Monday, January 30, 2006


I have ambivalent feelings about the death penalty. On the one hand, I don’t have serious moral or theological qualms about executing the High Justice; it is specified in scripture as part of God’s instructions for all humans, not simply as part of the Mosaic Law. On the other hand, it does make me uneasy that (a) it terminates the possibility of repentance, and (b) there seems to be much too high an error rate in convicting the innocent and releasing the guilty. Most weeks, I guess, I come down about 60/40 in favor of dispatching murderers and traitors to the merciful judgment of the Almighty.

In any case, I would have to consider myself one of those much maligned folk who generally support capital punishment while opposing abortion. I have gotten blistered for that seeming inconsistency, but I will defend it on the basis that the life of the innocent should be protected while the life of the guilty is forfeit.

I can certainly understand and sympathize with people who oppose both capital punishment and abortion – I may wind up there myself. I can understand, without much sympathy, those who support both. At least they’re consistent. What I’ve never been able to figure out is how someone can support abortion yet oppose capital punishment. It seems completely inconsistent, yet that seems to be the default position of the Self-Righteously Indignant Left these days.

My wife explained it to me yesterday with crystal clarity. It is consistent. Support for abortion on demand, and opposition to executing criminals, both serve the purpose of allowing individuals to escape the consequences of their actions. And freedom from consequence is the primary hope and promise of the new secular Religion of Me. The new religion has only one commandment: thou shalt feel no guilt.

A mighty fortress is my self,
A bulwark for my ego.
No limitations can be placed
On any deeds that we sow.
Let no restrictions be;
Accept no boundary!
Your God is such a bore;
My will I do adore.
Autonomy forever!