Anglican Samizdat

September 28, 2009

Capital punishment

Filed under: Capital Punishment — David Jenkins @ 1:45 pm

I’ve never quite made up my mind about capital punishment: although western squeamishness – including mine – is repelled by the cold-blooded taking of a life, if the state is entitled and obligated to punish wrongdoers at all, why should it not be entitled to exact the ultimate punishment for the ultimate crime?

The only argument against it that I find moderately convincing is that a mistake is irreversible.

The state of Texas has just released the last statements from executed offenders.

They range from the repentant:

Yes, I am sorry for what I’ve done and for all of the pain and suffering that my actions have caused. Jesus is Lord. All glory to God.

To the mildly sanctimonious:

Heavenly Father, I give thanks for this time, for the time that we have been together, the fellowship in your world, the Christian family presented to me (He called the names of the personal witnesses.). Allow your holy spirit to flow as I know your love as been showered upon me. Forgive them for they know not what they do, as I know that you have forgiven me, as I have forgiven them. Lord Jesus, I commit my soul to you, I praise you, and I thank you.

To the incoherent:

Yes, Ain’t no way fo’ fo’, I Love all yall.

To the incomprehensible – disproving Dr. Johnson’s aphorism, “being hung in the morning greatly clarifies the mind”:

Don’t cry, it’s my situation. I got it. Hold tight, It’s going to shine on the golden child. Hold tight. I love you , I’m through with my statement.

To what would be comical in another situation:

Is the mic on? My only statement is that no cases have ever tried have been error free. Those are my words. No cases are error free. You may proceed Warden.

It is difficult to read these and feel that the executions were justified, but perhaps that is something absorbed from a culture which has lost sight of the reality of evil and the state’s duty to hold it in check with – admittedly less than perfect – temporal justice.


1 Comment

  1. Two comments:

    1. Mistakes can’t be reversed (David Milgaard, Stephen Truscott, etc…)

    2. I believe that capital punishment is murder. (And no, I am not a pacifist, nor do I think that killing on the battlefield is murder. Sometimes soldiers must kill – the state doesn’t need to kill to protect its citizens. It can lock ’em up and throw away the key.)

    Comment by Kate — September 28, 2009 @ 9:54 pm

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