Sunday, October 28, 2007


The New Duranty Times featured on its Sunday front page an article discussing differences of opinion about the death penalty within the congregation of the the United Methodist Church in Cheshire, Connecticut. The members of this Church are ordinarily the sort who are always totally opposed to the death penalty; in fact, according to the article, they are opposed to any sort of punishment in the justice system at all:
The last three pastors were opponents of capital punishment. Church-sponsored adult education classes promote the idea of “restorative justice,” advocating rehabilitation over punishment. Two years ago, congregants attended midnight vigils outside the prison where Connecticut executed a prisoner for the first time in 45 years.
So what is the problem, now? Why are the Pastor and members of the Church reluctant to continue their vocal agitation against the death penalty?

Just the fact that three members of the congregation, a mother and her two daughters, were brutally murdered in July by a pair of habitual criminals. The prosecutors have pledged to seek the death penalty, as well they might. These murders fit anybody's definition of a heinous crime. Heinous.

But not everybody in the congregation wants to see the murderers hang -- because they think that would not have been the victims' wish. I kid you not:

At the heart of the debate are questions about how Mrs. Hawke-Petit’s husband, William, who survived the attack, feels about the death penalty. The indications are conflicting. Sensitive to his grief, many of the church’s most ardent capital punishment opponents have been hesitant to speak against the capital charges brought against two parolees charged with the killings, Joshua Komisarjevsky and Steven Hayes.

“I’m treading lightly out of respect for the Petit family,” said the church’s pastor, the Rev. Stephen E. Volpe, a death penalty opponent. “I do not feel we, in this church, ought to make this tragedy the rallying cry for anything at this point.”

At the same time, there is a widespread belief that Mrs. Hawke-Petit was opposed to capital punishment. Having her killers put to death would be the last thing she would want, many say.

“It’d be so dishonoring to her life to do anything violent in her name,” said Carolyn Hardin Engelhardt, a church member who is the director of the ministry resource center at Yale Divinity School Library. “That’s not the kind of person she was.”

At least two church members say they think that Mrs. Hawke-Petit endorsed an anti-death-penalty document known as a Declaration of Life. The declaration states a person’s opposition to capital punishment and asks that prosecutors, in the event of the person’s own death in a capital crime, do not seek the death penalty. The documents have been signed by thousands of people, including Mario M. Cuomo, the former governor of New York, and Martin Sheen, the actor.

The idea that crime should be punished according to the wishes of the victim, rather than according to judicial standards enshrined in the explicit laws of the community, is positively medieval. It reduces the establishment of legal order to the enforcement of a blood feud. Such feudal "justice" we might expect in Saudi Arabia, where a murder victim's relatives can upon receipt of blood money mitigate a death penalty. But it is not something we should expect in a country that is ruled by law.

One of the principles upon which our system of legal justice is based, is that a crime is not only an attack by one individual against another, but also a depredation against the just and peaceful life of the entire community. It may be that a particular murder victim's survivors wish to forgive and forget the murderer, but the wider community has rightfully determined that it is not in the best interests of all of us other law-abiding citizens to do so. In the case of a heinous murder such as this, the community can rightfully decide that protecting other innocents from the fury and violence of these killers can be guaranteed only by putting them to death. To allow them to continue to commit crimes because their latest victim wishes to show them mercy would be irresponsible.

As the Bible puts it, "A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast: but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel." (Proverbs, 12:10). The "tender mercies" of these death-penalty-opponents are always extended to the criminal malefactors, and never to the past and future victims; such "mercy" is cruel indeed to those who will suffer because of it.

Noah was commanded (Genesis 9:6) "Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made He man." Failure to execute these murderers shows total disrespect for the God in Whose image mankind was created. It is not vengeance, it is justice.

Moreover, opposition to the death penalty is only the tip of the Gramscian spear. Today, in the United States, we are told that the death penalty is unnecessary, because a life sentence without the possibility of parole means that the community can be protected from even the most vicious and violent criminals.

But in Europe, where the death penalty was effectively abolished decades ago, the "restorative" left is now busy agitating against life imprisonment: in Austria, a life sentence means possible parole after 15 years, in Belgium parole after 10 years, in Denmark after 12 years. In Norway, the maximum possible sentence is 21 years, and few serve more than 14 years. The Netherlands is one of the few European countries where a life sentence actually means imprisonment for life.

What the post-modern moral relativists really want is no punishment at all for any crime, and sauve qui peut. They want to live in the sort of free-floating zone of vice and criminality celebrated by the pedophile philosopher Peter Lamborn Wilson ("Hakim Bey"). The post-modernists are quite serious about this; they idealize and idolize the so-called "buccaneer republics" and "pirate utopias." In real life, however, the pirate utopias Wilson idealizes, namely the corsair city-states of the Barbary Coast, were not anarchistic and lawless; they were outposts of the jihad, and the pirate communities of the Caribbean Sea and Malabar Coast were petty tyrannies of criminal gangs.

In any event, the moral relativists are but useful idiots for the totalitarians of the left; if ever Western civilization is completely undone, it will not be replaced by a bucolic, pastoral, anarchic love-in, but by the establishment of a gulag, re-education camps, and the rest of the grim, socialist totalitarian enterprise. With the misogyny, bigotry, and racism of the jihad thrown in, Heaven help us all.

Have no doubt about this: the high-minded Connecticut Methodists mouthing their pinko pieties against the ultimate justice of the people, are contributing to the decline of our culture, and to our eventual annihilation by totalitarian fiends. Whether they are doing so knowingly or naively, their agit-prop is, as George Orwell would have said, objectively pro-fascist.


Reliapundit said...




Reliapundit said...


" ... a series of academic studies over the last half-dozen years that claim to settle a once hotly debated argument—whether the death penalty acts as a deterrent to murder. The analyses say yes. They count between three and 18 lives that would be saved by the execution of each convicted killer."

AkaBaki said...

Why do we kill people for killing people to show that killing is wrong. The death penalty violates our right to live. Murder is not justified
...no matter what the circumstances are!