13.9.11

3 cheers for death

Sometimes, conservatives, you sure make it hard not to halt my slide into wicked, wicked liberalism.

There were two very poignant moments during the last two GOP debates that further convinced me that the far right wing is a wonderfully hypocritical place to be.

I think that the far right of the republican party can safely be called the party of Jesus. To say that far right conservative views aren't heavily influenced by Christianity would be like saying that the far left isn't influenced by Socialist Jesus, which the far right conveniently forgets existed.

So, what could possibly be more un-Christian, than clamoring for the death of a hypothetical uninsured man, and cheering Richard Perry's execution record?

Last night, as Ron Paul was given the hypothetical question, "What do you tell a guy who is sick, goes into a coma and doesn't have health insurance? Who pays for his coverage? "Are you saying society should just let him die?" At this point, you sort of hear a rising grumble in the crowd, that turned into quite a few people yelling "yeah!"

I totally understand the idea and importance of personal responsibility. This hypothetical person (me) should definitely have insurance. And by not having it—if he [I] can afford it (I cant)—he is definitely unfairly putting society at risk for an undeserved burden. Should he have been responsible? Yes. Does he deserve to suffer the consequences (death) of his actions? Not for me to say. Should we HAVE to take care of him? No. But what is the right thing? Cheering for someone's death because it affects your wallet sure doesn't seem like the right thing, and I'm pretty sure it isn't what Jesus would advocate.

The other thing that blew me away, was the wild cheering that occurred during Rick Perry's first appearance at a debate, when he was explaining that over 200 prisoners had been executed under his watch as governor. Seriously, the audience was euphoric that Texas had put its boot down and euthanized over 200 (hopefully) terrible people.

I can't understand how support of the death penalty largely comes from the Christian right (even though, in our country, more people as a whole support capital punishment than oppose it). I am aware that the bible says, "an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth." But the Old Testament also says a lot of other crazy shit. Which is why, if my memory serves, Jesus came along and stripped the gospel of a lot of crazy. And I guess added a bunch of other ludicrous ideas like "love thy enemy." "Do good to those who hate you. Pray for those who hurt you." Madness.

Can anyone give me one good argument FOR the death penalty? Just one really good one? Because if your argument is financial, you are dead wrong. It costs infinitely more to execute a human (because of the cost of appeals and whatnot) than to incarcerate one for life. Like, sometimes 10's of millions more.

Because they deserve it? Well, who are you to decide what anyone deserves? Does a human who maliciously killed another human deserve to be in society? Absolutely not. But do we have the right or responsibility to kill that human being? It seems like our ultimate responsibility to society is to keep it safe. That can be accomplished without capital punishment.

Does anyone honestly think that we get it right 100% of the time? That was the thing that first turned me off to capital punishment—knowing that our system is incapable of getting it right, 100% of the time. Can you imagine being on death row, knowing you are innocent, and knowing that nobody in the world believes you, and there isn't a thing you can do about it? All to perpetuate an unnecessary system? It makes me sick, thinking about that.

If the system euthanizes even one innocent human in 100,000, it isn't worth it.

When we euthanize a human, we are also making the ultimate judgement that such a person has no worth, and can never have a change of heart. We are essentially robbing from this person the opportunity to change—the very thing for which he/she is being executed.

Should a murderer with a changed heart be set free? Hell no. But by executing him/her, we are throwing away any opportunity for good that such a person can do for society.

Before a Utah state firing squad shot Ronnie Lee Gardner through the heart, he was working with at risk youth, setting a poignant example of where poor life decisions lead human beings. But, in order to satiate some visceral need for vengeance, we ended his life, and thus any good he could return upon society.

I just have a hard time imagining sitting down with Jesus, and having this conversation:

"Hey Jesus."
"Hey man."
"Who is going to win the Super Bowl?"
"Oh, you! Like I'm telling! But it isn't the Buffalo Bills."
"Oh! By the way. Check this out. There was this dude who killed like, 11 prostitutes, chopped them up, and shoved them under the floor boards of his house. Next week we're scheduled to stick a needle into his arm, and pump him full of chemicals that will render his heart, lungs, and brain useless, thus sending him straight to a fiery hell!"
- high five -
"Yeah! That dude TOTALLY deserved it. Trust me, I know. I've always regretted stopping that stoning a couple thousand years ago. I'm glad you guys are killing him, so you can speed up his judgement. God is just AGOG waiting for this one."
"So, make us some wine to celebrate?"
"You!"

I am not saying that there exists any perfect, political ideology. There is hypocrisy on both sides. But from the side that uses Christianity as an ideological building block—these issues—or at least the attitudes that accompany them—sure seem to reek of inconsistency.

9 comments:

MEG said...

You bring up a good point that I hadn't thought of -

I thought of the guy this last month who killed his handicapped son and cut off his head. He displayed the head in his lawn so that his wife would see it and "feel stupid" when she came home. When I read about this, I thought to myself, "self, that guy has no business in this life. He should die."

Your comments made me realize that maybe the guy does deserve to die - but if the gun were in my hand, would I be able to pull the trigger on him personally? Absolutely not - lest I be guilty of his same wrong doing.

At the same time, I'm still guilty of hoping that this man lives in a state that performs the death penalty. Am I a hypocrite? Absolutely. :)

Jellybean said...

3 cheers for this post. I can't support the death penalty, either, but I also think it's gross to be enthusiastic about killing someone. I can understand thinking it's just. I can't understand celebrating it.

Dave said...

"It is unavoidable. It is your destiny. You, like your father, are now mine."

Snubbs the White Rabbit said...

Couldn't agree more. Exactly why I don't consider myself republican or democrat. The hypocrisy on both sides is ridiculous. Whats even more ridiculous is that they make you think that you only have two choices. SO if you disagree with the GOP, guess what? That means you have to a democrat. 2 party systems suck.

Johnnymcpiperson said...

I agree with your basic point as well, all I can really say is this alleged "Republican Jesus" is not the Christ that true Christian's draw their salvation from. It seems ridiculous to me to be a Christian and condemn anyone... I mean, aren't we all pretty messed up in one way or another. Oh and I really do think it's a terrible idea to involve faith in politics or any power seat in any way. Just my two cents, keep asking the right questions, maybe someday we'll get some straight answers from those who claim to represent us or maybe we'll just replace them.

Saima said...
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Plane Jane said...

I truly believe that a real Christian with an actual grasp on what Christianity is would never support something as heinous as the death penalty.
After all.... an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.
People who use Christianity as their "idealogical building block" for these issues are merely looking for a way to make themselves feel better.
It makes me sick.
I am a fairly conservative Christian- who believes whole heartedly that Jesus did not come to condemn (he said so himself), but came for the sinners, came for the sick- and that includes the mentally sick, as many criminals are!
But then again, that's just my opinion right?

wheatgerm said...

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roye said...
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