Letter: God said not to kill, so why execute people?

By Jerry Gill

The Daily Advance

41 Comments | Leave a Comment

This letter was suggested by Eugene Robinson’s excellent column on May 5 on the botched execution of Clayton Lockett.

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Accidental repeat








Hey, Jer

How many of the other commandments do you adhere to? Or do you just pick the ones that fit your lifestyle.

Mr. freespeaker,

Your comments have become simply mean and rude.

Why not simply address the writer's points? Please, by all means use strong, but appropriate language to make your points and counter points. What you are doing now is simply beyond acceptable behavior.

Respectfully, yes, Submitted,

Force 12

accidental repeat

accidental repeat

Farts 12

Who died and made you the hall monitor? If you don't like it, then don't read it.

Now see? Wasn't that easy?

You stayed on point. Next, try a respectful tone.

This is a good first step. I know you're trying and this is really hard for you.

Keep going. You'll get it eventually.

You are an inspiration.

Respectfully Submitted,

Force 12

Take care of the problem with

a large dose of valium. No fuss no muss. If it were up to me I'd save the taxpayers a whole lot of money and use a rope and a tree.

"Botched" Execution?

He's dead isn't he? "Agonizing Death" Try this on for size; "In 1999, Lockett kidnapped, beat, and shot nineteen-year-old Stephanie Neiman and ordered an accomplice to bury her while she was still breathing." He got off easy.


Important to keep the entire story in perspective. Bill Hiemer

Thanks for research

I too did some research on this issue when I read the article to make sure what the argument was, since I remembered the commandment as "thou shall not commit murder." There is a wealth of information and scholastic work out on the net for people to read.

You have succinctly boiled down the essence of that information.

The literal Biblical translation is

Thou shalt not murder (take an innocent life). This would make abortion immoral. On the other hand Romans 13 authorizes the government to administer justice by punishing evil doers. "Bearing the sword" in this passage means lethal force. The Church is commanded to demonstrate mercy, forgiveness and charity. Many people get these roles mixed up and reversed. The proper and Biblical roles are - the Church - mercy, the government - justice.

Okay, here's a more serious reply:

Christians can't be Christian and embrace the death penalty. On this point, for true Christians, there is no separation of church and state - only love and forgiveness. Because, well, Jesus.


Respectfully Submitted,

Force 12

To all you wanna be Bible scholars out there

Get it right. Check Romans 13 and 1 Peter 2. Many of you, the Pope and president included, keep confusing the role of the Church with the role of government. Jesus taught love, mercy and forgiveness for the church, not the government. God's purpose for government is justice and retribution. This is plainly revealed in the New Testament.

Twinstar, Pontius...

Pilate couldn't agree more!

And we all know how well THAT turned out.

Respectfully Submitted,

Force 12

Thankfully, it turned out good for us

By Divine design Deity suffered and died so that you and your family might have an opportunity to happily live beyond this short, wretched miserable, subject-to-pain-and-suffering, physical life. John 19:11, John 10:18. It's a historical fact that Pilate was blackmailed that day. History also tells us that he certainly paid the price for the abuse of power, even though he proclaimed the defendant to be innocent, and yet he unwittingly became part of the Grand Plan for human redemption. Romans 8:28,31 Don't blow it. PS: The Old Testament was replaced by the New Testament. The Church didn't exist in the Old Testament, it does in the New Testament. Mercy and forgiveness are possible because of the Cross but through the Church, not the government.

Twinstar, I think you're interpretation is too broad.

To which government would you submit yourself for god-approved justice? Pontius Pilate? Adolf Hitler? Pol Pot? Louis 14th? Joe Stalin? Mao Tsetung? Pick one. These were "legitimate" governments of their time. Your interpretation says that God tells us to participate and fully embrace the rules of the "government" under which you find yourself. I think the German people did this through the 30's and mid 40's.

I agree that this is a question of "justice." I disagree that we have to submit ourselves to injustice administered by an unjust government. We find ourselves at a time and place where even the best prosecution produces erroneous judgments. DNA science has proven this. We find ourselves in a time where racial bias must be considered, although our repugnicans disagree, and why wouldn't they considering their demographic. Consider the passage and repeal of our own Racial Justice Act. We now clearly understand the failings of "eye-witness testimony." We find ourselves in a time when even our most "tender-hearted" executions go horribly wrong and inflict ghastly suffering.

If we truly are "a government of the people, by the people, and for the people" then you and I are equally responsible for our system of justice and capital punishment in particular. WE are the government.

If we continue to fall back on your quotations to justify this horror show, then aren't we simply passing the responsibility for our own heinous acts to God/Jesus? And isn't THIS cherry picking the Bible, similar to the old justifications for slavery. God/Jesus said it's okay, so get on with it?

Do you accept your role and responsibility? Or do you cop out and pass it on to God/Jesus. Will you stand before Him and say that you killed the next 154 men and women because YOU thought it was the right thing to do even though there was a chance they were innocent? Will you take your turn pushing the plungers into innocents? Do you deny that YOU are the government in this country?

My personal opinion is that acceptance of the status quo of capital punishment is acceptance of injustice. I say this because of what we know about the process that brings human beings to Calvary. Isn't Pontius Pilate's personal weakness example enough? I decline to accept injustice no matter how many Biblical quotes are tossed about. I also decline to murder prisoners in HIS name, which you and Ms. Koerber are willing to do. HE DID give us a mind you know, and I view capital punishment to be the exact opposite of His message.

My understanding is that teaching the Gospels is supposed to overcome the oppression of the government under which we find ourselves. Well, in this case, you and I are the government, and we have been informed both by our christian faith, AND our knowledge of the weakness of our system of justice. We have no excuses left to support capital punishment, except those that are our own convenient lies. His very silence at the moment of His death on the Cross SCREAMS of the injustice that inflicted that death upon Him. And isn't that also part of His Father's plan for us?

Yes, be angry and "rage" all that you want about the evils done by man, and allow me to leave you with THIS cherry: Romans 12:19.

Respectfully Submitted,

Force 12

I note this

1. You do not understand Scripture. 2. You would benefit by getting into a good Bible study. Romans 12:19 is a command to the Church in Rome. It is NOT a command to the government. In a nutshell: As the Lord's Church we are directed to live by the Greatest Commandment( Matt 22:37) and the Second Greatest Commandment (Matt 22:39). Scripturally we are given permission to defy a government only where there is a conflict between the government and these two commands (Acts 5:29) Jesus lived under one of most tyrannical governments in history. Render unto Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's. His directives were issued to the Church not the government.

My point is...

that you and I, as members of the "church," or as the "church," we are also the "government" of the United States. We have a different form of government than ever existed before. If we lived under a Caesar, we would have no say in how Caesar defined and enforced his laws. Same for all of those other odious historical fellows.

BUT in THIS country, Christians, and persons of every other faith, and nonbelievers too, ARE the government. So tell me how a Christian, just a Christian, living a Christian life that forbids murder, can justify murder when we are also the government. You can't have it both ways if you're a Christian. Yet, you are willing to give this abstract thing, the "government," the right to murder. It is "murder" if you or I do it ourselves. Since we are the "government" we ARE doing this ourselves.

Are you an abstract being that can remove your christian hat to commit murder AS the "government," and then simply replace your hat? Or are you a Christian all of the time, indivisible, that cannot be separated into abstract parts?

Mr. Gill's letter, that quotes Sartre is instructive.

Oh, and I cannot tell you how much I appreciate your opening condescension. I'm sure that you are proud of your superior understanding of His plan for us. For your sake, I hope that your understanding matches His intent.

Respectfully Submitted, Force 12

A Godly government is obligated to

deliver justice and retribution to those who do evil as defined by Ultimate Authority rather than human standards. As an example if a burgler breaks into my home with the intent to do harm I am Biblically justified in using deadly force to protect family and home. On the other hand that would not be in conflict with me participating in a church prison ministry. There is absolutely no discrepancy there. God says those who do good are rewarded for doing good, and those who do evil are punished for doing evil, sometimes by "the sword". I'm perfectly ok with that. A good and Godly government may still administer retributive justice (bear the sword) through capitol punishment to those who do evil. Since murder is taking of an innocent life, this is NOT murder, since the accused has been found guilty of doing evil, although extreme care must be taken to ensure the subject of the retributive justice is guilty but that's a whole other topic. Never any condescension intended at any time, just a logical conclusion from observing these posts. Whenever I quote "We have all fallen short" I include myself. His intent is that "none should perish, but all come to repentance." 2 Pet 3:9

Mr. Twinstar...

I understand that the easy path is the dogmatic path. No need to think.

First, we don't live under a good and godly government. We live under a secular government. For the matter of judicial murder and many other topics, America has set us on a different path, and this path challenges true Christians to be true Christians. We live in a place and time that allows Christians to shape government behaviors. A unique time, to be sure, within the history of humanity.

You and many others are willing to overturn Roe for the very reason, and the same method, that I am willing to outlaw judicial murder. Again, it's my understanding that teaching the gospels is intended to change mens' hearts and minds and set them on a different path. I think that Jesus' message was much simpler than many make it. Love, compassion, and forgiveness. That doesn't mean releasing dangerous people from prison. But it does mean to stop murdering them once we have them in our power.

Your interpretive support for judicial murder has even been abandoned by Italy and Spain, the birthplace of the Inquisition, and also by Germany, which certainly understands something about executions. Do you think that there just might be a few Christians at work in those places?

The Bible itself is inconsistent regarding judicial murder. I can probably find in the Bible, as many reasons to end it as you have to continue it. Here is a piece from John Paul II, who knew a thing or two about Christian belief and practice, on this topic and I agree 100% with his position:

"Assuming that the guilty party's identity and responsibility have been fully determined, the traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude recourse to the death penalty, if this is the only possible way of effectively defending human lives against the unjust aggressor.

If, however, non-lethal means are sufficient to defend and protect people's safety from the aggressor, authority will limit itself to such means, as these are more in keeping with the concrete conditions of the common good and more in conformity with the dignity of the human person.

Today, in fact, as a consequence of the possibilities which the state has for effectively preventing crime, by rendering one who has committed an offence incapable of doing harm--without definitively taking away from him the possibility of redeeming himself--the cases in which the execution of the offender is an absolute necessity are rare, if not practically non-existent."

Pope John Paul II, The Gospel of Life

In closing I would reiterate that, today, in America, it's not possible for true Christians to support the murder of prisoners.

Respectfully Submitted,

Force 12

You keep calling capitol punishment (or as I refer to

it: retributive justice) murder. It is nothing of the sort if the subject is guilty of a heinous crime. On the other hand, an unborn child is guilty of nothing and is perfectly innocent human life. I'm not sure why liberals are not getting this unless they just refuse to believe in Ultimate Authority. If Christians are shaping government behaviors you'd never know it from all the scandals and corruption in Washington. That's precisely the problem. Christ is having less and less influence on our country's leaders, especially the liberal ones, and especially the president who wears the Christian name while scoffing at the very words of Christ and elevating Mohammad to same level as Christ when He himself said He was The Way, The Truth, and The Life and no one could come to the Father except through Him. We can even see the disrespect and ignorance of Christ's teaching in the opinion section here. Although there are Christians in Europe, it is becoming more and more secular (way more secular than the US) as is Canada. There is absolutely no Biblical requirement for a Pope. Neither Christ nor the Apostle Peter authorized one. Popes have been known to get it Biblically wrong and this one is no exception (except for the issue of abortion). He has consistently reversed the roles of Church and government despite this being clearly contradicted in Scripture. He still thinks it is up to the government to provide charity to the masses while the Bible clearly gives that role to the Church and as you have just demonstrated he also refuses to acknowledge the government's role in administering justice. Once upon a time during the dark ages a Pope thought the Church's job was to administer justice. Even turned out to be the wrong kind. That's the reason we have a First Amendment in our constitution.

Uh, Mr. Twinstar, the Catholic Church is...

also a government. Literally. Vatican City, geographically speaking, is all that remains of it's christian empire that once included most of the "known world," for the Greater Glory of God!, etc.

When a Pope speaks he speaks as head of government and as head of the church. In fact, the Roman Catholic Church is a "fine example" of the notorious excesses to which theocracy may be inclined. This is why I agree with our Founders' decision to give us a secular government that permits freedom of belief.

This is also why I mentioned the now deceased Paul II's commentary on the death penalty. (See? I said "death penalty" this time, just for you. I usually say "judicial murder" to kick people into thinking gear. You don't need another kick.)

This is also illuminating in light of the current Pope's injunction to use Christ's example and teachings to bring about social justice. This also kinda closes the loop on my comment that Sartre may explain the current Republican party, especially since some of them characterize this Pope as a socialist or communist or some such nonsense.

If we do indeed live in a christian country, then where can we possibly find someone qualified to cast the first stone? Since you and I ARE the government in this country, and we both purport to be Christian, can you push the plungers? I cannot. Let's ask Mr. Gray;)

Now, we could reach way back to Deuteronomy to review procedures for execution, but from my own perspective, Jesus's spirituality trumps Deuteronomy's physicality. I understand that Jesus himself didn't sweep away the Old Testament, but His teachings take us far, far beyond it, to our own eternity. Perhaps this is a discussion for a different letter.

Oh, here's a completely stray thought - the Old Testament, says that the Sword (plunger today) kills the prisoner, rather than the person that swings it. Of course this exonerates the executioner who may be a believer that does the killing. Curiously, the NRA says the opposite - Guns don't kill people, people kill people. I think I agree with the NRA for once.

Respectfully Submitted,

Force 12

I don't subscribe to the doctrine of

the Catholic Church. Under Constantine they seized Christ's original Church and modeled it after the Roman government contradictory to scripture. They have been doctrinally unscriptural for the most part ever since. A pope was never authorized by the Founder of Christianity. The Pope has no authority, Biblical or otherwise to countermand scripture or Biblical doctrine. Under Romans 13 the government and its agents are ministers of God to bear the sword. It is God who authorizes and directs retribution. The agents simply carry it out. All governments and their agents are accountable to God. They do not have to be sinless to carry out their God-given role of government. Once again you are reversing and confusing the role of the Church with the role of government.

Oh, I kinda figured that part out already. I also don't

subscribe to the doctrine of the Catholic Church. That doesn't mean that there isn't any good Christian thought going on there though. With regard to Papal authority, 1.2 billion Catholics disagree with you. Just an interesting fact.

Catholics consider Peter to be the first "Pope" appointed by Jesus himself when He declared, regarding Peter, that "upon this rock I will build my church." That's the accepted lineage of authority anyway. And many of Peter's successors didn't get it very right over the ensuing years.

I wasn't trying to stir up the old hates between christian sects, just offering a coherent, and contemporary thought from a Christian world leader on this subject.

I don't think I'm reversing anything by saying that you and I are the American government, and as Christians, cannot excuse ourselves from Christian duty simply to execute prisoners. We cannot divide ourselves for this purpose. You are splitting society into two groups - the people and the government. That works under a King, or Emperor, as in the Old Testament, but not under an American style Democratic government. You have to admit that we didn't exist until long after the events of the Bible.

Respectfully Submitted,

Force 12

The Greek translation of the passage

Jesus' dialog with Peter has been mistranslated many times. Jesus uses the word petros for Peter which means "small stone". He then uses the word Petra which means immense rock for the foundation of His Church. This makes it quite clear that Peter is not the "rock" upon which Christ is building his church. In fact the "rock" is Peter's faith in Christ, which actually refers to Christ Himself. This is later confirmed by Peter when he describes Christ as the Cornerstone and Foundation of the Church of which Christ followers are the living stones built upon the foundation. The Pauline epistles also have something to say about this, making Christ the rock upon which His Church is built and Peter an "ordinary" steward and caretaker of the flock, with no exalted successor. The majority isn't necessarily always correct (Matthew 7:13,14) I do subscribe to the doctrine of Romans 13 and 1 Peter 2. And before you throw slavery into that mix, note that the Bible describes slavery, never prescribes it, and the slavery referred to in the New Testament is of the indentured type which is comparable to the empoyee/empoyer relationships of today. Keep in mind that during these times the Shema still applied to all: Matt 22:36-40. Romans 13 and 1 Peter 2 refers to the role of government for justice. Matt 22 refers to the role of the individual and the church for mercy.

So, I guess...

You'll volunteer to push the plungers, right?

Maybe you can ask Mr. Gilbert to ask Gov. McDuke to start a sign up.

Your next 154 victims await your tender mercies.

In the meantime, me and my ilk will continue to work to outlaw your barbarities, in Jesus' name, Who certainly knew something about this.

Respectfully Submitted,

Force 12

My preference is actually

a rope and a tree rather than a plunger, but I'm equally ok with a life sentence of hard labor above the North Slope of Alaska if you can afford it, (the Kahn effect, which liberals should be willing to pay for through voluntary donations).

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