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Christopher
Brucia's Killer Gets Death Sentence


Is the sentence just?

Should this be the sentence for all who rape and muder children?

Does society actually lose anything by this verdict, or do we gain something?


1.Yes
2. Yes
3. No we lose nothing by this verdict. quite simply IMHO anyone who do this to a child is not human by any objective means, and so we as a society lose nothing by putting them down.
It won't bring her back, but it was the right thing to do.
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Carlsen
Is the sentence just?
Should this be the sentence for all who rape and muder children?
If the person truly commited the crime, which appears to be the case, since he apologized for his crimes, then yes, I see no moral or ethical problem in executing him.

However, I am against the death penalty in principle, because society or a jury can not ever be truly sure a person is guilty, even if the person confess, and I would rather err on the side of caution than to kill just one innocent person. Therfore the punishment maybe just in a perfect world, but I would prefer a sentence of life without parole.

Does society actually lose anything by this verdict, or do we gain something?
By getting a conviction of a rapist/murderer we gain a safer society, but we don't need the death penalty for that. Had it been my child or my familymember that had been murdered, I would certainly think otherwise, but justice cannot only be about emotional revenge.

Blackstone
QUOTE(Carlsen @ Mar 15 2006, 05:06 PM)
By getting a conviction of a rapist/murderer we gain a safer society, but we don't need the death penalty for that. Had it been my child or my familymember that had been murdered, I would certainly think otherwise, but justice cannot only be about emotional revenge.
*

That's not what it's about. That's almost the opposite of what it's about. Revenge is something that the aggrieved party does against the person who hurt him. It's an inherently unstable and destructive process. Justice is when society solemnly decides on what punishments are appropriate for what crimes, and metes it out impartially. It's a way of curtailing the impulse for revenge so that we can have a civilized society. And yes, I think death is a very appropriate punishment for a crime like this. Nothing else can really drive home the point of how serious society is about the value of innocent life. I just can't imagine how the perpetrator could legitimately feel that an injustice is being done to him for this.
Artemise
I am against the death penalty in principle- because of possible faulty convictions for various reasons. I also dont believe in spending the exorbitant funds required for death penalty executions, much more than keeping a prisoner alive for life.

QUOTE
"Florida spent an estimated $57 million on the death penalty from 1973 to 1988 to achieve 18 executions - that is an average of $3.2 million per execution."
(Miami Herald, July 10, 1988).

"Florida calculated that each execution there costs some $3.18 million. If incarceration is estimated to cost $17,000/year, a comparable statistic for life in prison of 40 years would be $680,000."
(The Geography of Execution... The Capital Punishment Quagmire in America, Keith Harries and Derral Cheatwood 1997 p.6)

Figures from the General Accounting Office are close to these results. Total annual costs for all U.S. Prisons, State and Federal, was $17.7 billion in 1994 along with a total prison population of 1.1 million inmates. That amounts to $16,100 per inmate/year.
(GOA report and testimony FY-97 GGD-97-15 )

From this:  the cost of keeping a 25-year-old inmate for 50 years at present amounts to $805,000. Assuming 75 years as an average life span, the $805,000 figure would be the cost of life in prison. So roughly it's costing us $2 million more to execute someone than it would cost to keep them in jail for life.


This guy would likely be killed in prison, because child rapists and murderers dont last long. Now we must keep him 'safe' until his execution, which could cost Florida upwards of 3 million dollars.

Is the sentence just?

Absolutely. Although by the article Smith claims not to have known or understood the crime from 'drug inducement', this is complete crap. Murder of an adult might occur by drug induced violence, but murder and rape of a child does not just 'occur' as a result of drug inducement or suicidal tendancy. There may be more crimes due to this man that have yet to be exposed. He was likely a pedophile already, and with the one rat you see, their are likely more.

Should this be the sentence for all who rape and murder children?

I would like all true pedophiles and murderers to be encarcerated for life or executed, but life is not just black and white, the grey portion worries me. I think we need some reform in both the policial and judicial/jury system, as well with what we consider legal consent and age. (another topic)
With confessed pedophiles and murderers, (those who like the media and want to write books about it) my heart says, hang them on the spot, in public, like in days of old, within 2 weeks, just enough time to build a scaffold, not millions of dollars in appeals. But, if the confession is made under duress or cohersion ( for a lighter sentance) , we do have a problem.

Does society actually lose anything by this verdict, or do we gain something?

Within the constraints of the current system, we lose nothing more than a whole lot of money in executing Smith. We gain peace of mind that this man will never hurt another child. But we could have gained that with an assured life imprisonment which would have saved the state aprox 2.5 million dollars, and his possible/probable death in jail anyway, with a whole lot more punishment than a sterile execution will offer him. But what can you do? While we have the death penalty we will be forced to use it.


Know Paine
Is the sentence just?
I see no justice in killing an unarmed prisoner.

Should this be the sentence for all who rape and murder children?
He is getting off too easy. It is clear that he is dangerous and must be removed from society. I'd rather see such offenders perform slave labor for life under the custody of the state. This method lowers the cost of maintaining the prisons and offers low cost goods to government entities. It is more satisfying than killing, knowing that the offender is providing a great service to the community.

Does society actually lose anything by this verdict, or do we gain something?
We lose some some civility every time we kill someone. We lose some freedom every time we elevate government to have authority over life and death. We lose a ton of money. We lose the benefit of a lifetime of servitude.

We gain the guilt of killing a defenseless human being.

QUOTE(Artemise)
While we have the death penalty we will be forced to use it.
Not necessarily. New Jersey has spent over a quarter billion dollars in the past 24 years executing no one.
Julian
Is the sentence just?

Life without parole would be just. Even life with parole, if he gets out when he's too old to molest himself, let alone anyone else, would be acceptable punishment to me.

I don't like the death penalty for several reasons. In principle, the penal system has three main functions, and the DP fails on all three to my mind.

Firstly, the penal system is rightly about punishment. Now, I don't particularly believe in an afterlife, so I have no idea whather the excecuted prisoner suffers in any way beyond the immediate process of execution. For a case such as this, I don't think that's nearly enough. I'd much rather that they rot in jail, where I know that they won't be having a fun time, than die, where my belief system leads me to think they are consigned to oblivion just like I will be. Why should they have essentially the same amount of fun as me, who has done nothing like as bad?

Secondly, the penal system is about rehabilitation. Clearly the death penalty can't possibly make anyone a better person, except perhaps in a notional and intangible afterlife - nobody learns much from death in any way that anyone has ever been able to demonstrate. So any small amout of good even the most monstrous criminal might be able to do after sentencing is lost.

Thirdly, the penal system is (supposedly) about deterrance. I think deterrance is a rational concept, but I think that crimes are either so spontaneous, impulsive or opportunist that rational calculation plays no part - people only worry about what might happen afterwards (so they hide evidence or run away or both). Or, it is pre-planned in an effort to evade detection from the get-go. Either way, the sentence that you MIGHT get IF you are caught AND charged AND convicted AND sentenced to the maximum penalty seems like too much of a string of possibilities and dependencies for any criminal to really consider it. (With the DP, a possible exception might be a professional or serial killer, who might come to view it as some kind of occupational hazard the same way that other professional criminals view prison).

And in practice, the system is flawed because the a small but significant minorty of innocents are convicted all the time. Especially in countries whose mental health systems may not be sufficiently robust to take care of people who are, frankly, so stupid or deranged that they are a danger to themselves and others. (Which has pretty much always been the case in the USA, and is now true in the UK too.)

Should this be the sentence for all who rape and muder children?

I think the sentence should be mandatory and universal for such crimes, whatever that sentence might be, but I don't think that it should be death.

Does society actually lose anything by this verdict, or do we gain something?

I think that societies who kill, judicially or not, lose something very precious - a degree of dignity, and the top of the moral high ground. If we condemn people who kill, especially those who, for some reason, think they are right to do so, because we think it is right to kill them, how are we any different than they are?

Killers lack compassion and judgement, yet when the state kills a killer based on a justice system that we know to be flawed (cases can collapse and appeals can work no matter how convinced the world may be that the accused is guilty at the time), the state is somehow better and morally superior to the people they decide to kill that week?

It all sounds a bit implausible to me...
Yogurt
QUOTE(Julian @ Mar 16 2006, 12:58 PM)

Especially in countries whose mental health systems may not be sufficiently robust to take care of people who are, frankly, so stupid or deranged that they are a danger to themselves and others. (Which has pretty much always been the case in the USA, and is now true in the UK too.)


Actually not Julian, we used to have a pretty good institutional system to assist them. They had a place to live, three squares, and medical care to some extent. Then we decided that they deserved rights:
1. The right to sleep in cardboard boxes.
2. The right to defecate on themselves.
3. The right to freeze their appendages to the point they require amputation.
4. The right to become a public health hazard in, and of, themselves.

I know, I used to shuttle them to the ER smile.gif

Aren't rights wonderful!
BoF
Is the sentence just?

Like others, I am opposed to the death penalty in general.

The answer to this question is “yes” and “no.” Within the context of Florida law it is “just.” I watched CNN somewhat spel-bound yesterday as Judge Andrew Owens spent nearly two hours going over aggravating circumstances and legal and non-legal mitigating circumstances. The judge ruled whether or not the state or defense had established the aggravating and mitigating circumstances and assigned value to each item.

One of the more annoying elements of Mr. Smith's defense was his alleged "spiritual growth," while awaiting trial and sentencing was a mitigating factor. It seems Smith was being instructed by a Catholic priest and a priest-in-training. While such may have value to Smith as a person, I'm not impressed with claims by inmates who convenientlyh find Jesus in the jail's broom closet, library or wherever. This is just an opinion, but I think eve giving weight to an inmate’s religious conversion or "spiritual growth" borders on a violation of the establishment clause.

While I don't think Texas should have executed Karla Faye Tucker, I don't think her conversion to Christianity, however genuine, should have been a factor in sparing her. While one could reasonably argue that Tucker’s 14 years aan exemplarily death row inmate was grounds for commutation, the question of whether Christianity was the driving force behind her good behavior should not be considered.

http://www.geocities.com/CapitolHill/Senate/2903/

While I disagree with states having the death penalty, the state might as well abolish capital punishment if this case doesn’t fit the parameters.

While I would like to abolish the death penalty in the U. S., I have a hard time finding any compassion for Joseph Smith personally.

Artemise made one of the more cogent points on this thread.

QUOTE(Artemise @ Mar 16 2006, 03:39 AM)
This guy would likely be killed in prison, because child rapists and murderers dont last long. Now we must keep him 'safe' until his execution, which could cost Florida upwards of 3 million dollars.


I think life in prison without the possibility of parole would be a far more severe penalty than giving Smith a lethal injection. At age 39, Smith might spend thirty years or more living each and every day in a total hell.

Should this be the sentence for all who rape and murder children?

All is impossible. The point is not whether this should or shouldn’t happen, but if can it happen. The answer is no. Part of the reason I oppose the death penalty is that it isn’t, and I don’t think can be, enforced uniformly. Twelve states and the District of Columbia have no death penalty.

http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/state/

I predicted, and stand by the prediction, that California death row inmate Scott Peterson will never be executed. Smith, is a different story. Were talking about Florida and a death row inmate who is certain to be quite unpopular. Not only is the death penalty non-existent in some states, but the chances of actually being executed depend on which death penalty state we are talking about.

All is also impossible because we couldn’t impose the death penalty if a mentally retarded person or someone under the age of 18 committed the same crime.

Does society actually lose anything by this verdict, or do we gain something?

As far as Smith himself is concerned, we don’t lose much, but I don’t think we gain anything we couldn’t achieve with life without parole.

If I seem some what conflicted on this case, it is because I am. I am having to balance the death penalty, which I hate in concept, against a defendant that I equally detest.
Sleeper
QUOTE(BoF)
I think life in prison without the possibility of parole would be a far more severe penalty than giving Smith a lethal injection. At age 39, Smith might spend thirty years or more living each and every day in a total hell.



But won't this fall under cruel and unusual punishment for some? Many are up in arms about so called torture at Club Gitmo, but yet you are saying it's ok to knowingly put a human being into a situation. I can already see it now. If we abolish the death penalty in the United States the next step by those on the far left will be about horrid prison conditions and keeping sexual offenders and child rapist separate from the rest of the population to keep the "protected". One day in the future I know I will hear the argument that putting a person in a confined jail cell is cruel and unusual punishment. Yay for criminal rights blink.gif
AuthorMusician
Is the sentence just?

You know, I started out thinking that no Judeo-Christian law system could ever support the death penalty due to the commandment about not killing or murdering, depending on the translation. But then I thought about the other Judeo-Christian laws that promote killing or murdering. So, in a warped kind of way, yeah. It's justified.

But that doesn't make it right.

I don't think it's right to solemnly and with a clear mind, with no other excuse like being mentally imbalanced, strap someone onto a table and inject that person with lethal chemicals. That's murder in the worst degree. It's sober and sane, premeditated and studied, sanctioned by society and the courts, passionless, cold and extremely cruel.

But we save children! Oh wow, listen to that. Are we so inept that we can't keep someone locked up for life? Do we have to resort to murder because we are incompetent? And let's not kid ourselves. Capital punishment is murder in the worst degree. Resolve that with the Creator, or admit that the commandment about not killing or murdering, depending on the translation, isn't really saying that.

Thou shalt not kill or murder, unless . . .

Should this be the sentence for all who rape and muder children?

See above.

Does society actually lose anything by this verdict, or do we gain something?

Loss. Big time. Executioners know this. Ask me if I'd feel this way if a family member were to be murdered, and I'll say yeah? So what's your point, that I'm human? Ask me if I would administer the death cocktail to someone I don't know and who murdered a complete stranger, or at least that's what the jury said.

Thou shalt not kill or murder, depending on the translation, unless a jury trumps this commandment.

Ask me if God commands murder. I'll have to say that we have a little bit of confusion on this issue, and I'm going with the idea that we should not murder anyone. Use contraceptives and life in prison. Figure out why people do the things they do, put the energy into that. Voila, end of confusion, and a foot steps forward.

Edited to add post script:

Hey, lock the mofos up for life and study the crap out of them. That ought to be a good punishment, plus it would provide thesis subjects for post grads.
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Know Paine
QUOTE(AuthorMusician @ Mar 17 2006, 10:44 AM)
You know, I started out thinking that no Judeo-Christian law system could ever support the death penalty due to the commandment about not killing or murdering, depending on the translation. But then I thought about the other Judeo-Christian laws that promote killing or murdering. So, in a warped kind of way, yeah. It's justified.
With all due respect, I can imagine how easy it is to forget "Thou shalt not kill" when the center of focus is salvation through execution. Those are honorable who can successfully reconcile the two.
Bikerdad
Is the sentence just?
Yes.

Should this be the sentence for all who rape and murder children?
Yes.

Does society actually lose anything by this verdict, or do we gain something?
We gain the assurance that this vile individual will never hurt another child. We gain the assurance that no future judge or governor will ever set this predator loose on society. We also have affirmed the knowledge that there is justice.

Know Paine
QUOTE(Bikerdad @ Mar 17 2006, 12:29 PM)
Is the sentence just?
Yes.
[...] We also have affirmed the knowledge that there is justice.
Would you be so kind as to elaborate on your concept of justice? Some have said it is just because it was executed within the confines of the law. Others have said it is not just because the addition of killing solves nothing that permanent incarceration could not.

I gather here that you fear an eventual release. You have a broken system if a single person is capable of setting someone free without any oversight. Is your idea of justice an eye for an eye, or is there more to it than that?
KivrotHaTaavah
1) Is imposition of the death penalty in this instance just?

If he is guilty, yes.

2) Should we impose the penalty of death on all those who rape and murder children?

If truly sane, yes. If not, then, no.

3) Do we gain or lose anything by this verdict?

This isn't about gaining or losing, but is instead about the rape and murder of one created in the image of God. And sorry to say, but the reason why the penalty for murder [murder, and not kill] is death is precisely and only because you, I, and the young Ms. Brucia were created in the image of God. And we otherwise have a rather extraordinary interest in vindicating the life and bodily integrity of the young Ms. Brucia. And that is what this is about. Not revenge, not vengence, but about vindicating the life and bodily integrity of young Ms. Brucia. And, true, we could lock up the human in question and then throw away the key. But while that's a fine rationale for your and my protection, such says next to nothing about how much we value the life and integrity of a rather precious child. In fact, it says the opposite, to wit, how little we value the life of the young Ms. Brucia. I've read what all have had to say, and with a single exception, no one else has said word one about vindicating the life of the young Ms. Brucia. Is that because you don't truly care about her life? You say that you are outraged, and that you detest the human in question, but what by way of your response are you doing for her? You want to preserve your own dignity and integrity, or so you claim, and you don't want to be cruel to the human in question, and never mind, apparently, how cruel he was to her, so please tell me, what in all this is being done for the young Ms. Brucia? Had her life no value?

And the imposition of the sentence of death is, as stated, entirely just. The human in question did not recognize her right to live, and so we refuse to recognize his right to live [and maybe the priest whispers in his ear, just before that last breath, as you measured, so it is being measured back to you][and we'll otherwise leave the vengence to God]. And regarding the execution as being cold, passionless, and extremely cruel, well, I beg to differ, but even if such were true, again, what right has the human in question to complain, given that one might fairly describe his murder of the young Ms. Brucia as cold, passionless, and extremely cruel? Might we simply tell him that we are following his example?

Of course, we aren't following his example, since the difference between him and us, for those who would ask that question, is that he killed to indulge in his perservse, sick and twisted fantasies, while we are in turn killing him because we love and wish to vindicate the life of the young Ms. Brucia. And for a wholly cruel irony, in essence, all we are otherwise doing is exercising a right that the young Ms. Brucia was herself unable to exercise. The young Ms. Brucia possessed the inherent and inalienable right to kill the human in question when he decided to kill her. And so we are now doing that for her. And re any demeaning or otherwise detracting from dignity, tell me, if the young Ms. Brucia had rather timely grabbed hold of a no. 2 lead pencil and then stuck the thing through his left temple and then wriggled it around a bit, would such have demeaned or otherwise detracted from her dignity? Such would not have been at all pleasant for her, but such would have most certainly not demeaned or otherwise detracted from her dignity. So too with us.

As concerns the purported loss of freedom entailed in giving our government the power of life and death, funny, but I read something about, We the people...so my government is not executing the human in question, I am. And I am doing so of my own rational intellect and free will, and so, properly understood, I am surrendering nothing.

And one might otherwise fairly claim that any loss of civility lies not in executing the human in question, but in refusing to do so. More specifically, the Hebrew in question means "murder" and not "kill", as I alluded to above. And, sorry, but it wasn't any concern over revenge and/or vengence that prompted the life for life. Quite the opposite, as the report itself makes plain: It shall be life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, AND YOUR EYE SHALL NOT PITY. If revenge and/or vengenece and/or "mere" excess had been the concern, then why the words in CAPS? Seems to me that, as stated, the concern was just the opposite, i.e., some of us had a tad bit too much pity and so were not vindicating the lives of murdered persons such as the young Ms. Brucia. And, yes, I am aware that my Lord was executed as an enemy of the peace of Rome. But I am not executing the human in question as an enemy of the peace of Florida. Instead, and again, I am executing the human in question to vindicate the life of the young Ms. Brucia. And, no, I am also not otherwise executing the human in question so that I might preserve my nation and my place, nor will I otherwise be heard reporting that I have no king but Caesar. And that since I know just who my King is, and in just whose image the young Ms. Brucia was created [with all that such entails]. And so it is my King and his image that I am also vindicating in executing the human in question.

And re the guilt involved in killing, well, sorry, but again, the opposite is true of the claim made here prior. Maybe it is just because some are so enamored with the idea that they live under grace and not law [as it were], but when was the last time that we...well, let me simply post the text [Deut: 21:1-9]:

"If, in the land that the Lord your God is giving you to possess, someone slain is found lying in the open, the identity of the slayer not being known, your elders and officials shall go out and measure the distances from the corpse to the nearby towns. The elders of the town nearest to the corpse shall then take a heifer which has never been worked, which has never pulled a yoke; and the elders of that town...shall break the heifer’s neck...Then all the elders of the town nearest to the corpse shall wash their hands over the heifer...And they shall pronounce this declaration: 'Our hands did not shed this blood, nor did our eyes see it done. Absolve, O Lord, Your people Israel whom You redeemed, and do not let guilt for the blood of the innocent remain among Your people Israel.' And they will be absolved of bloodguilt. Thus you shall remove from your midst guilt for the blood of the innocent, for you will be doing what is right in the sight of the Lord."

So the guilt was already on us when the human in question murdered the young Ms. Brucia and we later found her dead and unattended body. All we can do now is to atone for and vindicate her murdered life. And to briefly return to the matter of our eyes not having pity, please note the part above reporting that, "nor did our eyes see it done." Why is that important? I'll let you all figure that one out on your own, since I am certain that you can imagine the import [but if not, if we knew who it was, we'd try and execute her/him/them, that poor heifer would be spared for another day, and we'd otherwise not be guilty of being accomplices after the fact (as it were)].

And the Mishnah, at Sotah 9:9, laconically reports that as the murderers among the people increased, that the rite of breaking the heifer's neck was abandoned...and not so coincidentally, at least according to those responsible for the Mishnah Sotah, not so long thereafter, some lost their nation and their place [Mishnah Sotah 9:9..."when murderers became many, the rite of breaking the heifer’s neck ceased"]. Or as some have reported by way of explaining abandonment of the described practice: The discontinuation of the ceremony of the broken-necked calf is associated with moral decline. Human life became cheapened, and when society found murder less shocking, the ceremony lost significance. And so here we are, having to bury the young Ms. Brucia.

And then there's Rabbi Akiba. Seems that before he became a learned sage of the Torah, that he had occasion to move the corpse of a murdered man that he had found on the road. He was rather severely chided for taking the corpse to the nearest cemetary, as a matter of fact, he was accused of having himself spilled the blood of the murdered human. Sound harsh? Well, met mitzvah kana mekomo, or, a corpse acquires the place in which it is found, and in this circumstance of the human found murdered, such operates to proclaim to all humanity the fact that we humans have allowed a murder to occur in our midst. And the reason why the murdered human is buried where found is because human dignity has been undermined to a rather extreme and severe degree, and if we bury the corpse in a cemetary, then only those having some more close or special affinity to/for the murdered human would likely pay a visit and otherwise be aware of the murder and all that such entails. And so we bury the murdered human where found to ensure that each and every one of us recognizes what has occurred. One otherwise wonders just how much murder there would be if our streets were marked by the graves of the met mitzvah [recalling again our saying....out of sight, out of mind]. But, hey, according to some, they were the primitive savages who sacrificed animals and stoned people, while we have "progessed" and become "more civilized." Of course, those saying such things have probably never tried to compare their and our murder rates.

Lastly, there is otherwise a line in the Talmud that provides: One who shows compassion on the cruel, will ultimately show cruelty on the compassionate. Or, if you prefer: He who is merciful at a time when he should be cruel is destined to be cruel at a time when he should be merciful.





Bikerdad
QUOTE(Know Paine @ Mar 17 2006, 03:04 PM)
QUOTE(Bikerdad @ Mar 17 2006, 12:29 PM)
Is the sentence just?
Yes.
[...] We also have affirmed the knowledge that there is justice.
Would you be so kind as to elaborate on your concept of justice? Some have said it is just because it was executed within the confines of the law. Others have said it is not just because the addition of killing solves nothing that permanent incarceration could not.
Justice = getting what you deserve. What you deserve is determined by what you have done. What this perp did is brutalize then kill a child, hence he deserves death. I'll do it. I'll pull the trigger to put a bullet between the eyes, flip the switch to send 100k volts coursing through him, kick the stump out from under him so he drops from the noose, swap his arm for the lethal injection, etc. I'll do it because its something a responsible man, invested in protecting the least of our citizens, will do. I'll do it because if I had the opportunity to do it when he was raping that child, I would have done it then. It would have been justice then...

and justice delayed


is justice denied.



QUOTE
I gather here that you fear an eventual release.
It is a concern, but not the primary one.

QUOTE
You have a broken system if a single person is capable of setting someone free without any oversight.
Its been our system for 220 years or so. Governors and Presidents can pardon anyone under their jurisdiction, and it would take a slew of Constitutional amendments to change. Pardon is purely an executive function, and as such putting any oversight on it (save the oversight of political fallout) is unlikely. Judges, however, can be reined in, as Congress has the authority to dictate the types of cases the Courts can hear. Not that I see that happening anytime soon... dry.gif Furthermore, while I can see a case being made for reining in judges, I myself would vote against restricting the pardon power.

QUOTE
Is your idea of justice an eye for an eye, or is there more to it than that?
*

Yeah, pretty much, but there is more to it than that. Mercy. Before mercy comes into play though, justice must first be firmly upon its course.
Know Paine
QUOTE(KivrotHaTaavah @ Mar 17 2006, 08:14 PM)
...only because you, I, and the young Ms. Brucia were created in the image of God.  And we otherwise have  a rather extraordinary interest in vindicating the life and bodily integrity of the young Ms. Brucia.  And that is what this is about.  Not revenge, not vengence, but about vindicating the life and bodily integrity of young Ms. Brucia.
I believe this about sums up what you were trying to say. (Forgive me for reducing it in this way, for it is in my nature to cut away the overgrowth, though it may be like flowers, so that I may examine the stem and roots.)

Since you have chosen the religious route, I must ask: Was not the killer created in the image of God as well? You and I are as much from God as any criminal, so at what point does he lose the status you, I, and her all share? Why must we continue to seek redemption through execution?

You are insisting on vindication, how is that not revenge? If you were there when the crime was committed, and killing the criminal could stop him, then certainly you would have acted justly. But once the criminal is restrained, forever stripped of his freedom, and enslaved to the will of the state, by what cause do you pursue additional penalty? Do you seek revenge or remedy? Do you kill a fellow child of God who is unarmed, unable to touch another child, and capable of providing a great service to the community while in the custody of the state? He could give his life to us not through death, but servitude.

Would it not be better to let nature run its course and let God decide his ultimate fate? Or must we play God?
Bikerdad
QUOTE(Know Paine @ Mar 20 2006, 10:35 AM)
Why must we continue to seek redemption through execution?
Redemption for who? Where are you getting this redemption concept?

QUOTE
..and enslaved to the will of the state,
...
and capable of providing a great service to the community while in the custody of the state? He could give his life to us not through death, but servitude.
Death is wrong, but slavery is good? Gee, talk about setting up an incentive structure for the gov't to create lotsa capital crimes.

QUOTE
Would it not be better to let nature run its course and let God decide his ultimate fate? Or must we play God?
*

From a Christian standpoint, his "ultimate" fate will be decided by God regardless of whether "nature runs its course" or we send him to meet his Maker, and I suspect that the same is the case from a Jewish standpoint. Nor are we "playing God", rather we are discharging a responsibility that God has placed upon governments, to uphold justice.

Know Paine
QUOTE(Bikerdad @ Mar 20 2006, 12:49 PM)
Redemption for who?  Where are you getting this redemption concept?
The one to who I responded made it appear as though letting a killer live was immoral, criminal, or sinful in some manner.

QUOTE(Bikerdad @ Mar 20 2006, 12:49 PM)
Death is wrong, but slavery is good?  Gee, talk about setting up an incentive structure for the gov't to create lotsa capital crimes.
We may cause criminals to work with little or no pay and still treat them humanely. Certainly, feeding and sheltering an individual who has wronged you, and asking for not much but service in return, is not something I would find immoral. Enslaving one who has done no wrong is certainly immoral, and our constitution reflects that. (Amendment 13, abolishing slavery, includes "...except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted...") As far as this encouraging more capital crimes, remember it is the legislature that defines the crimes, and their only incentives are votes, and (unfortunately) campaign contributions.

QUOTE(Bikerdad @ Mar 20 2006, 12:49 PM)
From a Christian standpoint, his "ultimate" fate will be decided by God regardless of whether "nature runs its course" or we send him to meet his Maker, and I suspect that the same is the case from a Jewish standpoint.  Nor are we "playing God", rather we are discharging a responsibility that God has placed upon governments, to uphold justice.
I do hope to avoid getting too theological here, but it is my understanding that the responsibilities of governments are defined by the people, not God. In the context of a people with your idea of justice (an eye for an eye), this is sound sentiment, that execution is justice in cases of murder. This is precisely why I did not respond to your answer to me, as your reasoning has this opinion at it's root, and I am in no place to dictate to any other what their opinions should be. It was KivrotHaTaavah that concerned me, as the post appeared more geared toward revenge than justice. If this is the true sentiment I am supposed to observe in that post, then so be it.
Vermillion
I'm sorry KivrotHaTaavah, I mean no disrespect whatsoever to you or your personal opinion of your God, but you gave not a single argument in that long post, just a series of unlinked religious platitudes.

I mean, you repeated at least 5 or six times that the purpose of killing the murderer is to: "vindicate the life and bodily integrity of the young Ms. Brucia". I have to tell you the bad news, thats not an argument, in fact, it dosn;t even mean anything.

HOW exactly is killing her murdered vindicating her life and bodily integrity? You repeated a half dozen times that this can ONLY be done by killing her killer, but at no point did you never draw any sort of link or explanation for that rather meaningless assertion. How is putting him in prison for the rest of his days not 'vindicating the life and bodily integrity' of the victim?

And furthermore, explain to me how you 'vindicate the life and bodily integrity' of one person by TAKING the life and bodily integrity of another?

Exactly the same thing for your oft-repeated platitude that the victim was 'created in the image of God'. This again is NOT an argument, nor does it make the slightest sense. In this case however, its even worse. Not only is this a meaningless platitude, but it is a religious one where religion has no place, in the lagal system of the United States. Furthrmore, if you want to get religiously technical, its also false, genesis states man, not woman was made in the image of god, but thats neither here nor there. The fact that she may (or may not) have been made in the image of your god is in NO WAY an argument for the death penalty. It does not even TRY to make an argument.

People who oppose the death penalty are not devaluing the life of the victim, that is not only false but an insulting accusation. Rather it is the pro-death penalty who rest solely on the shoulders of hypocracy, claiming the 'value the life of the victim more', and then taking another life. I'm pretty sure I read somewhere something about two wrongs not making a right...

You go even further and ask, 'what is being done for the victim'? Oh, so now killing the perpetrator is a gift to the victim? I'm sorry, but for all your claims to the contrary that is the exact DEFINITION of revenge.


QUOTE
And the imposition of the sentence of death is, as stated, entirely just.  The human in question did not recognize her right to live, and so we refuse to recognize his right to live


I find it baffling that someone who would couch their reply in such religious language would them make this kind of brutal and absolutist statement.



QUOTE
since the difference between him and us, is that he killed to indulge in his perservse, sick and twisted fantasies, while we are in turn killing him because we love and wish to vindicate the life of the young Ms. Brucia.


Oh, I see... so now you are killing out of Love. How very holy of you.

QUOTE
The young Ms. Brucia possessed the inherent and inalienable right to kill the human in question when he decided to kill her.  And so we are now doing that for her.


Now this is a FACSINATING argument. The girl at the time had the right to kill her attacker, was unable to do so, so the state is killing him after the fact, for her?

Interestingly, you also have the right to kill somebody who: breaks into your house, rapes you, kidnaps you, threatens you with a weapon, steals your car with you in it, and so on. I assume that the state should 'after the fact' execute the perpetrators of those crimes as well?

Besides, if you are really doing this 'For her', then perhaps you should ask those who speak for her, like her father, who opposed the death penalty in favour of life without parole?


QUOTE
And, yes, I am aware that my Lord was executed as an enemy of the peace of Rome.  But I am not executing the human in question as an enemy of the peace of Florida.  Instead, and again, I am executing the human in question to vindicate the life of the young Ms. Brucia.


yes... Again, its a real pity that that does not mean anything... But I am certain your lord would approve... right?



At this point in your post you went right off the rails and started quoting scripture as an argument, so I shall stop here, having dealt with the elements of your post that have the slightest relevance.
Amlord
Is the sentence just?

Of course it is just. The law states that there are consequences for certain actions--including rape and murder. The punishment is within the bounds of the punishments prescribed by law. It is thus just.

Should this be the sentence for all who rape and murder children?

The sentence for all child rapists and murderers should be similar, just as the law dictates. When society is comfortable with keeping these poor excuses for human beings around indefinitely, then perhaps we can change the punishment.

Does society actually lose anything by this verdict, or do we gain something?
We lose a murderer and a child rapist. Society gains the comfort that comes with punishing the wicked. Addition by subtraction.

I will restate my view on criminal sentences: it is punishment for deeds committed against society. It is not vengeance, it is not rehabilitation. It is punishment. If society deems (as I deem) that murderers and rapists are not fit to live and that punishment is in place before the deeds are committed, then everyone is fully informed beforehand what the expectations are.

My church has a different view: that all life, even that of murderers, is sacred. My church feels it is not for man to judge other men. I disagree for the reasons stated above.
lederuvdapac
Is the sentence just?

The sentence is of course just as it follows the laws of the state which it was passed down. If the true question is whether the death penalty is just, then i would have to say yes to that again. Capital punishment is a sentence that has been around since the beginning of government and it shall remain so for the worst of crimes.

Should this be the sentence for all who rape and murder children?

That is for the people of the states to decide. We as a society have the power to determine the severity of sentences handed down and we make a social contract that if one breaks the law, there will be specific consequences.

Even though i agree with the death penalty, i do believe there is a better way. Someone suggested to me that a life sentence complete with hard labor would better serve society and i am inclined to agree. Imagine if someone knew that their life sentence meant that every day of their life they had to work in a chain gang or something...i think crime would be reduced and the criminal can in a way pay for his own incarceration.

Does society actually lose anything by this verdict, or do we gain something?

As Amlord pointed out, we lose a child rapist and murderer. I guess if you accept my view of hard labor for felons, than we also lose a cheap source of labor.
Bikerdad
What is the worth of a human life?

That is either a purely economic question, in which case we aren't worth much at all, given the limited value of our constituent elements, or it is a metaphysical question.

How you answer the metaphysical question is linked inextricably with one's definition of justice.

Vermillion dismisses KivrotHaTaavah's answer because he doesn't subscribe to KHT's metaphysical foundation. Well, those of us who do subscribe can just as easily and legitimately dismiss other foundations. As a society, such mutual dismissal poses a conundrum.

What are we left with as a means to sort this out? Amlord provides the answer.

It is just because that is the law. Lowest common denominator.

BoF
QUOTE(Bikerdad @ Mar 18 2006, 01:58 AM)
Its been our system for 220 years or so.  Governors and Presidents can pardon anyone under their jurisdiction, and it would take a slew of Constitutional amendments to change.  Pardon is purely an executive function, and as such putting any oversight on it (save the oversight of political fallout) is unlikely.


This may be true in general, but it is not universal. In Texas, the governor’s pardoning power is limited.

QUOTE
The judicial powers are to grant or deny recommendations for clemency and remissions of fines and forfeitures made by the Board of Pardons and Paroles; revoke a parole or conditional pardon and grant one thirty-day reprieve in a capital case at his own discretion; and, with the consent of the legislature, grant reprieves, commutations of punishment, and pardon in cases of treason.


http://www.tsha.utexas.edu/handbook/online...es/GG/mbg3.html
Bikerdad
QUOTE(BoF @ Mar 20 2006, 11:00 PM)
QUOTE(Bikerdad @ Mar 18 2006, 01:58 AM)
Its been our system for 220 years or so.  Governors and Presidents can pardon anyone under their jurisdiction, and it would take a slew of Constitutional amendments to change.  Pardon is purely an executive function, and as such putting any oversight on it (save the oversight of political fallout) is unlikely.


This may be true in general, but it is not universal. In Texas, the governor’s pardoning power is limited.
You are correct, I overlooked Texas, which is rather silly of me, since I've pointed out exactly the same thing when Gore and Kerry supporters attempted to villify Bush for the executions conducted during his term in Austin. mellow.gif

Perhaps some other states have similar limitations on the guvnah, but there are none for the Pres. As a generality, I stand by what I said, with the caveat you have helpfully recalled.

flowers.gif
Vermillion
QUOTE(Bikerdad @ Mar 21 2006, 02:22 AM)
What is the worth of a human life?

How you answer the metaphysical question is linked inextricably with one's definition of justice.


I agree, but I have always found an inherent contradiction in the 'philosophy' of much of the pro-death penalty camp. The concept seems to be (and correct me if I am wrong) That you value life SO MUCH, so much above all else, that you are willing to impose the ultimate sanction for taking life, and that anction is.... taking life?


QUOTE
Vermillion dismisses KivrotHaTaavah's answer because he doesn't subscribe to KHT's metaphysical foundation.  Well, those of us who do subscribe can just as easily and legitimately dismiss other foundations.  As a society, such mutual dismissal poses a conundrum.


Yes and no. I dismissed most of KivrotHaTaavah's statements because they contained no argument, just a series of meaningless platitudes. The rest of the statement I did not even address because it was simply a recidtation of scripture.

Unles the extreme religious right has staged a coup-d'etat, as far as I know the US is still a secular state based on seculkar laws, with a specific clause for the separation of church and state, so quoting Christian scripture could not really have been less relevant. Oh, also because on the face of it, using the teachings of Jesus to condone killing is so staggeringly hypoctitical is defies understanding. But that is a religious question, and we don't debate those here on AD.

QUOTE
It is just because that is the law.  Lowest common denominator.


Surely you know, even as you wrote this, what the answer would be. Shall I point out all the things over the history of the US that have been 'the law' but have NOT been right? Furthermore, if it is 'Just' because it is the law, then was it also 'Just' to NOT execute people between 1967 and 1977? How did what is 'just' change overnight like that?


Lastly, this debate is about the death penalty in a specific case, above. Discussing the death penalty in this case mitigates two of the primary arguments against the death penalty in this case, while you may or may not agree that the death penalty in theory is 'Just', it is very hard to argue that in the United States it has been applied 'justly', with more blacks executed since 1930 than all other races, though they form 11% of the population. This, and the threat to the wrongly convicted form two of the most powerful basies for eliminating the death penalty in the US.

I won't go into them here, but it is worth mentioning them once just to remind people that we ARE discussing the death penalty case here in a very specific context...
Bikerdad
QUOTE(Vermillion @ Mar 21 2006, 05:31 AM)
QUOTE(Bikerdad @ Mar 21 2006, 02:22 AM)
What is the worth of a human life?

How you answer the metaphysical question is linked inextricably with one's definition of justice.

I agree, but I have always found an inherent contradiction in the 'philosophy' of much of the pro-death penalty camp. The concept seems to be (and correct me if I am wrong) That you value life SO MUCH, so much above all else, that you are willing to impose the ultimate sanction for taking life, and that anction is.... taking life?
First, there is no contradiction in those taking the same approach as the Roman Catholic Church, opposed to both abortion and the death penalty. Others, such as myself, place a great deal more emphasis on individual personal responsibility and the novel concept of "innocence." Due to these two factors there is no contradiction. An unborn child is innocent, a murderer is not.

QUOTE
Yes and no. I dismissed most of KivrotHaTaavah's statements because they contained no argument, just a series of meaningless platitudes. The rest of the statement I did not even address because it was simply a recidtation of scripture.
Sorry, but they are not meaningless platitudes, they are part and parcel of a body of wisdom that is thousands of years old. I had no difficulty at all following KHT's argument, but that may very well be simply because I am familiar with the paradigm already.

QUOTE
Unles the extreme religious right has staged a coup-d'etat, as far as I know the US is still a secular state based on seculkar laws, with a specific clause for the separation of church and state, so quoting Christian scripture could not really have been less relevant. Oh, also because on the face of it, using the teachings of Jesus to condone killing is so staggeringly hypoctitical is defies understanding. But that is a religious question, and we don't debate those here on AD.
We don't debate religion, so arguments with a religious foundation carry no weight here, eh? thumbsup.gif

QUOTE
QUOTE
It is just because that is the law.  Lowest common denominator.

Surely you know, even as you wrote this, what the answer would be. Shall I point out all the things over the history of the US that have been 'the law' but have NOT been right? Furthermore, if it is 'Just' because it is the law, then was it also 'Just' to NOT execute people between 1967 and 1977? How did what is 'just' change overnight like that?
Mythical, non-existent activist judges. whistling.gif Note that the laws did not change, rather SCOTUS ruled in '67, then ruled differently in '77.

If you want to discuss "justice" as a moral concept, then every element that informs moral judgement must be allowed into the conversation. Otherwise, as I've already noted, we are left with the simple, stark solution presented by Amlord.

If he did it (which nobody here disputes), then the death penalty in this case is just, because that is the law.

QUOTE
Lastly, this debate is about the death penalty in a specific case, above. Discussing the death penalty in this case mitigates two of the primary arguments against the death penalty in this case, while you may or may not agree that the death penalty in theory is 'Just', it is very hard to argue that in the United States it has been applied 'justly', with more blacks executed since 1930 than all other races, though they form 11% of the population. This, and the threat to the wrongly convicted form two of the most powerful basies for eliminating the death penalty in the US.

I won't go into them here, but it is worth mentioning them once just to remind people that we ARE discussing the death penalty case here in a very specific context...
dry.gif Yes, we ARE discussing it in a very specific case. Since the perp is neither black, nor does anybody here make a claim as to his innocence, what exactly is the purpose of bringing those non-relevant factors up? hmmm.gif

herring
*

Vermillion
QUOTE(Bikerdad @ Mar 21 2006, 05:42 PM)
Sorry, but they are not meaningless platitudes, they are part and parcel of a body of wisdom that is thousands of years old.  I had no difficulty at all following KHT's argument, but that may very well be simply because I am familiar with the paradigm already.


No, they are meaningless platitudes. repeating ad nausium that it is OK for the state to kill somebody because it 'vindicate the life and bodily integrity of the victin'. Is by itself a meaningless platitude. When no attempt is made to explain what that entails, how it is done, how only death penalty can allow it, how other forms of punishment do not... If you make a statement like that with no foundation, link or even attempt at an explanation... well...

QUOTE
We don't debate religion, so arguments with a religious foundation carry no weight here, eh?  thumbsup.gif


Not like that we don't, No. If you or anyone wants to debate wheither Jesus would approve of the state putting people do death, go to a religious boar and do so. Otherwise exactly what value can be gained by a half page of quotes from the scripture? What exactly does that add to the debate on the merits of a secular legal system?

QUOTE
Mythical, non-existent activist judges.  whistling.gif  Note that the laws did not change, rather SCOTUS ruled in '67, then ruled differently in '77.


Oh, I forgot. Any judge that rules the way you do not want is an 'activist' judge. Actually, you should look at the ruling. Of the 5 judges who opposed the death penalty, two said it was wrong. The other three stated it was blatantly obvious that it is mis-applied and used unjustly. They were acting in the spirit of the constitution to prevent innocents from being killed. But, as that prvented your right to have people die, I guess that makes them ;activist', right?

QUOTE
If he did it (which nobody here disputes), then the death penalty in this case is just, because that is the law.


Tell you what Biker, I will accept that the death penalty is just because it is the law, if you will accept that Abortion is just, because it is legal. Easy enough for you?

QUOTE
  dry.gif  Yes, we ARE discussing it in a very specific case.  Since the perp is neither black, nor does anybody here make a claim as to his innocence, what exactly is the purpose of bringing those non-relevant factors up?  hmmm.gif


Its not a red herring, and it is pure absurdity for you to call it one when I myself stated these isues were not in dispute here. However it is almost impossible to debate the inherent 'justice' or 'injustice' of the death penalty with considering its application to beyond just this case. I didn't open that door in this debate, its already open...
KivrotHaTaavah
Vermillion:

The answer to your question is rather patently obvious. You and I can't raise the dead and so can't bring her back. So there will be no justice that we can afford the young Ms. Brucia. So by vindicating her life and bodily integrity, I am saying that we do what we can. What is the ultimate interest of the State? The very lives of its citizens? And why do most humans not murder? Because there is something in what we call their conscience that finds the idea of taking another human life abhorrent? And is the law the cause of the abhorrence we feel, or does it simply reflect that abhorrence? Or, was Kant correct when he said that in relation to law, conscience is "a priori"? So maybe, just maybe, our law is a reflection of our conscience, and since our conscience finds the taking of human life abhorrent, and the state's ultimate interest is otherwise the very lives of its citizens, we vindicate our conscience, our law, and the State's very existence by putting to death those who would murder? And we vindicate Ms. Brucia, well, let me first say that some have proved my point, knowingly or otherwise. The soon to be executed is, as some have said, himself in the image of God. So what is the young Ms. Brucia worth? It shall be life for life, and since his life is in the image of God, we have just proclaimed that hers is as well, at least if we do to him as he did to her. It isn't pretty, and it ought not to feel good. And it doesn't. This satisfaction that was mentioned is an absurdity. There will be nothing satisfying at all about his execution. The satisfaction will come when my God raises her and then wipes away every tear from her eyes. In the meantime, the consolation, and not satisfaction, and I suppose that the "strength" of one's faith [or lack thereof] will more specifically determine the consolation [if any], but the consolation is that though some have said that our children will be taken as war booty, Someone else says that they shall go in, to them he will give it, and they shall possess it.

And as I have my delusion, so too you have yours. So please spare me the words about meaningless platitudes. If there is no God, then there is no standard external to us by which our notions of morality and our actions and omissions can be judged. And so, instead of speaking in terms of right and wrong, guilt or innocence, you might as well just say that you prefer chocolate over vanilla. And maybe you and I think that Clara Barton was a better human than Hitler, but absent that external standard, I fail to see how you and I can logically claim that Hitler isn't just as entitled to say that you, I, and Clara Barton are lesser humans than he, and precisely because he, and not us, prefers chocolate over vanilla.

And this secular system that you last referred to, sorry, but others share my delusion. This Constitution that you presumably claim erects this wall, well, just where in the world did we get the idea that we have this "right" to enact a Constitution? Some might call that presumptuous [and I believe that someone did say just that]. But we claimed the right when we said, when in the course of human events it becomes necessary...and it became necessary because...We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men [should have been, humans] are created equal and are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness [and] [t]hat to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men...

Lucky me, since who and what are we vindicating again, at least according to me? And it may be my delusion, but lucky for me, my delusion was and is shared by some others. Our government only exists, as I said, to preserve our lives. And that meaningless platitude about her being in that One's image, well, as the quoted document proclaims, it was her Creator, and not me, you and/or the State, that gave her her life. And as related and noted, we did indeed institute government to secure her right to life. But we didn't secure her life. And now she's dead. And so, as I said, we are doing what we can. And as I also said, what we can do is execute the human in question. And in executing the human in question, we validate our conscience, as reflected in the quoted document, we validate that the young Ms. Brucia was given her life by God, or as I put, that she is created in God's image, we validate our conscience again by validating our law, and, lastly, we validate the very existence of the state itself, since again, it is precisely to secure Ms. Brucia's God-given right to life that the state itself even exists.

The alternative to the above can be found in Stalin's USSR, Mao's China, and purportedly Democratic Kampuchea, states that were about as secular as secular could ever hope to be. But again lucky for me, we protect freedom of conscience and do not even begin to attempt to prohibit one's politics from being informed by one's conscience, and even when that conscience is formed and molded by one's faith. So I would suggest that you understand that your philosophy [maybe that will sound better to you than "your delusion"] is more fascist than libertarian, since you claim that I cannot allow my conscience to inform my politics. And the rather Orwellian nature of your philosophy is otherwise no more plainly evidenced than by the notion that you apparently believe that it is even possible for my conscience to not inform my politics.

And re the brutal and absolutist, why is such the circumstance? By the acts of his own hands, the human in question demonstrated, for all of us to see, that he does not believe that the young Ms. Brucia had a right to live. So please tell me why it is brutal and absolutist for me to say that we ought to now refuse to acknowledge his right to live? Sorry, friend, but the standard we are applying is his, and not ours, at least in this respect, and I frankly don't see how he or you have any right to complain that it is brutal or absolutist. Don't blame me, blame the one who set the standard. And maybe, just maybe, the human in question, desiring to respect the humanity of others, ought to have thought about this before he did what he did. The fact that he didn't isn't my fault, it's his. And the purportedly brutal and absolutist comes in because this was no accident, was no miscalculation, was not the product of excusable ignorance or neglect, but was instead the intentional killing of another human with malice aforethought and without any colorable claim of defense of self and/or others. And it simply does not get any more depraved and indifferent than that. All that I am otherwise asking is that we allow his measure of justice to be applied to him. And maybe it is just your presumed absence of legal training, but it is black letter law going back to Blackstone that those seeking equity must first do equity. And the refusal that I wrote of is the refusal contemplated by that maxim of our settled jurisprudence and which is otherwise part of the very foundation of what some have called our system of ordered liberty.

Lastly, as ought to by now be obvious, re purportedly meaningless platitudes, the claim that the human to be executed has value or is otherwise entitled to live is, as you have said, a meaningless platitude. Accordingly, I can see no logical reason why you should have objection to his execution.


Knowing Paine:

Sorry, but I don't own slaves. And never will. I find the allowance of involuntary servitude provided by the 13th amendment to be abhorrent. We otherwise have a right to demand justice, you took a life and so you owe us one, and you took $400 from my aunt and so you've got to pay her back and otherwise compensate her for her loss of use of that sum in the interim period. But we don't have a right to make someone fix the roadway for $1 a day when the prevailing minimum wage for human labor is rather higher than that figure. I'd otherwise like them to earn more, since they are being unjustly enriched at our expense [it may not be the Ritz Carlton, but a roof over one's head is still a roof over one's head, and while the food won't be mistaken for the creation of the greatest French chef in history, it still sustains life, and so both must be compensated for].

And maybe it's just brutal me [I know, not your description but someone else's], or maybe it's just my delusion, but this inmate, well, he's now our ward, and that entails a whole host of responsibilities. Prisons are otherwise rather violent places, and here's the hypocrisy of some [I didn't say you], but here I am, brutal me, having been accused of dehumanizing our murdering kinsman because I want him killed. Of course, I could say that putting him in a cage is dehumanizing since he isn't an animal on exhibit at the zoo. I could also say that holding him to involuntary servitude is dehumanizing since he isn't an ox. And I could further say that we are so morally bankrupt and/or just too damned callously indifferent, such that we have no problem with putting this man in a rather violent place where he might be subject to some rather violent conduct, both physical, and more specifically, sexual, and somehow, that makes some more moral than me because they prefer that circumstance over his execution. And, of course, I could even further note that here I am being accused of taking a satisfaction-filled revenge on this man, but yet, I might note by way of reply that those truly taking the satisfaction are those who are indeed taking some satisfaction from contemplating the possible adverse action that might be taken with respect to this human while in prison under our care. But, hey, that's just the opinion of brutal me.

And then there's the flip-side. Unlucky him, since he's going to have to live the rest of his life living in regret of the fact that he murdered the young Ms. Brucia, but then again...

Was Charles Ng expressing regret when he drew all those drawings depicting the sexual slavery cum rape cum murder of all those women he held as sexual slaves, raped, and then murdered? And what was Ted Bundy doing with the photos of those murdered by the Green River Killer [graciously provided by a well-meaning but not critically thinking law enforcement officer]? Was Ted using those photos as the means by which to bring to fruition his perverse, sick, and twisted masturbatory fantasies? That's what I thought, at least when I saw the show on the tele. And I otherwise know why Charles Ng drew what he drew [one look at the drawings was enough for that]. And so it shall be life for life, and my eye shall not pity...lest in my pity I accomplish nothing more than allowing those two humans to re-live and otherwise take and enjoy a continuing satisfaction in the murder of our fellow humans. Well, there's that, and also the proposition that these humans simply don't get to desecrate the memory of our murdered dead. Sorry, but that's much too brutal even for brutal me.

And to now bring Vermillion back into the discussion, I trust that you, he, and some others understand that executing this murderer is otherwise wholly rational. Again, the ultimate interest of the state is in the very lives of its citizens. Did the human that murdered respect that interest? And so he represents the most extreme danger to the state, since by his acts he has denied, for all to see, the very legitimacy of the state and its right to exist. And so maybe the rational state understands that since ideas can spread like wildfire, better that the state extinguishes this wildfire lest it spread and consume the state.

And then there is the matter of these other lives that we'd like to also vindicate. Again, prisons are violent places. And not only for inmates, but also for guards. How many guards have been murdered by inmates down through the ages? So in your mercy, or pity, we are going to have to expose another human to another human who has already demonstrated that he or she has little in the way of compunction when it comes to the taking of human life. So may I simply ask how many more humans you would have us sacrifice on the altar of mercy?

Lastly, you can read my remarks above re revenge and satisfaction. All I will otherwise add in that regard is that the problem is not capital punishment and its purported lack of a deterrent effect. If there is any problem in the deterrence, the problem lies not in the deterrent but in its administration. I know that to a certainty because I have had the singular pleasure to participate in competitive team sports. And of those coaches who were worth their weight in salt as coaches, each of them had a certain standard of conduct that they expected the team members to adhere to. Violations of those standards were dealt with according to a brutal vigor. And, sorry, but I didn't need to experience the brutal vigor myself in order to learn the lesson and otherwise draw the appropriate conclusion. The lesson was that respected or not, it had been decided that these certain standards were a rather vital ingredient to the success of the team and were going to be enforced come hell or high water, and the appropriate conclusion to be drawn was that respected or not, one would nevertheless do rather well in conforming one's conduct to the standards that had been set. I otherwise see no material or substantive difference/distinction between me and the rest of the team, on the one hand, and me, you, and the rest of our fellow citizens on the other. And with our team of fellow citizens in view, I would lastly submit that all that has ever been lacking in our regard is the enforcement with brutal vigor. And so we have the consequence, which is not only the disrespect of the standards themselves, but also of the one[s] setting those standards. And so we've had to bury the late Ms. Brucia.

And perhaps I should report again on the positive nature of revenge, or should I say, the positive that comes from viewing revenge as a form of deterrence. And revenge operates as deterrence because it sends the message that we are essentially strong and therefore it was most foolhardy for you to have violated us by murdering the young Ms. Brucia. And no surprise that the Arab states are still true believers in capital punishment, since it is entirely their history that revenge operates as deterrence, conveying to one and to all the rather clear and concise premise that we are indeed essentially strong and as such it was most foolhardy for you to have even thought of violating us...

Sorry, one more. The human in question otherwise exhibited what some would call and do call, predatory behavior. Well, there's a way of dealing with predators. One either kills them, or drives them off. The only other alternative is to send the message...essentially we are strong, and therefore, it would be most foolhardy for you to have violated us. Of course, to send that message, one must usually kill or grievously injure one's predator. So call me a beast if you must, or maybe just prey, but know that this beast as prey has an advanced cerebral cortex and so knows just what the wildebeast does not, and so rather than sacrifice a few of our number to the predators, we're going to instead stampede and either crush them to dust or drown them.

And for the biblical part of this, consider Amalek, which is otherwise code for all those who would prey on the young, the old, the feeble, and the infirm. You do recall the divine command in this regard, yes? As brutal and as absolutist as life for life, yes? Now you know why. And how long are we to be at war with Amalek? Throughout our generations? And what do we do when we are at war? Or should I ask, what was Saul instructed to do? And going back to maintaining them alive as slaves, was that not Saul's sin, that he spared some such that they could be maintained as slaves? And, lastly, re the purported satisfaction, none ought be taken, as everything that might be of value to us is supposed to be burned [and thereby destroyed], as was the circumstance then.
Vermillion
QUOTE(KivrotHaTaavah @ Mar 22 2006, 03:00 AM)
The answer to your question is rather patently obvious.  You and I can't raise the dead and so can't bring her back. So there will be no justice that we can afford the young Ms. Brucia.  So by vindicating her life and bodily integrity, I am saying that we do what we can.


Yes... remember when I called that term a meaningless platitude? Perhaps I should explain that again. It was (and is) because it is nothing but a florid assertion which you have made no attempt to demonstrate at all through any kind of argument.

'You do what you can', is the extent of the justification for killing somebody? Sorry, if you are going to rationalise ending a person's life, I would hope for more than 'we do what we can' punctuated with the occasional 'Jesus would have done it' and more scripture.

I honestly mean NO offense to your personal interpretation of your religion here, I am sure you hold it very deeply and it provides you great strength. But to make an 'argument', you need to provide 'argumentation' and even, sometimes, 'evidence'.

How is killing this man vindicating the life and bodily integrity of the victim? How is throwing this person in prison forever NOT vindicating her life and bodily integrity? As you say both her life and her bodily integrity are gone and cannot be restored. As I have stated, no matter how you dress it up, that sounds like the absolute dictionary definition of revenge. Besides, as I said, the father of the victim opposed the death penalty, in favour of life without parole, who would no better how to 'vindicating her life and bodily integrity' than him?


QUOTE
So maybe, just maybe, our law is a reflection of our conscience, and since our conscience finds the taking of human life abhorrent, and the state's ultimate interest is otherwise the very lives of its citizens, we vindicate our conscience, our law, and the State's very existence by putting to death those who would murder?


No, thats not called 'vindication', its called 'hypocracy'. You just said the state's ultimate interest is the lives of its citizens, and then use THAT as an argument for the state ending the life of one of its citizens. Please see my earlier comment on 'argumentation'.

QUOTE
It shall be life for life, and since his life is in the image of God, we have just proclaimed that hers is as well, at least if we do to him as he did to her. 


'Do to him as he did to her' = Revenge.


QUOTE
If there is no God, then there is no standard external to us by which our notions of morality and our actions and omissions can be judged.  And so, instead of speaking in terms of right and wrong, guilt or innocence, you might as well just say that you prefer chocolate over vanilla.  And maybe you and I think that Clara Barton was a better human than Hitler, but absent that external standard, I fail to see how you and I can logically claim that Hitler isn't just as entitled to say that you, I, and Clara Barton are lesser humans than he, and precisely because he, and not us, prefers chocolate over vanilla.


OK, this is both wrong and insulting. Firstly it is absurd to declare there is no standard for good or bad without God, it is equally absurd to state that the alternative to a 'Religious moral' person is Hitler. One has to ask if you actually believe that yourself?

And shall I educate you on all the various states throughout history which HAVE been based on the rule of an interpretation of the word of god, including the Christian god and the horrors and excesses they perpetrated? Before Hitler, any atrocity you care to mention tended to happen at the hands of religiously driven authorities, so don't get all moral high horse about us 'godless heathens and our inability to be moral'. The Church has shown humanity more about horror and inhumanity than any single stablishment in the history of man.


Let me tell you something: I do not trust a secular government to execute its citizens, but I trust it 100x, 1000x more than I would trust a theocratic society. Secular societies execute murderers because they think its just. Theocratic societies burn people at the stake for apostacy because 'God says so'.

And because 'God told them to', and these people believe that God's morality is higher than theirs, they can IGNORE their own personal HUMANIST ideas of right and wrong in favour of this 'higher moral centre' you speak of.

Religion doesn't give people a moral centre, it REPLACES their moral centre. Do you think 19 year old boys would be blowing themselves up on Israeli buses for a political movement? They are doing so because they believe only 'higher moral law' of their God.

And you know what? As you said, there are others who share my opinions, oddly, the same people you tried to assert earlier shared yours:


"What influence, in fact, have ecclesiastical establishments had on society? In some instances they have been seen to erect a spiritual tyranny on the ruins of the civil authority; on many instances they have been seen upholding the thrones of political tyranny; in no instance have they been the guardians of the liberties of the people. Rulers who wish to subvert the public liberty may have found an established clergy convenient auxiliaries. A just government, instituted to secure and perpetuate it, needs them not." James Madison

"History I believe furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government. This marks the lowest grade of ignorance, of which their political as well as religious leaders will always avail themselves for their own purpose." Thomas Jefferson

"I almost shudder at the thought of alluding to the most fatal example of the abuses of grief which the history of mankind has preserved--the Cross. Consider what calamities that engine of grief has produced!" John Adams


I apologise to all for taking this off further into religious territory, which we know is discouraged on this board, but I could not allow such a bald-faced inaccurate assrtion to go by unchallenged.


So, rather than further debate the various fallacies with your interpretation of your god, I shall again state that this is irrelevant here, and that you live (despite, apparently, your fervent wish) in a secular state with secular laws. You personal interpretation of the opinions of people who wrote about your God have no basis in deciding the laws of the state, nor should they.

If that really galls you, you might want to consider www.christianexodus.com


QUOTE
This Constitution that you presumably claim erects this wall, well, just where in the world did we get the idea that we have this "right" to enact a Constitution?


You believe the right to have a constitution was given by God. OK, won't debate how silly that it because it irrelevant.

QUOTE
endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness [and] [t]hat to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men...


I'm sorry, but when you say 'Life' is an inalienable right, and Governments are there to secure those rights... how then do you go from that to stating the government can remove one of these inalienable rights (handed down by God, you believe?)

QUOTE
Our government only exists, as I said, to preserve our lives.


And yet here you are, arguing the exact opposite of that. Interesting.

QUOTE
it was her Creator, and not me, you and/or the State, that gave her her life.


You are right there, at least about the state. The state did not give her life, the state did not give him life. And despite all those comments I SWEAR I read somehere about 'vengence is mine, sayeth the lord', and 'The Lord giveth, and the lord taketh away', you seem happy to ignore all that and take the responsibility for ENDING that life onto the hands of the government. Interesting.

QUOTE
And in executing the human in question, we validate our conscience, as reflected in the quoted document,


Now THAT is interesting. YOU may need to kill a man to validate your concience, but my concience (the one with no moral centre, remember?) does not require blood. My concience is served by locking him up for the rest of his days.

QUOTE
And so maybe the rational state understands that since ideas can spread like wildfire, better that the state extinguishes this wildfire lest it spread and consume the state.


See, thats odd. If we were to take, say, the top 15 nations in the world to live according to the UN: Only ONE of them has the death penalty (the US) and yet the US has the highest pr capita murder rate of any of them. The other 14 seem to be unaware that their state is (according to KivrotHaTaavah) about to be consumed. So too with every other first world state on the planet except the US, and occasionally Japan. How 'irrational' of them.


QUOTE
So I would suggest that you understand that your philosophy [maybe that will sound better to you than "your delusion"] is more fascist than libertarian, since you claim that I cannot allow my conscience to inform my politics.


I find it staggering that YOU are accusing me of fascism, YOU are saying I cannot allow 'your holy concience' into this debate... all the while YOU are arguing FOR executing people, while I am arguing for sparing their lives. How's that for voluminous irony? Hey, you know what ELSE states led by Hitler, Stalin and Mao did? They executed their citizens. Quite a few of them in fact.

See? I can make absurd compairasons too!


QUOTE
By the acts of his own hands, the human in question demonstrated, for all of us to see, that he does not believe that the young Ms. Brucia had a right to live.  So please tell me why it is brutal and absolutist for me to say that we ought to now refuse to acknowledge his right to live?Sorry, friend, but the standard we are applying is his


Because that is nothing but revenge, and the state has no place in the revenge buisness. Because the state MUST hold itself to a HIGHER standard than the standard of a brutal rapist and murderer. If we, as you say, hold our society to HIS standard, then does it not follow that the NEXT murderer is holding Himself to the standard of Society? The point is this man is a murderer, the state is NOT. The state has no place in taking the lives of its citizens, what you earlier described as an inalienable, God given right.

I'm not defending this man, he is appauling, he raped and murdered a child. I cannot imagine a worse crime. I sencerely think he should be put into a cell for the rest of his days. But to argue that we should kill him because 'thats the standard HE used' is absurdity epitomised.


QUOTE
And maybe it is just your presumed absence of legal training, but it is black letter law going back to Blackstone that those seeking equity must first do equity.


So, I suppose the state should rape this man before we execute him? I mean, thats your argument right? That there can be no justice without 'absolute equity'? I mean, if we didn't RAPE him before killing him, then that just wouldn't be JUST as according to your 'more holy' moral system. Furthermore, if a man steals a car, we should just steal his car, and if a man beats up a woman, we should beat up his wife. Right?

Or maybe, just maybe your interpretation of what 'equity' means in this case is completely flawed.

QUOTE
Lastly, as ought to by now be obvious, re purportedly meaningless platitudes, the claim that the human to be executed has value or is otherwise entitled to live is, as you have said, a meaningless platitude.  Accordingly, I can see no logical reason why you should have objection to his execution.


Actually, thats utterly false. My saying the man's life has value is not a meaningless platitude: you yourself just claimed his life was an inalienable right handed down by God, and protected by the government, to say nothing of enshrined in the constitution. Or are you now also claiming the words of your God and the US constitution are meaningless platitudes?



OK, this is EXACTLY why religion has no place in these debates.
1- It cannot be argued logically, how does one oppose or defend the argument 'God says so'?
2- It is always taken personally, faith is deepy personal to many people, and many take opposition to it as a personal insult
3- It is nothing but an opinion. And I do not mean by that that the Bible is just an opinion (though IMO it is) I mean that there are an AWFUL lot of people (they call themselves Roman catholics) who use the EXACT SAME BIBLE as their sole source of inspiration, but have come to the exact opposite opinion as You, KivrotHaTaavah. THEY seem to believe Jesus would not like state executions, and not just because he was subjected to one himself. There is one Bible (actually there are dozens, but for the sake of argument...) but there are ten-thousand opinions on what that Bible means.
4- Oh, and its also against the rules of AD.


So, I have broken about four board rules in this post (though not as many as you did in yours), so can we PLEASE continue this WITHOUT quoting scripture or purely religious arguments?
Jaime
Let's refocus. Stop with preaching, religious arguments, and belittling tone. If we can't debate this in a civil fashion, we will close it.

TOPICS:


Is the sentence just?

Should this be the sentence for all who rape and muder children?

Does society actually lose anything by this verdict, or do we gain something?
KivrotHaTaavah
Vermillion:

At the risk of being on the receiving end of whatever discipline might follow the warning, you'll have forgive and/or indulge me, but sorry, and again, absent something external to us that can be used to judge our philosophy and our actions, then all there is your and my delusion. To think otherwise is for you to say that you deny God while at the same time setting yourself up as God. I'm not saying that anything is right because I say that it is right, I am saying that something is right because I believe that the External Standard says that it is right. And if that wasn't my delusion [faith], then I wouldn't otherwise be here talking to you about right and wrong, and I most certainly wouldn't be giving much thought for our soon to be executed friend, since I would instead, as some of the poets among us have said, be out there eating, drinking, and otherwise indulging my perverted, sick, and twisted fantasies, and all because tomorrow we die. And just who would you be to say any different? You say that there could be some meaning, while I say all that there would be is a waste of a good displacement wave or two or three or four [and some valuable ATP aka adenosine triphosphate as well]. And, sorry, but it is not my fault that you simply refuse to see the logical implications of your own philosophy. And to that extent, I make no apology whatsoever for finding absurd your claim that we can't bring our religion into the discussion because the same cannot be discussed logically. Sorry, friend, but life having value is a moral judgment that cannot be logically argued. We either accept that proposition or we do not. Call it an a priori assumption if you like, but know that it cannot be logically proven by us mere mortals.

And, yes, I am otherwise wholly aware of the evil that has been accomplished by those purporting to be acting on behalf of the External Standard. Now re Jefferson, pity that he lived before Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot aka Saloth Sar, Ieng Sary, Khieu Samphan, etc. Maybe his opinion might have then been more enlightened, given that while you and I can attribute more monstrous evil than we care to contemplate to those purporting to act on behalf of and/or according to the purported desires of the External Standard, the reality nevertheless remains that the most murderous, brutalizing, and dehumanizing regimes in history have been the godless atheistic states that have, in fact and at law. denied that you, I, and some others have certain rights that are ours by nature and/or were endowed by the External Standard. And, funny, well not funny, but I really don't feel like crying today, so funny that it just so happens, at least on my reading of our history, that those purporting to act on behalf of the External Standard while working a rather monstrous evil also just so happened to be denying, in word and in deed, that those on the receiving end of their works possessed certain rights that were theirs by nature and/or had been endowed by that same External Standard [which makes it a case of theirs by nature].

Let me give you one example, involving the Dominican Father Bartolome de Las Casas. In the words of historian Benjamin Keen [ http://oregonstate.edu/dept/philosophy/ide...apers/keen.html ]:

"By reason of Aristotle's immense prestige, Spanish apologists for Indian wars and conquests made special use of his doctrine of natural slavery. As early as 1519, Juan de Quevedo, Bishop of Tierra Firme, cited it in an attack on Indian capacity and morality at a meeting of the Council of the Indies presided over by Charles V. In his Historia de las Indias, Las Casas, who was present, recalled his reply to Quevedo:

The difference between what Aristotle meant and what the reverend Bishop affirmed is the distance between earth and sky; and even if the meaning were what the Reverend Bishop says it is, Aristotle was a pagan, and consequently we should use only that part of his doctrine that conforms to our holy Faith and the tenets of the Christian religion. Our Christian religion adapts equally to all the nations of the world and receives all nations, and strips none of its liberty or dominion, nor does it reduce any people to servitude on the pretext that they are slaves "by nature.""

So the Reverend Bishop denied that the "Indians" had rights that were theirs by nature [they were instead slaves by nature, with all the consequent loss of liberty and equality that such entails]. And note his source, not the Bible, but Aristotle [I, like Bartolome, will give Aristotle the benefit of the doubt on this one re his true intent].

And for more on the debate, more specifically, on why none are slaves by nature:

"Thirty-one years later, in his debate with Las Casas at Valladolid, Sepúlv[e]da made the Aristotelian doctrine of natural slavery the cornerstone of his defense of Spain's Indian wars and the encomienda. In his rebuttal Las Casas argued that no nation or race of men were slaves by nature; mentally deficient individuals were found in every nation, but these mistakes of nature only confirmed the generic equality of men. In the Apologética Historia, which is the second or Spanish part of the documentation used by Las Casas before the junta of Valladolid, Las Casas offered an eloquent statement of the unity of mankind. Despite its medieval cast, it is worth quoting in our time when some academic figures are reviving Sepúlvda's discredited doctrine of racial inferiority.

For all the peoples of the world are men, and the definition of all men, collectively and severally, is one: that they are rational beings. All possess understanding and volition, being formed in the image and likeness of God; all have the five exterior senses and the four interior senses, and are moved by the objects of these; all have natural capacity or faculties to understand and master the knowledge that they do not have; and this is true not only of those that are inclined toward good but those that by reason of their depraved customs are bad; all take pleasure in goodness and in happy and pleasant things and all abhor evil and reject what offends or grieves them...."

As you can see, Las Casas' defense of "Indians" and their rights was based on a single premise: being formed in the image and likeness of God. In contrast, as I said, even with those who claim the faith, in order to work their evil, they must, like Sepulveda, deny that those on the receiving end of their evil are beings formed in the image and likeness of God.

Now let me add Father Antonio de Montesinos to our discussion:

"Tell me, by what right or justice do you hold these Indians in such cruel and horrible slavery? By what right do you wage such detestable wars on these people who lived mildly and peacefully in their own lands, where you have consumed infinite numbers of them with unheard of murders and desolations? Why do you so greatly oppress and fatigue them, not giving them enough to eat or caring for them when they fall ill from excessive labors, so that they die or rather are slain by you, so that you may extract and acquire gold every day? And what care do you take that they receive religious instruction and come to know their God and creator, or that they be baptized, hear mass, or observe holidays and Sundays? Are they not men? Do they not have rational souls? Are you not bound to love them as you love yourselves? How can you lie in such profound and lethargic slumber? Be sure that in your present state you can no more be saved than the Moors or Turks who do not have and do not want the faith of Jesus Christ."

Their God and creator? If not that, then what are you to argue on their behalf? Fine, I'm human, and they are human. What does that matter? To borrow from the film Little Big Man, maybe we're all fools and none of it matters, and those stars glimmer and twinkle in a void my dear boy, and the two-legged creature schemes and dreams beneath them all in vain, and sorry to say, but it was that old Chief Lodgeskins who ruined you, since he gave you a vision of moral order in the universe when there isn't any...

This thing called faith/religion, well, let me just say that you are wrong, as Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, Judaism, etc., give their adherents a vision of moral order in the universe, which is something that atheists such as Allardyce T. Meriweather didn't and don't have, at least if they understand the implication of their premise denying the existence of the External Standard. Which is to say that if there is no God, then there is no moral order in the universe, and you are deluded if you are an athiest and think that there is. You can come up with any moral code that you like, but it will be delusion nonetheless. And so you take no insult or offense, if there is no God, then my belief in the contary is my delusion as is my accompanying belief that there is moral order in the universe.

Now getting back to Jefferson, it might serve you well to quote from someone who did not reduce other humans, in the image of God, to slavery. Or put in terms more familiar to our ears, he talked the talk, but when it came to the walk, he was found in the mire. And careful what you and I say, since he was rather harsh on those priests and their priest-ridden society, but yet he himself was busily occupied in reducing the image of God to the subhuman. And you were speaking of something we call hypocrisy? Indeed. You can otherwise have Jefferson, as I'll take Lincoln, who told his fellow citizens of our [secular] Republic that their civil war was their blood atonement for the sin of slavery [and also something else about the judgments of the Lord being true and righteous altogether][oh, and kindly note that now it's Lincoln, old Chief Lodgeskins, and I who have a vision of moral order in the universe]. And for any who wonder why I am a Lincolnite Republican and not a Jeffersonian Democrat, you now have your answer. I otherwise don't need Jefferson to inform me on democratic self-determination, since Las Casas had already done that well before Jefferson was even born, and unlike Jefferson, Las Casas gave up his slaves and, ironically enough, in that sweet and savory kind of way, he then became a priest. And lastly re Jefferson, as should now be obvious, as concerns the merit [or lack thereof] of his remark re the value [or lack thereof] of a priest-ridden society, I suppose that such depends on whether the priests in question are Quevedo and Sepulveda on the one hand, or Las Casas and Montesinos, on the other. I otherwise suppose that Jefferson's slaves might have asked themselves what value there was in having a Jefferson, but I digress.

I otherwise did not say that I wanted a theocracy, but you made the apparent claim that I somehow cannot allow my faith to influence my politics. Sorry, but if that is your claim, it is indeed rather fascist. And, yes, I am otherwise aware of the differing theological or other interpretations of the bible. But if that is your objection, then may I ask why it is that you think that you have grounds to complain? Your position is even worse, since while the Pope and I very much disagree on the matter of the death penalty, at least we can claim that we have the bible as our guide, i.e., at least we have a beginning point of commonality. On the other hand, what do you have on offer? What can you point to in order to justify your morality? And for every opinion of yours, there's bound to be someone else who holds the opposite view, yes? So your claim of a multiplicity of opinions applies to you as well as to me and those who share my faith [at least in broad terms], and such reality renders your particular criticism in this regard rather meaningless.

And rather than focus on religion per se, I would suggest that you would be far better served by "merely" looking to see if some are espousing what I will call a subordinating, legitimating ideology. You otherwise know how the legitimating ideology works, yes? If not, the mistaken premise that such an ideology is primarily concerned with deceiving one's perceived social, moral, what have you, subordinates is simply false, as will be made plain below. Instead, the subordinating, legitimating ideology exists so that we might deceive ourselves. And we do so by dressing up murder, slavery, theft and some other sin in the guise of fate and piety. To take just one example, you can read all of the propaganda of imperial Rome and come to no other reasonable conclusion. I mean, what was it that Caesar Augustus, on his return to Rome, purportedly brought to Rome and to the world entire? That was the piety part, and never mind that in Rome itself, 1 of 3 were slaves. Then there was something about that golden age and the reign of fair Saturn. That was the fate part. The counter-propaganda was espoused, at least in one instance, by a Roman himself, Tacitus, who saw right through the subordinating, legitimating ideology and simply wrote that those who called themselves pious and otherwise reported that all was going according to fate, had in reality simply made a desolation and called it peace. As is otherwise obvious to both me and you, those on the receiving end of the desolation were not deceived, since hard for one to be deceived re the fate and piety purportedly involved in the murder of one's husband, the rape of one's daughters, and the reduction to slavery of one's self and one's sons. So the deception was on those who created the subordinating, legitimating ideology, as I related above.

And for one more, our last, example, consider women, or at least those women, feminist and otherwise, who have been heard complaining of this "limitation" and "restriction" that they are chaffing under. What have some of the men among us said in reply? That the items and/or matters complained of are for their benefit and protection and that rather than complain, they ought to be grateful? And along with that we heard those words about how there is something in the female constitution [as it were] that makes women more susceptible than us men, and apparently irrevocably so, and thus they need the benefit and protection that we just spoke of, both now and forever more? That is called sin dressed up in the guise of fate [their differing and/or inferior constitution, and irrevocably so] and piety [this is all for their benefit and protection and, boy, aren't we being so noble, and thus the outrage and complaint that they are ingrates]. At the risk of being declared a heretic and burnt at the stake, a fate that I would gladly albeit painfully accept should the occasion arise, but as my namesake himself wrote, the man was created in the image of God, while the woman was created in the image of man. It causes me no small amount of pain to know that that verse has been used to dehumanize any number of women over the course of what I will call historic Christianity. The argument itself is otherwise flawed, since if man is God's image, and the woman's the man's, then the woman is God's image, since so is the man in whose image she was made. That should have been evident to all who've read that other Paul, but given that we've had to rely on Aristotle's doctrine of natural slavery and not our own claimed holy book, then no surprise that in pursuit of our own less than godly desires, we ignored and/or refused to see the error in that other Paul's thought. But note what he did, he apparently tried to claim that the woman was not in God's image. And why? Because he wanted to establish an unequal position vis-a-vis the male and the female human. And it was self-deceiving because Genesis 5 makes it rather plain that she was, and they are, in God's image.

And the subordinating, legitimating ideology, in all its various forms and manifestations, well, as you and I both now know, always denies that those on the receiving end have these inherent rights given them by the External Standard, even when the human[s] in question claim to be acting on behalf of that External Standard, and even when the human[s] in question otherwise claim these same rights for themselves. And as concerns those who claimed the faith, such subordination was usually accomplished in spite of, and not because of, the tenets of their claimed religion.

And you spoke of the contradiction and/or hypocrisy purportedly involved in believing or espousing the proposition that the state's ultimate duty is to preserve the image of God alive while at the same time being in favor of the death penalty for those who would kill with malice aforethought and without any colorable claim of defense of self and/or others, well, all I will say in reply to your claim is that while you are entirely free to call it an artificial device if you like, that I nevertheless believe in, and rely on, this concept called "forfeiture." So, yeah, he had the right to life, but he forfeited that right when he decided to take the life of another human. And lucky for me, the same God who is reported to have said that he was made in His image, also said that I am to execute those who would kill with malice aforethought and without any colorable claim of defense of self and/or others. And for you, careful here, since we not only enjoy a right to life, but also a right to liberty. And jail rather severely impinges on that right to liberty. So on what basis are you depriving the inmate of his liberty? Is it because he has forfeited that right by violating our law? Or are we merely locking the human up for our own safety, and never mind any concern over punishment and/or retribution? If that is your position, I trust that you then understand the error or wrong in jailing someone who, although having committed an offense against our penal laws, does not now present any danger to the populace. And so maybe we all get one free rape. It will go like this, well, judge, I wanted to rape her, and only her, and only one time. I just wanted to have her once, and now that that's been accomplished, I'll be sticking with the rest of my life and otherwise working hard and paying my taxes. And while I've been out on bail, I've even been volunteering down at the homeless shelter. So, tell me, are you going to send this rapist to jail? And if your answer is yes, than you apparently believe that liberty can indeed be forfeited and someone jailed, and never mind the absence of any clear and present danger to us and our society that need be rectified by incarceration. In which case, all I will otherwise ask is that you then please understand that what you apply to his liberty, I apply to his very life as well.

And I otherwise share your concern over the accuracy of our determinations of guilt or innocence. For instance, if you read my initial post, which you did, then you know that I didn't say that he was guilty, I said instead, IF he is guilty. I used the "if" because, first, I am not privy to all the relevant evidence, etc., involved in this case. Accordingly, I cannot even begin to make an informed opinion as to this man's guilt or innocence. I am simply trusting those who are presumably privy to that which I lack. And I do so at my peril, and forgive the interjection of my faith again, but should he be innocent and he is executed, then I am now guilty of shedding innocent blood. And as such, I too would be worthy of the death penalty. My answer to the third question otherwise assumed his guilt. Maybe I should repeat that again, since maybe that will mitigate some of your views in my regard, but my answer to the third question assumed his guilt. That being said, my second reason for using "if" is simply that, as some reported, the man apparently confessed to the crime. Again, sorry to interject my faith, but the religiously superstitious such as myself also believe that we never ever use the words of the accused to convict her or him. We don't need Miranda, since we never use anything that the accused has said against her or him. And for why that is so, well, the reason is that no one, not even the accused her/himself, is necessarily aware of why he/she might say something. He may think he did it, but maybe he's deluded. He might also have a death wish, and so this exercise might be nothing more than his version of suicide by cop. How do I know? So please don't think that I have no concern over the accurate determination of guilt in a capital case.

And I am not otherwise blaming a purportedly immoral and/or pagan you. Read the Torah. And, no, I'm not trying to convert you, but according to that work the External Standard told some to execute murderers long before there was an Abraham, long before there was a Moses, and long before there was a Jesus. As a matter of fact, the "official" or "standard" position of both Judaism and Christianity is that there are indeed certain things that even a pagan can understand when it comes to our morality, and never mind having any contact or communication with the Bible, Jews, and/or Christians. One of those things is purported to be the God-given nature of our lives and that one must execute those who would kill another human with malice aforethought and without any colorable claim of defense of self and/or others. We call that and some other things the Noachide laws, which are binding on all humanity, pagan and otherwise. And the reason we find that they bind you, me, and the rest of humanity, and here is the true irony of this discussion, but the reason is simply because, well, your man Jefferson said it himself...we hold these truths to be SELF-EVIDENT, that all [humans] are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights...and so we don't need the Bible to tell us that your life was God-given to you since it is self-evident. And to distinguish our executions from those of Stalin and some others, see that word "unalienable"? That word is used in reference to the State and its citizens, meaning that the State cannot alienate the right. But it can be, as I said, forfeited by the one in possession of the same. And the position of some of us is that only the intentional killing of another human with malice aforethought and without any colorable claim of defense of self and/or others will suffice to forfeit that right. And so we are not taking it away, but simply recognizing the forfeiture. Can Stalin and some others report the same?

You have otherwise made the same error that nearly every opponent of the death penalty has made, is making now, and will continue to make. According to you, of the Top 15, only we execute, but yet our homicide rate is, per capita, higher than those other 14 who don't. First off, not every state in the Union executes, so you'll need to take that into account. You otherwise might compare the homicide rate in states that don't execute with the homicide rate in states that do execute. Which brings me to my next point, culture, and the value that such culture puts on life. Maybe you should compare homicide rates among US states, since we presumably have more in common with each other than we do with the French, the English, and the Germans. And funny that you should mention Japan, since I would submit that the far more absent violence in that country is indeed precisely owing to the value that Japanese culture puts on [Japanese] life, and never mind for now that Japanese culture is otherwise far more driven by notions of societal approval or rejection than it is by the notion of the individual's own sense of guilt and/or shame [which is to say that notions of societal disapproval play a far greater role in individual behavioral control in Japan than they do in the US, given that Japan is to a much greater extent, an honor/shame culture]. And that's your problem. You assume an everything else is equal posture when it's not, and so you don't otherwise control for various other variables. Then you proclaim that you've proven that there is no deterrent effect in the death penalty. Sorry, but I watch National Geographic and some other channels and shows, and the threat of death or grievous bodily injury has been shown to be an effective deterrent in the animal kingdom. As I said, the only difference that I can see between us and the remainder of the animal kingdom is that some are too stupid to kill or drive off, and we are otherwise not as successful as some of other animals when it comes to the administration of the deterrent.

And for more of the unequal equation, what higher standard are you talking about? And please, go read your dictionary. Revenge means to avenge etc. And avenge means to take satisfaction etc. But as I said, there is no satisfaction being taken by me. I have better things to do than to execute this human. Taking a dump would be more enjoyable and satisfying [and I normally don't take any pleasure or satisfaction in my bowel movements, rather, they simply happen as a necessity for one who must execrete nitrogenous waste and are viewed by me as such]. And the word you are looking for, and the word I should have used, is not revenge, but retribution.

And by the way, in even bringing up my faith, I was not directing my comments to you. I was directing them to those other members who themselves, even if only in passing, brought my God and my Lord into the discussion. And maybe this will help you with your phobia re the purportedly soon coming theocracy, but persons who don't understand the book that they believe to be divinely inspired irritate me far more than you ever will. I don't expect you to agree with me, given that you apparently do not share the faith. I can otherwise rather easily "tolerate" your existence, so long as you don't kill or injure anyone, and don't otherwise subject any of your fellow humans to treatment that I consider dehumanizing. I otherwise put the "tolerate" in quotes because the word has some not so pleasant, at least according to me, implications these days.

And please never otherwise worry about causing me personal offense because of my faith and anything that you might say in relation to the same. As I said before, all ideas are open to challenge. And, frankly, if I cannot take your harsh words [if such they are], I don't see how I will be able to deal with a pain that ought to be far more injurious to me than the displacement wave[s] created by the vibration of your vocal cords. By way of a singular example, the pain that I am referring to is in relation to all of those, our children, who are right now picking through our refuse so that they might eke out a rather meager existence. Suffice it to say that I am more concerned with those children than with any harsh words to me on your part.

And re the Roman Catholic Church's position regarding capital punishment, well, two items. First, this may not be appreciated by some Roman Catholics, but as I reported here prior, I was raised Roman Catholic. But the Pope and I disagree on capital punishment. And I otherwise question his thought processes given that: (1) when Cornelius first met Peter he prostrated himself before Peter, to which Peter then replied, Stand up, for I too am just a man; and (2) if Peter didn't want us prostating ourselves before him while he was alive, why on earth do you think, Your Eminence, that he would want us to prostrate ourselves in front of that statute of him that is sitting in the St. Ambrose Church at the corner of Fairfax and Fountain in Los Angeles, California? And might we, Your Eminence, be better served by seeking the counsel and wisdom of those who chirp and mutter?

Second, maybe the statue of Peter explains your reading of the word as well [as provided by our friends at AmericanCatholic.org]:

"More significant problems exist, including the proper understanding and interpretation of both texts and contexts. The well-known "eye for eye" passage was originally intended to limit violence by reducing the escalation of violence."

Sorry, Your Eminence, but how you get to that conclusion from, life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, and why, because YOUR EYE SHALL NOT PITY, simply escapes my comprehension. Telling us to not pity doesn't exactly sound like God is trying to reign us in, as I said, it seems to indicate that we were being a tad bit too merciful prior. And, Your Eminence, I'm being generous here, as I've limited the comprehension to mine, though I could report that your reading instead escapes all rational comprehension.

The noted article otherwise goes on to discuss the purported import of "context," though one, me, is left scratching one's, my, head, wondering just how context changes the rather plain meaning of:

"Whoever takes the life of any human being shall be put to death" (Leviticus 24:17)

"Whoever takes a man's life, by man shall his life be taken; because God made man in his image." (Genesis 9:6)

And to end with your logical fallacy, sorry, but it is just that. The murder of Ms. Brucia is not morally equivalent to the execution of her murderer. That is the foundational premise of your entire argument, yes? That you believe that all death resulting from killing is equal, and so I am no different than Ms. Brucia's murderer? Sorry, but that premise, the foundation of your entire argument, is without any merit whatsoever. It is in fact a rather complete absurdity [the proverbial textbook definition of the same]. By way of your continuing education, if one were to adopt the absurd premise that you and some others have espoused, then one would have to also then conclude that the act of state-enforced repossession of your car for failure to make the monthly payments is the moral equivalent of auto theft [since both involve the involuntary loss of property, in this instance, your car]. Similarly, if one were to adopt the premise that you and some others have espoused, then one would have to then further conclude that kidnapping is the moral equivalent of the penal incarceration that you say ought to be substituted in for the sentence of death [since both involve involuntary imprisonment].

And in like vein, if killing him sends the message that it's okay to kill, then penal incarceration sends the message that it's okay to kidnap, and vehicle repossession sends the message that it's okay for us to steal cars. And in like vein, if not executing will stop murder, then not incarcerating will stop kidnapping, and not repossessing will stop auto theft. Would you care to indulge in even more absurdity?

I would simply suggest that you think this one through, and that you might otherwise preserve some indicia of a rational thought process by not for a moment suggesting that in executing the murderer, that we are somehow just like him. In the meantime, please spare me the wholly absurd and ridiculous attempt at moral equivalence.
Vermillion
I will divide my post into two halves. The first will deal with your persistent dogmatic idiosyncrasies; the second will deal with the on topic comments you made about the death penalty in this case.

Part 1: KivrotHaTaavah’s god

QUOTE(KivrotHaTaavah @ Mar 23 2006, 04:32 AM)
To think otherwise is for you to say that you deny God while at the same time setting yourself up as God.


You know, you are really going to have to stop implying that anyone who does not follow your personal interpretation of your God cannot be moral. Somebody is going to take offence. Somebody might also point out to you that nearly every atrocity in human history, including both those of the Church and those of Stalin and Hitler, was carried out because somebody claimed to have a ‘higher morality’ than others, and that this higher morality should override basic human morality.

I'm not setting myself up as god or anything, I'm not the one arguing for killing somebody.


QUOTE
And if that wasn't my delusion [faith], then I wouldn't otherwise be here talking to you about right and wrong, and I most certainly wouldn't be giving much thought for our soon to be executed friend, since I would instead, as some of the poets among us have said, be out there eating, drinking, and otherwise indulging my perverted, sick, and twisted fantasies, and all because tomorrow we die.


Yes, of course. Because that’s what ALL people who don’t believe in your opinion about your god do, they go indulge perverted twisted fantasies every night, because only YOU can have any sense of what is right and wrong, and anyone else is just a member of new Sodom, right?

Please. You are going from insulting to exceedingly insulting, and worse, you are not even making any logical sense. Firstly there exists plenty of morality outside your personal religious world, and as I have already stated, and you have agreed, there has existed in the history of your church a shocking and unimaginable amount of cruelty and inhumanity, all because somebody claimed that the ‘higher morality’ said it was OK to burn midwives at the stake, so it was done.


QUOTE
And, sorry, but it is not my fault that you simply refuse to see the logical implications of your own philosophy.  And to that extent, I make no apology whatsoever for finding absurd your claim that we can't bring our religion into the discussion because the same cannot be discussed logically.  Sorry, friend, but life having value is a moral judgment that cannot be logically argued.  We either accept that proposition or we do not.


I love how often you contradict yourself when you get ranting.

Firstly, you have pointed out no logical implications of ‘my philosophy’ to discuss. You have not even talked about my philosophy except to repeat ad nausium without foundation or evidence that it must be immoral because it does not believe in KivrotHaTaavah’s god.

Secondly, not only have you done nothing to contradict my statement that religion should be excluded from these debates because it is difficult to ague logically, but you have served us up on a silver platter your last post as a perfect case study proving my point. So lost in your religious moralising you were that you forgot to deal with any of my points, or even address the issue at hand…

Thirdly, How amusing that you state ‘we either accept the proposition (that life has value) or we do not’. I agree completely, strange how your position totally contradicts that. Which is why answering one death with another death makes no sense whatsoever.


QUOTE
Maybe his opinion might have then been more enlightened, given that while you and I can attribute more monstrous evil than we care to contemplate to those purporting to act on behalf of and/or according to the purported desires of the External Standard, the reality nevertheless remains that the most murderous, brutalizing, and dehumanizing regimes in history have been the godless atheistic states that have, in fact and at law.


Well, its good you admit that the imposition of your moral standard has resulted in thousands of years of some of humanities worst atrocities, yet to call Hitler and his modern ilk killers of ‘godless atheists’ is a bit bizarre. It almost seems you are implying the Holocaust and Stalin’s genocides came about BECAUSE these were atheist. They came about because they were totalitarian racist megalomaniacs, this was not done in the name of atheism, like the horrors and excesses of the Church were done in the name of God.

Besides, its entirely irrelevant. Once we agree the imposition of your religious external standard is the direct cause of uncountable horrors, brutalities, tortures and atrocities, it makes your whole foundation about you being the only capable arbiter of what is ‘moral’ a touch weak, would you not say?


QUOTE
Let me give you one example, involving the Dominican Father Bartolome de Las Casas. 


Your example does an admirable job or arguing my side of the case. Here we have two religious men using the same religious text to argue two fundamentally opposing points of view about human life. Thank you for demonstrating my point. Religion can justify anything, in the hands of those who would use it to serve their own ends. For example, those offshoots of Roman Catholicism who have decided that ‘thou shalt not kill’ does not apply to state executions. I think the Roman Catholics would argue that the killer, though evil, was made in God’s Image, and as the book says, the role of Vengeance is left to the Lord.

Funny how you now find yourself on the other side of your example…

QUOTE
This thing called faith/religion, well, let me just say that you are wrong, as Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, Judaism, etc., give their adherents a vision of moral order in the universe, which is something that atheists such as Allardyce T. Meriweather didn't and don't have, at least if they understand the implication of their premise denying the existence of the External Standard.  Which is to say that if there is no God, then there is no moral order in the universe,


Wow, when you get warmed up you REALLY start to contradict yourself with flair. I mean its literally impressive.

Above you agreed with me entirely that religions impose a moral view on their followers, (without addressing how utterly different and contradictory views held by various religions can all be ‘moral’), and then go on to say that without religion, there can be no morality.

I mean, I don’t even need to oppose your argument, you opposed it yourself. Islam, even fundamentalist Islam, to use YOUR words, “give their adherents a vision of moral order in the universe”. Those people then follow the imposed moral order OVER their own basic human morality, because ‘God says so’.

Way to argue my point there. Religion does not give morality, it imposes a psudo-divine code which replaces basic morality.

Otherwise, answer me this: How is YOUR imposed morality of killing prisoners and more justifiable than the Islamicist’s imposed morality of blowing themselves up on a bus? Both use as their first, last, and only justification, ‘My god says it is right’. So in terms of ‘moral justification’, please explain to me the difference in the relative weight of the two ‘Moral’ arguments…


You then go on and on about Lincoln, and his name as well as the slavery example of de Las Casas made me wonder: Why do you so ardently oppose the morality of your god?

After all, the bible speaks at GREAT length about slavery. How it should be done, why it should be done, the rules of treating slaves and why slaves are just property:

However, you may purchase male or female slaves from among the foreigners who live among you. You may also purchase the children of such resident foreigners, including those who have been born in your land. You may treat them as your property, passing them on to your children as a permanent inheritance” Leviticus 25:44-46

Even how and when it is OK to kill your slaves:

When a man strikes his male or female slave with a rod so hard that the slave dies under his hand, he shall be punished. If, however, the slave survives for a day or two, he is not to be punished, since the slave is his own property.” Exodus 21:20-21

So why don’t you own a slave? YOUR externally imposed morality says it is fine to do so. Boy, I wish I was a MORAL man. I’m agnostic, and this by your definition immoral. But If I was a MORAL man, which in your mind means following YOUR imposed morality, I could own a sex slave. That would make dating easier, just go ask a guy to buy his daughter.

When a man sells his daughter as a slave, she will not be freed at the end of six years as the men are. If she does not please the man who bought her, he may allow her to be bought back again. Exodus 21:7


QUOTE
But if that is your objection, then may I ask why it is that you think that you have grounds to complain?  Your position is even worse, since while the Pope and I very much disagree on the matter of the death penalty, at least we can claim that we have the bible as our guide, i.e., at least we have a beginning point of commonality.  On the other hand, what do you have on offer?


Here we go, the crowning glory of your post.

What I have to offer is that I have argued against the death penalty from day 1 based on logic, statistics and evidence. I took issue with your ‘meaningless platitudes’ because you did not offer evidence, you just stated various religious moralisms you happen to believe in as IF they were argumentation. I have not used as a justification for my side of the debate that I am right because my morality says so. Your bringing of religion into the debate on the other hand did two things:

1- As I said it would, killed the debate entirely.
2- Removed any basis of logic and argumentation from the thread, replacing it with scriptural quotes as if that was a basis for a logical debate.

And what’s worse, you now again admit that despite your entire case resting on this facile argument of your personal ‘Higher morality’, you again admit that the Pope, using EXACTLY THE SAME MORAL FOUNDATION AS YOU, has an exactly opposing opinion on the matter. Your ‘beginning point of commonality’ has led you to exact opposite points, where both of you see the other side as immoral, but neither feels the need to logically argue their case because they are safe isolated in the belief that their personal opinion of their higher morality tells them their actions are right, despite the total contradiction.

Give me logic, rationalism and secular decision making any time. You have now admitted on about 5 occasions that your ‘higher morality’ can be used to justify anything, no matter how inhumane or immoral, and has been in the past.


QUOTE
And we do so by dressing up murder, slavery, theft and some other sin in the guise of fate and piety.


I agree entirely. Why of the top of my head I can think of one person who has dressed up murder as justice in order to escape the reality that killing is wrong, and now justifies their decision in the guise of fate and piety.



QUOTE
It causes me no small amount of pain to know that that verse has been used to dehumanize any number of women over the course of what I will call historic Christianity.



People MIS-interpreting the Bible did not subjugate women, The Church did, and do you know why? They did it because they were following YOUR external morality to the exact letter. This is not a fault of misinterpretation, but an exact interpretation of the text, word for word:

” But I want you know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.
For man is not from woman, but woman from man.
Nor was man created for the woman, but woman for the man.
Let your women keep silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak; but they are to be submissive, as the law also says.
Corinthians 11: 3,5, 8-9

Actually your external morality is very clear in its text on the role of women. I think the problem is with you, who somehow does not feel they should follow that particular commandment, nor the one on how slavery is legal and acceptable, nor the one on how eating shellfish is an abomination, nor most of the others.

For that matter, in the case at hand, it seems according to YOUR morality, the man should be executed because he raped and murdered the child. Had he just raped the child of course, the Bible is clear in its ‘Morality’ of the consequences…

If a man is caught in the act of raping a young woman who is not engaged, he must pay fifty pieces of silver to her father.” Deuteronomy 22:28

(That’s about 150 to 200 dollars in modern equivalence)


Do you know why all this causes you pain, as you say? Because in these cases the imposed morality of your book CONFLICTS with your own humanist morality about what is right and wrong.


REALITY TIME: 80% of the bible must be IGNORED if you want to use it as a moral guide. The old testament is a litany of excess and slaughter in the name of God, justifying murder, rape, slavery, kidnapping, theft, incest, human sacrifice and so on. And the Christian Church was SO CONVINCED of the higher morality of this creed, that they spent almost 1600 years following its excesses in the name of god to the letter.

So PLEASE don’t come into this thread, hijack it with proselytising and scripture quotes, and then lecture ME about how ONLY YOU can be moral, and us people who do not follow your interpretation of your God cannot be anything but immoral.


QUOTE
And the subordinating, legitimating ideology, in all its various forms and manifestations, well, as you and I both now know, always denies that those on the receiving end have these inherent rights given them by the External Standard, even when the human[s] in question claim to be acting on behalf of that External Standard, and even when the human[s] in question otherwise claim these same rights for themselves


And here you are, doing that self-contradiction thing again. After stating in your last post again and again that the right to life was God given, inalienable and protected by the constitution, here you are going and trying to justify the state taking away that God given life.



QUOTE
You have otherwise made the same error that nearly every opponent of the death penalty has made, is making now, and will continue to make.  According to you, of the Top 15, only we execute, but yet our homicide rate is, per capita, higher than those other 14 who don't.  First off, not every state in the Union executes, so you'll need to take that into account.  You otherwise might compare the homicide rate in states that don't execute with the homicide rate in states that do execute.


Firstly, wow,” the same mistake every opponent has made and will continue to make”! Strong stuff. Pity you at NO point make any effect to explain how or why it is a mistake, you just assert it is. Well, sorry, the statistics don’t lie. You can’t simply ignore them, assert they are in error and try to pretend it never happened…

Actually, my bad, you did try and make one argument. You suggested I should compare death penalty states with non death penalty states.

OK.

http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/article.php?scid=12&did=169

Average annual murder rate among Death penalty states (per 100,000) 5.1
Average annual murder rate among NON-Death penalty states: (per 100,000) 2.9

You were saying?


QUOTE
  Then you proclaim that you've proven that there is no deterrent effect in the death penalty.  Sorry, but I watch National Geographic and some other channels and shows, and the threat of death or grievous bodily injury has been shown to be an effective deterrent in the animal kingdom.


I’m sorry, let me be very clear here. You are claiming that my statistics of human behaviour nation by nation and state by state are NO GOOD, because they do not take into account other factors and differences…

THEN you use as proof of your argument that fact that death sometimes acts as a deterrent among ANIMALS? (though, of course, you simply assert this, with no evidence…)

So the people of Death penalty states in the US have MORE in common with, say, weasels, than they do with people from non-death penalty states, or non-death penalty nations?

I mean seriously here, do you even read what you write?


QUOTE
And for more of the unequal equation, what higher standard are you talking about?  And please, go read your dictionary.  Revenge means to avenge etc.  And avenge means to take satisfaction etc.


OK.

http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=avenge

Nope, nothing about taking satisfaction or enjoyment there…

http://www.m-w.com/dictionary/revenge

Nope, nothing about taking satisfaction or enjoyment there…

http://dictionary.cambridge.org/define.asp...67627&dict=CALD

Nope, nothing about taking satisfaction or enjoyment there…

http://encarta.msn.com/dictionary_/Revenge.html

Nope, nothing about taking satisfaction or enjoyment there…


I’m sorry, I am running out of dictionaries one can find online. Where did you get YOUR definition of revenge? Or, is it wildly possible… that you just asserted your opinion as if it were fact again with no foundation at all?


QUOTE
And by the way, in even bringing up my faith, I was not directing my comments to you.  I was directing them to those other members who themselves, even if only in passing, brought my God and my Lord into the discussion.


The only reference at all to religion was someone who mentioned the commandment about not killing, or not murdering depending on how you interpret it. That is why you decided to throw about 2 pages of scriptural quotes, in defiance of board rules, at us? Never making any claim that this was ‘only for the spiritual’, or anything like that at the time of course…

Besides, your first post quoted and was directed at nobody at all, and your second post was directed at me by name, so I don’t know what you are trying to claim here…


QUOTE
The noted article otherwise goes on to discuss the purported import of "context," though one, me, is left scratching one's, my, head, wondering just how context changes the rather plain meaning of:

"Whoever takes a man's life, by man shall his life be taken; because God made man in his image." (Genesis 9:6)


Yes, I can see how the church’s position on death penalty faced with those quotes would leave you scratching your head.


Probably exactly the same way you scratch your head about the Church’s position on Slavery:

“"As for your male and female slaves whom you may have: you may buy male and female slaves from the nations that are round about you.” (Leviticus)

Or the way you scratch your head about the Church’s position on gender relations:

“The husband is to rule over his wife. Wives are to be subject to their husbands even when the husband is disobedient to God.” (Genesis)

Or the way you scratch your head about the Church’s position on fashion:

“A cloth garment made of two kinds of material must not be worn.” (Leviticus)

Or all the other places that the Church goes directly against direct biblical statements.


QUOTE
Whoever takes the life of any human being shall be put to death" (Leviticus 24:17)


That’s true, Leviticus is very clear on who should be put to death, and people who kill another human being should be put to death.

As well, according to Leviticus, prostitutes should be put to death, Blasphemers should be put to death, female adulterers should be put to death, male homosexuals should be put to death, alcoholics should be put to death, disobedient slaves should be put to death…

So how exactly do you rationalise the Church should follow ONE passage from Leviticus, but not all the others from the same book?


QUOTE
And to end with your logical fallacy, sorry, but it is just that.  The murder of Ms. Brucia is not morally equivalent to the execution of her murderer.  That is the foundational premise of your entire argument, yes?


Pardon me?

Not only is this NOT the foundational premise of my entire argument, its not even MY argument, its YOURS! I only made this comment because YOU claimed in your last post we should execute the man because: (I quote your words)

“why it is brutal and absolutist for me to say that we ought to now refuse to acknowledge his right to live? Sorry, friend, but the standard we are applying is his, and not ours. (…)All that I am asking is that we allow his measure of justice to be applied to him.”

To which I responded we cannot act the same way he acted as a state… Your answer to my argument, was this odd bit of self-contradiction above… The ‘wholly absurd and ridiculous attempt at moral equivalence’ (your words) is entirely yours, as are the remainder of the self-contradictions and blanket assertions I have listed here at length.



Part Two: Dealing with the arguments:

Oh, but you didn’t bother did you? I must have quoted your previous post a dozen times, and made a half dozen arguments, but you ignored every one of them and argued nothing but religion.

In response to that, please go back and re-read, from the end of my post two ago: “Why religion has no place in these debates”


You brought religion into the debate, and strangled the issue in an otherwise interesting thread… somewhat sad really…
Jaime
FINAL WARNING. Intentionally breaking the Rules to take a thread off topic will earn you a strike. Please refrain from religious debates.

TOPICS:

Is the sentence just?

Should this be the sentence for all who rape and muder children?

Does society actually lose anything by this verdict, or do we gain something?
KivrotHaTaavah
Vermillion:

I never said that all of those who have a differing faith cannot be moral. I was simply singling out atheists. And not all atheists, but only those atheists who are not prepared to acknowledge that their notion[s] of "right" and "wrong" are nothing more than a wholly artificial construct with no more real meaning than me preferring chocolate and you vanilla. Which brings us to Sodom. Yeah, if I were an atheist, I'd be eating and drinking because tomorrow I die. It may not ultimately mean anything, I mean, one day I will simply and forever cease being conscious, but in the meantime, our motto is, party on, since we might as well enjoy consciousness and some perceived pleasurable chemical reactions while we can [sounds entirely rational to me, once we posit our imminent and permanent demise]. And since atheist you believes in no external standard, then just who would you be to say that your artificial construct has any more meaning and/or validity than mine? And to take you back to the criticism that you voiced with respect to the religious allowing their religion to influence their politics, how dare you impose your artificial construct on me? By what right do you claim to do so? And that was the point. If you are an atheist who respects life, fine, that is a good thing, at least according to me. But please know that while I find it good that you respect and value human life, that I also know that for atheist you, it is delusion to think that such respect and value for human life somehow makes you more moral than those who don't have that respect and value, given that in the world of the atheist, all there is, is two competing and opposing articifial constructs [so while you may be "moral" in your own artificial construct, you may be immoral in the artificial construct of some others]. And since there is no external standard to tell us which of the two competing and opposing artificial constructs is correct, I suppose, ironically enough, that you indeed have given the best proof possible for the proposition that might makes right, since that is what it will be that tells us which of the competing and opposing artificial constructs is right [or should I say, rules].

But never mind that, since before we get there, we first encounter the refutation of your claim that religious me is somehow not entitled to have my religion influence my politics, since, according to you, religion cannot be discussed logically. Newsflash, friend, wholly artificial constructs concerning morality cannot be logically discussed either, they just are. All we can do in their respect is to ensure that they are internally consistent. So offer up your own artificial construct if you like, but it will be just that, a wholly artificial construct.

And while you used Merriam Websters for some of your definitions, did you not quote Merriam Websters' for "avenge" because the same provides: 1. to take vengence for or on behalf of. 2. to exact satisfaction for (a wrong) by punishing the wrongdoer.

As I said, we are not in favor of exacting satisfaction, as if anything but her resurrection could accomplish the satisfaction.

And re your remarks that I am pained and/or troubled because my "higher morality" conflicts with our "basic human morality", well, again, the words of Sir John Maddox, former editor of that rather prestigious journal called Nature: The catalogue of our ignorance must also include the understanding of the human brain, which is incomplete in one conspicuous way: nobody understands how decisions are made or how imagination is set free. What consciousness consists of (or how it should be defined) is equally a puzzle. If such is true as to you, then you are just that much more distant when it comes to me and my mind. So please kindly save for someone else what Justice Jorgenson, in his dissent in Simms v. State, Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services, 641 So.2d 957 (Fla. 3rd DCA 1994), rather aptly called "psycho-babble".

And for more on artifical constructs, no surprise that our "basic human morality" now expresses itself in the purported termination of parental rights. Of course, I could say in response that such means that one or more of us has an artificial construct that is not internally consistent, given that, as Chief Judge Schwartz remarked in his dissent in Caso v. Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services, 569 So.2d 466 (Fla. 3rd DCA 1990), the purported termination of parental rights is both philosophically and biologically impossible. For the obvious reason, Chief Judge Schwartz put the philosophically before the biologically, even though "b" comes before "p" in our alphabet [i.e., he is aware of the rather Orwellian nature of the purported termination and would like some of us to recognize the same].

Lastly, I will leave you to your debate, deluded though it may be. Basic human morality? A non-sequitur for the atheist, and if you don't believe me, just ask some others, as they could point the soles of their feet at me without causing me any personal offense, but were I to do the same to them, well, then I'd be in for a world of hurt. I'll leave you to explain to them just how our "basic human morality" says that I am right and they are wrong. But in the meantime, I would submit that as concerns the dispassionate observer, that such persons will be convinced that the mere existence of your debate and discussion with those who object to the sole of your foot being pointed at them proves beyond any rational dispute the truth of the proposition that your claim of the "basic human morality" is what I said it is, a wholly artificial construct, to which I could and would rightly respond, well, Vermillion, you might as well just have said that you prefer chocolate over vanilla, for all that it matters, and for all the "truth" and "justness" that there is in preferring chocolate over vanilla. And if that don't work for you, I could, for a rather rich and cruel irony, simply note for the record that every murderer who has ever lived has proved you wrong re your apparent premise that in our "basic human morality" it is to be understood that human life has value. And for our best proof possible, and also for a rather rich irony, it is indeed the case of might making right that a part of our godless humanity is winning the debate by using the superior power to kill to incarcerate and/or kill those who would violate our "basic human morality" by committing that act that we call murder...and so Mao was correct, all earthly power comes from the end of a gun...and that's what we use to prove the validity of your artificial construct...and that's not logic, but merely the raw exercise of this thing that we and Mao call power.
Vermillion
OK, I spent a couple days wondering if I should even bother responding to this post. After all you seem singularly resistant to all my attempts to return the thread to its original topic, and you also have an unfortunate habit of ignoring 90% of my points because you will not (or more likely cannot) respond. That’s a bit irritating, when I make a dozen points in direct rebuttal of your posts, and you might address one.

However, that being said, I decided to respond simply because I cannot let such unsubstantiated assertions remain standing. Since you have a habit of ignoring most of my points, and in order to make things easier for you, I am organising this as a series of simple questions.

QUOTE(KivrotHaTaavah @ Mar 30 2006, 12:42 AM)
I never said that all of those who have a differing faith cannot be moral.  I was simply singling out atheists.


Yes, you have repeated this several times, that nobody who does not have a moral code based on their interpretation of a religious book can be moral.

I asked how it is possible for two diametrically opposed positions (both drawn from the same holy book) on something as basic as the right to kill can BOTH be moral: you ignored the question.

So I will try again. IF, as you say, the ONLY morality comes from interpretations of a ‘holy’ book, then how is YOUR Morality any different from the morality of Islamicists who use an interpretation of their holy book to blow themselves up at bus stops? IF there were a humanist general morality, then we would have a baseline by which to compare these two ‘moralities’, but you insist there is not.

Did you know that the Ku Klux Klan considers itself a religious organisation? As does StormFront, and most fanatic white power groups. Given that they base their morality on their interpretation of the same religious text (and given the fact that they fall in line with the position of the Church on races for most of its 2000 year existence) how could you condemn them? If after all, as you insist, there is NO non-religious morality of right and wrong against which to compare, that means that by definition ALL religious interpretations of morality are EQUALLY moral.

Thus, Question 1: Given your premise, How is YOUR ‘external morality’ any different or more acceptable or more valid than the ‘External morality’ of Islamicist inspired suicide bombers?


You justify your position on the death penalty (remember that topic?) based on two scriptural quotes from the bible. You even justify your break with the opinion of Roman Catholicism, the majority Christian opinion on this matter, because you feel they are not obeying the strict word of the book.

I asked you how you can follow one specific passage from Leviticus as being your personal ‘External moral guide’ and yet ignore the vast majority of the VERY SAME BOOK, which states a vast number of thing I bet you are morally opposed to, like the wide application of executions for crimes I listed in my last post: you ignored the question.

So I will try again. How is it that you categorically list your book as the ONLY source of your morality, and yet take up a contrary position to so many things in that same book? The reality is, reading the Bible and comparing it to present day morality, you would have to discard a VAST MAJORITY of the book. How exactly did you make a decision to follow SOME passages, but not the majority?

And lets be clear, I’m not asking why you made these ‘moral’ decisions, I’m asking HOW it was POSSIBLE that you made these decisions? After all, would that not mean you made a moral choice about which scriptures were ‘applicable’ and which were not?

That leads us to question Two: since you maintain there can be NO morality EXTERNAL to the holy book, how is it possible for anyone to make a MORAL choice that CONTRADICTS their OWN holy book?


QUOTE
Which brings us to Sodom.  Yeah, if I were an atheist, I'd be eating and drinking because tomorrow I die.  It may not ultimately mean anything, I mean, one day I will simply and forever cease being conscious, but in the meantime, our motto is, party on, since we might as well enjoy consciousness and some perceived pleasurable chemical reactions while we can [sounds entirely rational to me, once we posit our imminent and permanent demise].


And if you did that, you would be acting in an immoral manner. I think you will find that among people who do behave the way you describe, firstly you will find as many who claim to be religious as the national average, and secondly you will find that most atheists and agnostics, even fanatic ones, would claim this activity is immoral. How is it possible in our society atheists and agnostics tend to follow the general consensus of morality as much as the national average… but ASLO that there exist as many religious people, even fanatic ones, who fall into society’s view of immoral? (see: child sex rings in Religious schools and sexual assault charges against clergy for more information)



QUOTE
  And since atheist you believes in no external standard, then just who would you be to say that your artificial construct has any more meaning and/or validity than mine?  And to take you back to the criticism that you voiced with respect to the religious allowing their religion to influence their politics, how dare you impose your artificial construct on me?


I have answered this several times, each time you seem to find it easier to simply ignore my answer and go on repeating the same false-moral indignation. I am NOT imposing MY morality on anybody. I never made my case in this thread or in any other by arguing ‘moral superiority’ of ANY system. I made my case on facts, argumentation and pragmatics. YOU are the one who responded with scripture, presenting the words AS IF they represented an actual argument. So don’t go tarring me with your brush my dear. The moral indignation you created there can only justifiably be directed in one direction: inwards.


And the reason for that: please go consult my list of reasons (cited in an earlier post) why religion has no place in these debates, or on this board.


QUOTE
it is delusion to think that such respect and value for human life somehow makes you more moral than those who don't have that respect and value, given that in the world of the atheist, all there is, is two competing and opposing articifial constructs [so while you may be "moral" in your own artificial construct, you may be immoral in the artificial construct of some others].


Here you have returned to your self-contradictory ways. Please read the above wrote, which you ascribed to me. Isn’t it funny how PERFECTLY you are describing your own position? A morality based on a holy book that contradicts completely with other moralities based on the same holy book, yet according to you both MUST be ‘moral’: and this is what you use as an argument AGAINST the existence of a societal humanist standard?


And that brings me to my third point. You have stated again and again that there can exist NO morality outside a holy text. You have also said that it doesn’t matter which interpretation or holy text. (the obvious contradiction in that I have dealt with above). But IF there is NO morality at all OUTSIDE holy books, then answer me this:

Why in ALL modern first world countries is it illegal to own slaves? Why is it illegal in ALL modern first world countries to have sex with children? Why is it illegal in ALL modern first world countries to have multiple wives? Why in ALL modern first world countries is there a woman’s rights/ woman’s equality movement?

Here we have a series of modern moralities which are NOT ONLY in direct contradiction to the ‘external morality’ of YOUR holy book, but are in fact in direct opposition to the external morality of ALL major holy books.

The Bible, the Koran the Torah (which is the first 5 books of the old testament) all speak out very positively about slavery, and give instructions on how to obtain slaves, how to buy them, and when you can beat them to death. None of the major holy books speak out against slavery.

Same thing for women’s rights. These books preach exhaustively against the very concept. ‘Woman should obey man as man obeys christ’, or descriptions in the Koran of when it is acceptable to beat your wife. Even the Hindu Vedas, the Zoroastrian Avesta and others speak out strongly for the supremacy of the man amongst the genders. Yet you yourself stated a post ago you are for women’s rights and loath those who would act against them, even though that morality is in direct contradiction to the ‘external morality’ of your holy book.

When the US went to outlaw multiple wives among Mormons, one of the strongest arguments the mormons used was the unanimity of the Bible on the value of multiple wives, how nearly every major figure in the Bible had multiple wives. Jesus himself (Matthew 25:1-13) condones Polygamy. Same in the Koran and Torah. The ‘external morality’ of all the major holy books seem unanimous about the legality of polygamy.



These four laws/principles I have listed above do not originate in ANY of the major holy texts of planet earth… and according to you, that would mean it is IMPOSSIBLE for these moral decisions to have been made, as there is NO MORALITY outside the holy texts.

Which leads us to question 3: IF there is, as you claim, NO morality OUTSIDE the holy books, then how is it POSSIBLE that all modern society have made universally accepted moral decisions which appear in NO holy book, or worse directly contradict all of them? Moreover, how is it POSSIBLE, that you agree with these moral decisions, even when they contradict your and every other major holy book?



QUOTE
Lastly, I will leave you to your debate, deluded though it may be.  Basic human morality?  A non-sequitur for the atheist, and if you don't believe me, just ask some others, as they could point the soles of their feet at me without causing me any personal offense, but were I to do the same to them, well, then I'd be in for a world of hurt.


OK, now, while most of your self-contradictions are just silly, this one is downright hilarious.

In fact, pointing the soles of the feet at somebody IS an insult in many Muslim nations, but that is because their Holy book tells them so. This is a RELIGIOUS insult, caused by those who take as their only moral code an interpretation of their holy book.

I could have searched long and hard but I could never have found such a perfect way to make my case as the staggeringly self-contradictory example you just provided for me.


QUOTE
And if that don't work for you, I could, for a rather rich and cruel irony, simply note for the record that every murderer who has ever lived has proved you wrong re your apparent premise that in our "basic human morality" it is to be understood that human life has value.


If that is what I was saying (which it is not) I could of course turn that right back at you and point to every murder committed by a religious person, or the vast uncounted massacres, tortures and slaughters of innocents perpetrated by the church or in the name of organised religion makes your assertion look equally foolish.


However, that is not what I am saying, or have ever said. There is a basic humanist morality, but it is not static, it changes and evolves as we do. Furthermore, just because this morality exists does not mean it is impossible to me immoral and violate it. To pretend I claimed that it utterly disingenuous, to say the least.


QUOTE
And for our best proof possible, and also for a rather rich irony, it is indeed the case of might making right that a part of our godless humanity is winning the debate by using the superior power to kill to incarcerate and/or kill those who would violate our "basic human morality" by committing that act that we call murder...


And here we come full circle, finally back to the debate at hand (sort-of) to the end and best example of your self-contradictory habit… here at the end, as far as I can tell you have now come to argue against yourself entirely.

‘Godless humanity’ is not the one in this debate who is trying to use the power of the state to kill those who commit murder. Rather Godfearing you are the one who is trying to argue that Jesus, who was himself executed by the state, would have no problem with the idea of state executions. Most first world nations have considerably LESS religious influence in them than the US, in fact the US could easily be said to be the most religious of all first world nations, yet it is one of the very few that feels ‘morally justified’ in killing prisoners. How ironic that the debate comes down to this, you arguing for the very principle you started by arguing against.


As to the rest, I think you have provided a valuable case study as to why religion and scripture is left out of Americas Debate, and how it does nothing but impede logical debate. I hope you have learned a moral lesson from this.

Oh wait, sorry, I forgot. According to you, that would be impossible…



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