Sunny Days in Heaven
Spiritual/Political/Philosophical Blog on the Nature of Truth and Falsehood and Heaven

Thursday, March 03, 2005  

Today's Quote"

Genesis 9:6

"Whoever sheds the blood of man,

by man shall his blood be shed;

for in the image of God

has God made man.

Dennis Prager used this to illustrate that the death penalty is required by God for murder (and no, war doesn't count as murder).

His point is that the Judeo-Christian ethic treats life as sacred. Sacred, in fact, as God is. Therefore, the punishment for those not treating the life of an innocent as sacred must equal the abuse done to the sacred. That is how we impress upon each other that the greatest crime deserves the harshest punishment.

People complain that an “eye for an eye leads to a world of one eyed people.” Really? If you steal $50 dollars from me and the judge makes you give me $50 dollars, does that actually leave me with $25? That’s the parallel in logic, though.

In fact, if you steal $50 from me and are found guilty of it, I will probably be able to claim much more from the perpetrator in compensation as a victim of his larceny.

To deny the equitable punishment for murder does two things. One, it denies that the victim’s life is an image of God, and thus denies the sacred entirely; and two, it asserts that the murderer’s life is more valuable than the victim’s.

The reply is usually of this nature, “two wrongs don’t make a right,” and “Nothing we do now will ever bring the victim back.” The latter somehow assumes that justice consists of restoring the victim to life. The former consists of the erroneous belief that capital punishment is a wrong always and everywhere.

Well, let’s return to the $50 thief. How is it wrong if he is forced to return $50 to me? This is the same logical equation. He was wrong to steal, and it would be wrong for me to take back?

Undoubtedly, my adversary would claim these two sets of circumstance a matter of apples and oranges, sui generis. Yet, it goes to the heart of what we mean by justice, and not the matter of degree in punishment.

Certainly, a murderer, though he has “taken” a life, can’t be said to possess the victim’s life (and thus cannot return it), yet he does possess that which the victim no longer has, and that is his own life. Since he cannot restore the victim to life, he must forfeit that which is of equal value; his own life.

posted by Mark Butterworth | 1:14 PM |