Wednesday, March 11, 2009

I don't get this

I'm on a mailing list that sends articles and commentaries from a conservative viewpoint. I have no idea how I got on it, becasue I did not sign up. Did someone else give him my e-mail address? Did I inadvertantly sign up just because I signed some petition or completed some survey somewhere? Who knows. I almost unsubscribed. But then I decided against it, because, well there are interesting articles in there, and because it's refreshing to have a non-liberal viewpoint for a change.

But then there are also commentaries like this one:

Bush's wise words
By Catherine S. Nelson
National Post Published: Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Re: Death-Row Inmate Hopes For Transfer, March 7.

Although I am not usually one to quote George W. Bush, I think one of his statements from back when he was governor of Texas is worth recalling in the case of Ronald Smith.

It was at a time when a Canadian was on death row in Texas. As the usual "anti-death penalty" suspects gathered to wring their hands and lament such punishment for a perpetrator of a truly heinous crime, a reporter for CBC interviewed governor Bush. The reporter gave him a caustic tongue-lashing about the inhumanity of the death penalty, which ended with the question: "Mr. Bush, do you have anything you would like to tell the Canadian people?" To which the governor replied: "Why yes, I would like to tell the Canadian people not to come to Texas and murder anyone."

I don't get that. I am sure all the people on the mailing list are pro-life because it has a very pro-life perspective. Yet we condone the death penalty? Not only that, but those who don't are "anti-death penalty suspects"?

Does this make me a person to not be trusted just because I do not believe that the death penalty is the best way to treat people? Especially since more than one innocent person has been executed? You can't bring an innocent person back to life.

But that's beside the point. What about giving people a second chance? Punish them, yes. They must take responsibility for their actions. But should they not also be allowed to regret their actions and be given a chance to change their ways?

Most of the people on this list, including the one who sends it out, are christian. Do we not believe in repentance and forgiveness?

My godmother works in a soup kitchen. She had to wonder at the circumstances of people's lives that brought them to where they are today. She mentioned someone who does ministry in jails, who had said something about how in all the time he had done ministry in prisons, he had never once met one bad person.

Perhaps we need to think deeply about changing our society as well as rehabilitating prisoners. I have to say, most prisoners are probably victims of society. Perpetrators of heinous crimes weren't born heinous. They lose their way somewhere. A lot of things that society has decided to close their eyes over and not see, or things that society has come to accept as "okay as long as everyone is consenting and noone gets hurt", or things that society has deemed that we must have; money, sex, power, this is what makes people lose their way.

Gustavo Gutierrez wrote that these things are the idols of the Old Testament that demand blood. God does not demand that blood be spilled for him. Anything else we put before Him, the "idols" of money, power, greed, lust, convenience, these are the things that demand sacrifices. These are the things that want human blood at their "altars". When a society turns to these idols rather than God, is it no wonder then that blood is spilled and heinous crimes committed?

I do not believe that God asks for the blood of anyone in order to make up for their heinous crimes either. He sent His son in our place to do that.