I recently joined Facebook. I’ve fought the good fight, but I finally gave in.
I guess I found the term “social networking” a little odd for something you do without having to face people. But I noticed my e-mails from people I know had dropped to zero. I asked my wife why and she told me everyone was on Facebook.
So I quoted a famous philosopher by the name of Jed Clampett and exclaimed “Whoo Doggy”. Then I joined Facebook.
While signing up for Facebook, one of the things you can post on your profile is your religious and political views. I’ve noticed that in the political views part that most of the people I know on Facebook either say “Republican” or nothing at all.
It ain’t healthy in an evangelical church to declare that you’re a Democrat. You might have the deacons grab you and try to re-baptize you repeatedly until you “convert” and declare Rush Limbaugh as your personal lord and savior and receive Shawn Hannity as your new “holy spirit”.
Anyway, it got me to thinking about why I have such as difficult time reconciling my faith with politics. I know that if there is one thing that the “religious right” has tried to do is just that. Meld politics and faith.
Just to get the record straight, though, I can’t vote Democrat as a rule. Abortion is murder and anyone that will support state sponsored murder will never get my vote. Ever. Far too many Democrats support abortion and unless I know for a fact they will take a stand against it, I can’t support them.
But that puts me in an interesting spot. Most of my fellow evangelical right wing Republicans support the death penalty. Oh, I used to. In fact there was a time in my life I probably would have flipped the switch myself. But not now. Far too many people have been found innocent since DNA has been used. I can’t support something that could kill even one innocent person.
As of 1989, there’s been 247 people freed from prison with DNA. Although I’ve had a hard time finding the exact amount that’s been freed from death row, it seems to be around 17. Remember, that’s just the ones that have been exhonerated by DNA and just since 1989. There is no telling how many innocent people we’ve executed or how many are rotting in prison.
Although I don’t have the numbers, it could be argued that far too many of these people were minorities or the poor that were run roughshod over by an overzealous system eager to earn any conviction.
Lives ruined, families broken up, millions of dollars spent, fear, and things that can’t even be mentioned on a Christian blog have happened to the wrongly accused. Yeah, that’s the kind of justice Jesus spoke of.
I recommend that any of my fellow Christian Right Wing Republican Death Penalty Supporters read/listen to John Grisham’s book, The Innocent Man. If you are still a die-hard death penalty supporter after that, I would consider doing some carpet time with God and seeking his mind on it. I was on the fence long before I listened to this book. But afterward I am thoroughly against the death penalty.
You see, God said
6 “Do not deny justice to your poor people in their lawsuits. 7 Have nothing to do with a false charge and do not put an innocent or honest person to death, for I will not acquit the guilty.8 “Do not accept a bribe, for a bribe blinds those who see and twists the words of the righteous. (Exodus 23:6-8 NIV)
We wave our signs, we scream and sit outside abortion clinics, we stick stickers to our mini-vans because of the innocent life killed because of abortions, but us Christians don’t even give a second thought to flipping a switch on a young black man who was bullied into confessing at 4:30am to a murder he didn’t commit after he was deprived of sleep, water, bathroom, and rest.
God doesn’t see innocence the way we see innocence. We are born into sin. None of us are innocent. Steal a piece of gum, kill someone, both are a violation of God’s law and none of will be found innocent without the forgiveness of Christ.
God doesn’t give us an option on this. Read the verse above, It means DO NOT. Until we can be assured that we aren’t putting ANY innocent man to death we stop doing it. Period. Because God said so.
So to all you who use the following math formula, Christian=Republican=Conservative=Death Penalty, to determine a person’s salvation: I sure am glad Paul of the New Testament didn’t “get what he deserved”.