Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Because the state can protect us from criminals

This man was apparently let out of prison early.  He then allegedly went on to gun down Colorado's corrections chief.  Look, I said I opposed the Death Penalty.  I knew there were a few problems with that.  Especially once I became a Christian.  Ironic, I know.  Most I knew who opposed the DP did so for reasons I increasingly saw as incompatible with classical Christian doctrines.  I also struggled with the idea that it could lead to the innocent dying.  It might be rare, but as far as we know, the verified cases of innocent people being executed are also rare.  Both numbers might be higher than we imagine.

Which is why I found solace in the Church's position: mercy if at all possible, but not at the expense of protecting the widow and the orphan, the innocent so to speak.  Nonetheless, I was always a little skittish about that section in the Catechism that seems, in an almost off handed way, to suggest it might be time to end the practice altogether.  Not because it says it might be time, but the reason it gives: because now the State can protect us from criminals.

I'm not even sure what that means.  At first it just bothered me.  But the more I've looked into things, I've realized that the State is no more able to 'protect us' than it was 20 years ago, 50 years ago, 100 years ago.  And this case in Colorado simply drives the point home.  Like the inmates killed in a nearby prison over the last year, the young mother killed a few years ago by an escaped convict, now this man killed by an inmate accidentally let out early because of a clerical error, it's obvious that the State can't 'protect us.'

Call me silly, but I expect the Church to be right.  I could buy the argument that the entire capital punishment process is a lumbering mess, that our justice system is in disarray,  and that in the end there are a thousand things wrong with this country so often maligned and insulted that one loses track of what is wrong.  How can such an inept and corrupt nation ever be trusted with the awesome power of life and death?  Of course the same things then must be said about warfare, and even self protection.  To the liberal's credit, all of these should (should, though with liberal presidents not always) be condemned outright.  Nothing, and I mean nothing, to kill or die for after all.

But to rest the abolition of capital punishment on something that is so clearly false.  What does it even mean? Just because you are the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church does not give you the right to say wrong things.  You can't say 2+2=1.  You can't say squares are round.  You can't say driving is safer because pixies and leprechauns are now living in the traffic lights.  And you can't say we can basically change 2000 years of understanding a subject because of something that is so easily and demonstrably false.  For if you do it for this topic, there is not one thing in the world to suggest you won't do it for another.  So get back to the drawing board and reflect.  Either keep the teaching where it was, or at least find reasons to change it based on what is true, not on what is almost clear as day wrong.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Let me know your thoughts