two years; and born a
    full grown wise old man. “

  • “I’m Talking Tater, and you are full of crap.”

    Seriously though, this is hilarious. One atheist gratuitously attacking another, and attackee calling attacker a Christian. Priceless.

  • “Oh, they acknowledge that capital punishment is within the power of the state. But the new teaching is contiguous to the old, which taught that it was a lesser evil and not an actual good.”

    For a “new teaching” to teach that retributive justice is not a good, but an evil, would be a contradiction of the prior teaching.

    “Execution could be a means for curbing sin, but did not contribute to justice in and of itself.”

    It has no other lawful purpose. Attempting to convert a good to an evil and refute the Natural Law to back into a prudential judgment is sophistry.

    “If Natural Law is only transitory, and if the Church has the power to bind and loose, it can refine its teaching in this way.”

    Natural Law is transitory only in the sense that everything else in this creation is transitory: it will not be relevant in an amended creation. Death will be abolished, for example, as will sin.

    In this fallen creation, however, Natural Law is not transitory. The Church, for example, will never be able to declare same sex “marriage” to be moral.

  • They pointed to the idolatry required to be in the military as the reason a Christian could not join the Roman Army.

    They can hardly hammer on the example of Christ and the Apostles since neither Christ nor the Apostles ever spoke against either war or punishment for crime.

    You’re conflating moral precepts for the individual into directives to the State, whose job is completely different than the individual’s.

  • You keep saying that Retributive Justice is fixed in Natural Law, but that doesn’t seem true at all. Aquinas wrote of penalty only as a means to the ends of peace, justice, and virtue. Even where he seems to interpret justice in terms of retribution, it is not at the expense of peace and virtue.

    Justice that enters into vice and which is not centered upon peace is not true justice. If defaming the image of God through killing is wrong, then to execute when other options are available is also wrong. It does not build peace anymore than imprisonment, it does not develop virtue, and it is not ultimately just.

  • EMILY LITELLA: “The Great Shish Kebab? ‘Shish kebab is a popular meal of skewered and grilled cubes of meat. It is similar to or synonymous with a dish called shashlik, which is found in the Caucasus region. It is one of the many types of kebab, a range of meat dishes originating in the Middle East. In English, the word kebab alone often refers to shish kebab, though outside of North America, kebab may also mean doner kebab. It is traditionally made of lamb but there are also versions with beef or veal, swordfish and chicken meat . In Turkey, shish kebab and the vegetables served with it are grilled separately, normally not on the same skewer.'”

    RAT CON: “That’s the Great Kibosh of All Religions, Ms. Litella. Not Great Shish Kebab. Great Kibosh.”

    EMILY LITELLA: “Oh, that’s very different. Never mind!”

  • You’re making mincemeat out of Aquinas.

    A society with laws which provide proportional penalties to fit crimes, a justice system to administer and enforce the, enhances peace and virtue rather than detriments them.

    Since, therefore, capital punishment itself is not vice, it is not opposed to justice.

    God forbade murder, not killing.

  • No, they didn’t just point to the necessary idolatry. I haven’t even found a citation where they mention it. Every quote I find has to do with rejecting violence as a Christian viewpoint.

    “Christ, in disarming Peter, disarmed every soldier.” -Tertullian

    “We Christians cannot endure to see a man being put to death, even justly.” -Athenagoras

    “The professions and trades of those who are going to be accepted into the community must be examined. The nature and type of each must be established… brothel, sculptors of idols, charioteer, athlete, gladiator…give it up or be rejected. A military constable must be forbidden to kill, neither may he swear; if he is not willing to follow these instructions, he must be rejected. A proconsul or magistrate who wears the purple and governs by the sword shall give it up or be rejected. Anyone taking or already baptized who wants to become a soldier shall be sent away, for he has despised God.”- Hippolytus

    The Early Church thought Jesus’ example was enough.

    The state is a creation that is ordered towards justice and peace, as are individuals.

  • I provided the quotation and website:


    You’re beginning to chase your own tail.

    The Early Church brought forward the moral laws from the Old Testament as well as the Natural Law.

    The state forms a society ordered towards justice and peace by making just laws with proportional punishments and enforcing them.

  • A fertilized egg, fetus, and embryo are not people, they have no more consciousness than a chicken egg, and if you are a religious person, they are all without sin so they can go right back to heaven and await another host.

    As far as affecting one’s current comfort, our current comfort is affected by everything so we act on it, whether it is killing innocent animals because we are hungry, going to war because of fear, invading another Country for economic reasons, or polluting and poisoning the atmosphere and ground water with cancer causing agents because it is expedient for business and profits. Just trying to feed 7.5 billion people everyday and keeping up with waste management is overwhelming for those who already exist. You are probably from a privileged class that does not have to worry about those things. Even in the US we have 40 million people on food assistance. Are you keeping score on everyone’s morality or just the one’s that terminate an unwanted pregnancy?????????

  • A society with laws can enhance peace and virtue, but does not necessarily do so.

    God still looked down upon killing. He would not allow David to build the temple because he was a warrior who had spilled blood. (1 Chron 28: 3)

    There is also the example of Jesus refusing to make use of legions of angels in his defense (Matt 26:23) and telling Peter to sheath his sword (John 18:11).

    God looks down on taking human life in general. We might argue that there are times it was necessary, but even that was as a lesser evil, not an act towards the actual good.

  • He doesn’t deserve his own clergy at the execution chamber because…..? (Followed by your fake concern for the victim and family)

    You are saying that you don’t have a point to make and was wasting time here. Oh well

  • Most people incarcerated get out eventually. Executed people do not.

    Prisons would be saner places if they weren’t so overcrowded with minor drug offenders who probably could have been given saner sentences. Added to that the incentive of private detention centers to pack people into inhunane conditions to maximize profit. Which in turn fuel lobbying for increasing incarceration percentages. “Tough on crime” typically means being corrupt and in the pocket of incarceration business

  • It is the nature of human society (hint: Natural Law) that human beings form societies. In order to do so, laws with punishments are required.

    In order to be just, laws must be proportionate to the offense.

    God did not forbid killing. At time God commanded killing.

    Jesus did not refuse to make use angels in his defense because he was against killing. He did so because he born to suffer and die.

    God forbids the unjust taking of human life (murder).

    God commands justice.

    Therefore, since human societies are natural to human beings, and in order to achieve their purposes must have laws which levy proportionate punishments, a just punishment cannot be evil, and therefore capital punishment is not intrinsically evil.

    The issues surrounding inept or unjust administration of punishments, including the death penalty, are a separate discussion.


  • Someone actually claimed to have put the kibosh on all religion in less than ten seconds?!?
    And they want it posted on the gates of all prisons and military buildings?!?

    Post THIS by Paul instead from 1 Corinthians 15:

    For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that

    –he appeared to Cephas,
    –and then to the Twelve.
    –After that,he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time,
    –Then he appeared to James,
    –then to all the apostles,
    –and last of all he appeared to me also, …

    For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

  • No, you are being obtuse. Torture can be looking at a beautiful woman everyday and not being able to be with her. Torture can be when the doctor tells you that you can no longer eat your favorite foods. And I repeat– putting someone in a small cage/prison for the rest of their life, with the constant chatter of criminals who would rob, rape, or beat them, given an opportunity, and zero privacy is the cruelest thing I can think of. Just put them to sleep.

  • Minor drug offenders that killed each other over territory or sale drugs without a license. Do you think it is a victimless crime. Do you think a small fine will stop them. I cannot even sell sandwiches on the street without a license an a permit. Who checks these drugs for purity, freshness, and potency? That is why so many people get sick and even die each year from street drugs, or ingest impurities without knowing. What happens to you when you, Mr. hard working American, get caught cheating on his tax return? People who sell street drugs do not have any consequences for not filing a return. What does a balanced scale look like to you. How do you keep order in your community without taking repeat offenders and career criminals off the streets, especially in neighborhoods where people have to live behind barred windows and doors and are afraid to walk to the store after dark??????? Where are their civil liberties?

  • Addressing the historic inauthenticity of the
    post-resurrection sightings of Jesus of Nazareth.

    -The empty tomb myth
    Mark 16:1-8
    = Matt 28:1-10 = Luke 24:1-11
    (1b) John
    Originated by Mark and copied by M, L and J and
    historically nil after rigorous analyses for number of attestations, time of
    publication and content. For added details:

    see Professor Gerd Ludemann’s analysis in his book
    Jesus After 2000 Years, pp. 111-114 and

    –The disciples on the Emmaus road
    Luke 23: 13-35 Historically nil. See Ludemann’s book, pp 409-412. Note: Emmaus
    can no longer be located.

    — Revealed to Disciples

    1Cor 15:5b,7b
    (2) Matt
    (3) Easter
    Night 2.3.1 (3a) Luke 24:36-40
    (3b) John
    2.4 (4) IgnSmyr 3.2b-3
    and the following from Professor Luedamann:

    “Matt 28:16-20 The description of Jesus’s
    appearance is minimal, as attention is focused on the content of Jesus’ message
    to the Eleven. Luedemann notes:

    that “the historical yield is extremely meager.” He accepts the early
    tradition that various disciples had visionary experiences, most probably
    located in Galilee, and that these experiences led to the founding of “a
    community which preached the resurrection and exaltation of Jesus as the
    Messiah and/or the Son of Man among their Jewish contemporaries.” [Jesus,

    Luke 24:36-53 The emphatic realism in the
    recognition scene that begins this appearance story mans “one can hardly
    avoid seeing this as a thrust against docetism. Evidently in this verse Luke is
    combating the same challenges to the bodily reality of Jesus as Ignatius, To
    the Smyrneans 3.2, does at the beginning of the second century.” Luedemann
    concludes, “The historical yield is nil, both in respect of the real historical
    event and in connection with
    the visions which were the catalyst for the rise
    of Christianity.” [Jesus, 413-415]”

    -Rev 1: 12-20 (a reboot of Daniel 7:13)

    And then there is this:
    A “Nineteenth-century agnostic Robert G.
    Ingersoll branded Revelation “the insanest of all books”.[30] Thomas
    Jefferson omitted it along with most of the Biblical canon, from the Jefferson
    Bible, and wrote that at one time, he “considered it as merely the ravings
    of a maniac, no more worthy nor capable of explanation than the incoherences of
    our own nightly dreams.” [31]

    Martin Luther once “found it an offensive
    piece of work” and John Calvin “had grave doubts about its

    –Appearance to James et al

    1 Cor 15: 7a

    /4/ and that he was buried, and that he was raised
    on the third day in accordance with the scriptures, /5/ and that he appeared to
    Cephas, then to the twelve. /6/ Then he appeared to more than five hundred
    brothers and sisters at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some
    have died. /7/ Then he appeared to

    James, then to all the apostles. /8/ Last of all,
    as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me.

    i.e. historically nil.

  • Addressing the historic inauthenticity of the
    post-resurrection sightings of Jesus of Nazareth.

    -The empty tomb myth

    Mark 16:1-8
    = Matt 28:1-10 = Luke 24:1-11

    (1b) John

    Originated by Mark and copied by M, L and J and
    historically nil after rigorous analyses for number of attestations, time of
    publication and content. For added details:

    see Professor Gerd Ludemann’s analysis in his book
    Jesus After 2000 Years, pp. 111-114 and

    –The disciples on the Emmaus road

    Luke 23: 13-35 Historically nil. See Ludemann’s book, pp 409-412. Note: Emmaus
    can no longer be located.

    — Revealed to Disciples

    1Cor 15:5b,7b

    (2) Matt

    (3) Easter
    Night 2.3.1 (3a) Luke 24:36-40

    (3b) John

    2.4 (4) IgnSmyr 3.2b-3

    and the following from Professor Luedamann:

    “Matt 28:16-20 The description of Jesus’s
    appearance is minimal, as attention is focused on the content of Jesus’ message
    to the Eleven. Luedemann notes:

    “the historical yield is extremely meager.” He accepts the early
    tradition that various disciples had visionary experiences, most probably
    located in Galilee, and that these experiences led to the founding of “a
    community which preached the resurrection and exaltation of Jesus as the
    Messiah and/or the Son of Man among their Jewish contemporaries.” [Jesus,

    Luke 24:36-53 The emphatic realism in the
    recognition scene that begins this appearance story mans “one can hardly
    avoid seeing this as a thrust against docetism. Evidently in this verse Luke is
    combating the same challenges to the bodily reality of Jesus as Ignatius, To
    the Smyrneans 3.2, does at the beginning of the second century.” Luedemann
    concludes, “The historical yield is nil, both in respect of the real historical
    event and in connection with

    the visions which were the catalyst for the rise
    of Christianity.” [Jesus, 413-415]”

  • In much of the the world the death penalty has been abolished. There are exceptions, of course, like China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Pakistan, Egypt, Somalia, the USA, Jordan and Singapore. Four countries on this list were responsible for 84% of the executions in 2017. That didn’t include China, where the number of executions is a state secret. See

  • Your links and assertions appear to depend upon the credibility of the

    The Jesus Seminar was a group of about 50 critical Biblical scholars and 100 laymen founded in 1985.
    Purpose: To decide their collective view of the historicity of the deeds and sayings of Jesus of Nazareth

    However, Jesus Seminar methods are in dispute since they function under a modernistic theological direction.
    Modernism emphasizes the teaching of the historical Jesus while rejecting nature miracles, the virgin birth or his bodily resurrection.

    The Jesus Seminar applies a form of criticism to the canonical gospels that assumes Jesus’ associates could not remember what Jesus said and did nor accurately pass it on. Interestingly extra-canonical texts, some of which were products of revelation and or were written outside the living memory of Jesus, yet examined with uncritical acceptance without properly justifying their inclusion.
    For example, the importance to which they have attributed to the Gospel of Thomas over the earlier source, the Gospel of Mark.

  • In short, the Jesus Seminar was comprised of non-believers, a significant number of which eventually exited Christianity.

    They began with a priori assumptions of the late 19th century Germans which devastated liberal Protestantism, and went downhill from there.

  • If they commit murder, they are not minor drug offenders. At least half of our prison population are not there for violent crimes, but drug possession.

    Well if you are worried about the quality of narcotics on the street, legalization and decriminalization is a useful and workable idea. Plus it takes the violence out of the trade. Several European countries have already done so to great effect. Our limited MJ legalization has turned it into a growing legitimate commercial concern.

  • Yeah, that was too silly to even bother responding to. Torture is anyone taking your posts seriously. 🙂

  • Au Contraire, I typically reference the summary of a NT passage as put together by the Faith Futures Group. The results of the Jesus Seminar are only one part of the summary if it is available.
    More on the Jesus Seminar:
    The Jesus Seminarians: Contemporary NT
    exegetes specializing in historic Jesus studies. Requirements to join,
    typically a PhD in Religious History or Religion with a proven record of
    scholarship through reviews of first to third century CE scripture and related
    “The ground-breaking
    work of the Jesus Seminar appears in two texts: The Five
    TGospels (1993) and Acts of Jesus (1998), both published by Polebridge
    The Jesus Seminar is a group of biblical scholars chaired by Robert Funk,
    who took the unprecedented step of voting as a group on the authenticity of
    Tteachings and acts of Jesus. The following observations are taken from the
    introductory chapters of 5G and AOJ.
    Every individual saying and action was examined and rated by the Seminar as
    whether Jesus actually said it or did it, or whether it was primarily the
    product of the author of the gospel. Building on the earlier work of
    scholars, the Seminar’s research represents an unprecedented cooperative
    to separate what Jesus really said and did from what gets added on over
    time in

    the story telling and writing process.

    In addition to the four Gospels: Mark, Matthew, Luke, and John, that we

    known for two thousand years, the Seminar also included the Gospel of
    Thomas in

    their considerations. Thomas consists of sayings of Jesus that were

    at Nag Hamadi, along with hundreds of other ancient texts, in a major

    archeological discovery in 1945. Thomas is not in story form, but it is a

    series of sayings. Many of the sayings are very similar to what appear in

    other four gospels, and it was used by the Seminar as an independent report

    what Jesus said.

    The Seminar’s work assumes that for a period of some years the stories

    Jesus were passed on by word of mouth as his followers practiced his

    and some anxiously expected his return. Ten years may have gone by before

    teachings and actions began to be written down, and perhaps another ten

    passed before they were put into larger collections like Thomas. These

    collections were probably taking place about the same time that Paul was

    letters (Galatians, 1 & 2 Corinthians, Romans) to various Christian

    Eventually the materials were put together in story form, probably first by

    Mark, sometime around 70CE, followed by Matthew, John, and Luke/Acts, in

    order. Some of the writing occurred as late as the first part to the middle

    the second century CE.

    When the Seminar members voted, a red vote received 3 points, a pink vote

    received 2 points, a gray vote received 1 point, and a black vote received

    points. The colors were given the following definitions: Red = This

    is an accurate representation of what Jesus said or did. Pink = This

    very likely represents what Jesus said or did. Gray = This statement is

    likely a formulation of the author, but the content is similar to what

    actually said or did. Black = This statement is purely a formulation of the

    author. A statement or event was given a final color code based on the

    following percentages: Red = .7501 or more of the scholars agreed that the

    teaching or event was authentic. Pink = .5001 to .7500 of the scholars

    that the teaching or event was authentic. Gray = .2501 to .5000 of the

    agreed that the teaching or event was authentic. Black = .0000 to .2500 of

    scholars agreed that the teaching or event was authentic.

  • It never should have been illegal to grow your own marijuana, poppies, etc. They are natural sedatives and pain relievers when used responsibly, just like alcohol.

  • No argument there. The bulk of our anti-drug legislation got its start under racist and anti-youth purposes.

  • FYII (For Your Insult to Intelligence):

    (1) “Each execution carried out is correlated with about 74 fewer murders the following year … There seems to be an obvious negative correlation in that when executions increase, murders decrease, and when executions decrease, murders increase”.

    (2) “Capital punishment has a deterrent effect, and that executions have a distinct effect which compounds the deterrent effect of merely (re)instating the death penalty.”

    (3) “Almost all modern studies and all the refereed studies find a significant deterrent effect of capital punishment. … To an economist, this is not surprising: we expect criminals and potential criminals to respond to sanctions, and execution is the most severe sanction available.”

    Source: (1) Michael Summers, “Capital Punishment Works”, Wall Street Journal, November 2, 2007. (2) Hashem Dezhbakhsh and Joanna M. Shepherd, “The Deterrent Effect of Capital Punishment: Evidence from a ‘Judicial Experiment'”, Economic Inquiry, Volume 44, Number 3, July 2006, pages 512–535. (3) Paul H. Rubin, “Statistical Evidence on Capital Punishment and the Deterrence of Homicide”, Presentation to the US Senate Judiciary Committee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Property Rights, February 1, 2006.

  • Hmmm. I checked the statistics and found that there were 98 executions in the US in 1999 and a homicide rate of 5.7 per hundred thousand. However, there were 35 executions in 2014 but the homicide rate had fallen to 4.5 per hundred thousand.

    So executions decreased but so did the homicide rate.

    Please check out the information at these two web pages: