If you like the death penalty and you know it ...

... clap your hands? Here's the neat takeaway from Rod Dreher, registering his disgust at Real Clear Religion as the applauseometer jumped when Gov. Rick Perry defended Texas' indefensible record on capital punishment:

It is worth contemplating why it is that conservatives who believe the government is incompetent in most areas of its agency are willing to assent credulously to its unerring competence when it comes to exercising the ultimate power over its citizenry: killing them.


Read the rest here.

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ed gleason
6 years 10 months ago
Conservatives are not all anti-government.. Tea Party anti-government people have love and respect for the government employees who carry guns. The Fed.government gun packers because they carry a gun, get early retirement advantages..  with only 20 years service. Tea Party people never object to this extra pension  expense. Money well spent they say, it's those no gun bureaucrats we detest. .
Who are the Government gun packers?  FBI, US Marshall's, CIA, Drug enforcement ICE, Treasury agents, Bureau of Prisons, Border patrol, Secret Service, Some IRS, Postal Inspectors, Some Forest Rangers, Federal Protective service, National Park Police, Capitol Police, ATF, State Dept Security,  Energy dept. Security Coast Guard..WE LOVE THESE GUNNIE FEDS. Carry a gun and get early retirement too.
6 years 10 months ago
''why it is that conservatives who believe the government is incompetent in most areas of its agency are willing to assent credulously to its unerring competence when it comes to exercising the ultimate power over its citizenry: killing them.''

A few comments:

1. This is not necessarily a conservative position though a lot of conservatives support the death penalty.  I consider myself a conservative and am against the death penalty but I am also against any parole for convicted killers too.  Oh, the liberal and progressive position is to support abortion which is ten thousand times worse than the death penalty in the number it affects in Western society.  I am against that too.  For an egregious use of forensics to convict someone of a capital crime they probably didn't commit, see


2. Didn't we just have a president execute someone in a foreign country?  What percentage of Americans do the people here think disagree with that policy.  And could a lot of them be liberals.

3. Conservatives do not think all government is incompetent.  It does a lot of things very well and the closer the government is to the final action the better.  Which means reduce the federal government and increase the purview of the states and municipalities where individuals affected can argue for better execution of government action.  It is when bureaucrats at a national level interfere with with local level they are very likely to be incompetent.  But we have a political game in this country that tries to allow the federal government power to do anything when the original intent was to actually limit what the federal government was supposed to do.

A lot of nonsense gets promulgated as gospel around here.
C Walter Mattingly
6 years 10 months ago
What's the next line of the tune? "If you grove on slaughtering babies stomp your feet?"
 I'm sure there are some who enjoy seeing convicted horrific murderers executed for vengeance's sake, although I don't personally know any such, just as there are those no more disturbed by abortions than excising a wart, a few of whom I have known.  Anyone who observed the OJ Simpson trial must at least suspect that the government's competence convicting (or conversely defending) criminals is questionable. Yet the extreme prejudice in favor of the accused in America's jurisprudence goes a very long way toward offsetting government fallibility. a limitation conservatives, and liberals in this case since it suits their purposes, usually acknowledge. 
I personally am undecided on this issue. The day there exists convincing evidence that the existence of the death penalty is not a deterrent to future murders, that by doing away with the death penalty I do not facilitate the murder of unknown others, that day I will join the opposition. (Although personally I might consider the most common alternative sentence for heinous murders in states with no death penalty, life without parole, lock 'em up and throw away the key, to be worse.)    
Liam Richardson
6 years 10 months ago
I find proponents of the death penalty in our country more credible when they can sincerely say that they accept the risk that they, or more pointedly, their loved ones may be charged, convicted and punished for a capital crime they did not commit.

I can't accept that risk sincerely, so I must oppose the death penalty in  our country.
Bill Taylor
6 years 10 months ago
The Federal Government/states right argument has been going on for most of American history.  Interesting enough, the Democrats were the original states rights supporters.  If they had had their way in the 1830-1860's, half of America would still own slaves and each new state would have fought bloody battles over the issue as they did in Kansas.   The Whigs and then the Republicans were the ones in favor of a strong Federal Governemnt.  

And so it went on into my lifetime.  States Rights was an especially powerful plank of the Southern Democrats, the Dixiecrats, as they were called.  It was a subtle term for structural  racial inequality.  And then I watched the Democratic Party begin to change as it became more and more aware of civil rights, the rights of women, and other issues. 

Under first Nixon, with his "Southern Stragey," and then under Reagan, the Republicans became the champions of states rights.   At its core, at that time and until today, it is a racist attitude and that is why the South is solidly Republican.  

The Federal Government has to step in when the states have shown that they cannot handle deep issues, especially deep moral issues that have to do with our national character or our long term future.   Lincoln and the Republicans had to step in to preserve the Union and bring and end to slavery.   Kennedy and Johnson had to step in because the South had managed to put the black man back under bondage.   The Federal Government had to step in because some states do so badly with the role of women, the environment, and etc..

States have the advantage of being close to some issues and have the ability to resolve them.  But states have also shown their inability to deal with some crucial issues.   My best examples would be West Virginia, which remains in many ways a Third World country after so many years as a state.  It seems unable to protect its own environment because it is in the hands of rich interests.   My other example would be Texas, which for all of its boasts and despite its wealth, has a huge food insecurity crisis and two of the poorest counties in America. 
C Walter Mattingly
6 years 10 months ago
@ Karl,
Conversely, you could argue that your loved one is far more likely to be killed by a Willie Horton than wrongfully executed in the US. 
C Walter Mattingly
6 years 10 months ago
@ Ed,
Simply this. Karl's statement was that  those arguing in favor of the death penalty need to consider if they are willing to accept the risk that their loved ones could be falsely convicted of a heinous murder and executed. He followed that up by stating he couldn't accept that risk.
My statement was that, conversely, following that line of thinking, those arguing against the death penalty for such heinous murders must be willing to accept that such murderers when released on furlough or parole must accept the possibility of their loved ones being raped/murdered by such convicted 1st degree murderers. I mentioned Horton because he was popularized during the Bush/Dukakis campaign because when he was released on weekend furlough he brutally assaulted and raped a victim. It is less well known that Al Gore in an earlier debate had brought up this issue against Dukakis, as two different convicted murderers while on Dukakis furloughs committed new murders. (Again Horton, more timely, committed only brutal rape and assault and battery on a woman.)
While it must be that we have almost certainly wrongly executed innocents convicted of murder in recent years, there is no conclusive evidence we have done so. There is conclusive evidence that paroled and furloughed murderers have done so, so I would consider the greater risk to the innocent pretty clear.
@ Karl,
I don't really know, the evidence is not conclusive one way or the other. I respect your opinion on your moral conclusions.
A fellow parishioner of mine who has just a wonderful record of prison ministry and has published in favor of abolishing the death penalty also states that we should not argue about the nature of the crimes. They are horrific. He also believes that a person who has committed cold-blooded and voluntary premeditated murder against another should never be allowed to reenter the public domain, that life imprisonment without parole is the only appropriate alternative to the death penalty for such murderers. Having spent time in our nearby maximum security prison teaching poetry back in the 70's, I truly have a hard time distinguishing which is the least inhumane. But maybe if I were about to visit Old Sparky or the injection process, I might become "illuminated."
ed gleason
6 years 10 months ago
Walter; What's this?
"Conversely, you could argue that your loved one is far more likely to be killed by a Willie Horton than wrongfully executed in the US."

Liam Richardson
6 years 10 months ago

And I don't see the risk of the killing being reduced sufficiently by capital punishment to warrant the greater moral risk.

Beth Cioffoletti
6 years 10 months ago
Like so many others, I was disturbed by the spontaneous cheer from the crowd for Rick Perry's rousing support for state sponsored killing, but I wasn't really surprised.  Most Americans support the death penalty.  Even Catholics (just read the comments above).

The Law of Talion, “... an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth ...” is alive and well in America (and elsewhere) today. I saw on TV a Christian woman quoting it as if Exodus 21 or Deuteronomy 19 was her guide, ignoring Matthew 5:38-48.

Whenever I speak out about this I am looked at like a person out of touch with reality. Or people will agree “in theory,” yet say something to the effect “... but it’s not practical.” I guess “not practiced” is what they really mean. Not “the will of the people.”

We are on the road to becoming a people who are all blind and toothless!
Liam Richardson
6 years 10 months ago
"...no conclusive evidence of" wrongful executions? Ever? That's a new claim.


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