Monday, November 10, 2008

Death by Firing Squad

There are more dead people than living. And their numbers are increasing. EUGENE IONESCO, Rhinoceros

Australia has no death penalty, has not had a death penalty since 1985, when death for treason was abolished in N.S.W.. The last man to face Australia's death penalty was Ronald Ryan, who was sentenced to death for killing a prison guard. He was hung in Pentridge jail in 1967.


Perhaps it's our convict past; perhaps it's the dying vestiges of lower class rebellion but it is unlikely to be the result of the high moral ground that got the death penalty abolished here.


So why this obssesion with the death penalty. Well, America had the *fly~by* & we got Bali. On October 12th 2002 Islamic extremists blew up a Bali night club killing 88 Australians amongst others. Aussies took it pretty hard. I can understand that. We tend to be an easy going lot. We don't make enemies. Hatred is foreign to us, discrimination unheard of. That any one could hate us enough to blow us up shocked a lot of people. Being a little more cynical & having listened to enough ranting from the more extremist Islamic groups I was not surprised. Sad, just not surprised.

What has surprised & saddened me is the outpouring of hatred, vengence, & happiness at the exectution, by firing squad, of the Bali bombers. I do not see how that helps anyone. Worse, these men now have no opporunity to hear the gospel & repent. The youngest appears to have died badly. OK, I know I have an overactive imagination, & I can imagine all too well being in that man's shoes, but to call for vengence, to rejoice at the death of someone who hated us enough to kill us, to acquienence to the death penalty, well, that makes us as bad as them. We are called upon to forgive our enemies, to bless those who curse us, to do good to those who do us evil ...Oh I forgot. We are only a nominally Christian nation so I guess that doesn't apply.


I do not now recall where I originally heard the quote but asked what he would do with Hitler a litle boy replied, 'I would make him a very,very good man.' Now that is definitely sweet vengence but it makes far more sense to me. Can you imagine being very wicked, then being made very good & knowing exactly how bad you have been? As Christians isn't that exactly our fate? Although we all deserve the death penalty for our sin we have a suspended sentence that many will hear the Good News, repent & enter into the joy of the Lord. I guess I'm in the minority though. Oh well. I'm used to that.

A belief in hell and the knowledge that every ambition is doomed to frustration at the hands of a skeleton have never prevented the majority of human beings from behaving as though death were no more than an unfounded rumour. - Aldous Huxley

6 comments:

molytail said...

to call for vengence, to rejoice at the death of someone who hated us enough to kill us, to acquienence to the death penalty, well, that makes us as bad as them.

Makes perfect sense to me.

A belief in hell and the knowledge that every ambition is doomed to frustration at the hands of a skeleton have never prevented the majority of human beings from behaving as though death were no more than an unfounded rumour.

*falls heads over heels* ..LOVE this quote. Love love love!

Luke said...

I've heard that one twelfth of the entire world's population (of all time) is alive in India right now. Pretty crazy.

The quote of the little boy certainly points out the struggle of the death penalty: We want people to become good, but there are evil people who remain evil until the day they die. How do we respond to that? What do we do with people until--if ever--they become "really, really good"?

This is, in essence, the central question of one of my favorite movies: The Mission--How should we respond to evil men when they threaten innocent people? Do we fight them, or trust God?

The movie is painfully inconclusive on this point. Well worth watching, in my opinion.

~Luke

Ganeida said...

lol, Luke. I happen to really like ome of the *theatre of the absurd* & Ionesco is very funny imo.

I have no problem knowing how I should respond to evil people only with doing it. It is very hard to love evil people. People who are truely able to respond in this way amaze & humble me.[Corrie ten Boom was confronted with this one] As for the Bali bombers there are considerations of jihad & martydom That just plain would have made it more sensible not to execute them but maybe I'm just squeamish. Those poor deluded men thought they were headed to martyr's heaven with 77 vestal virgins each or some such nonsence & I just don't want to be responsible for condemning anyone to hell. The outpouring of hatred here worries me. I consider it a soul destroying emotion.

Moly, happy to oblige :D

Mrs. C said...

Well, I believe the death penalty is called for in the Old and New Testament. But I agree with you that we ought not rejoice in the death of our enemies. Never.

MamaOlive said...

I'm actually split on the death penalty issue, and I can see how it would lead to the separatist idea. *As a Christian* I don't like the idea of writing someone off and taking them to the point where repentance is no longer possible. *As a citizen* (American, in my case) I believe the government has a responsibility to protect its people and punish wrongdoers. If not death, then what? Life in prison? Very expensive. Deportation? They'll come back. At any rate, one ought not to rejoice at the fall of another human - made, after all, in the image of God.

Ganeida said...

MamaO, Quite frankly I think prisoners should work & pay for their own imprisonment but I can't see that getting much support from any quarter at all. :) My problem, like yours, is the inability to give up on any human made in the image of God, no matter how evil, & to remove forever the opportunity to hear the gospel gives me the heebie~jeebies.