Executions Ensure Justice
Posted: October 13, 2012
Criminal execution is a deliberate, lawful, controlled response to a heinous crime administered by representatives elected by the citizens. (Photo by Associated Press)
Matthew 4:4 (NIV) “Jesus answered, ‘It is written: Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” Romans 13:1b “The authorities (government) that exist have been established by God.” Romans 13:4b “He (the ruler or government) is God’s servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.” One of the God-ordained responsibilities of government is to see justice done. This is New Testament, not Old Testament, inspired by God, written by Paul after Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount.
Mr. Carpenter assumes that Mr. Klotzbach and his family seek revenge, which may or may not be the case. Perhaps they desire justice as much as revenge, and are frustrated with the justice system. Carpenter’s use of the words revenge and criminal execution interchangeably is misleading. Revenge is an emotional, passionate, usually uncontrolled individual or mob response to an offensive act. Criminal execution is a deliberate, lawful, controlled response to a heinous crime administered by representatives elected by the citizens to carry out the responsibilities of government even when some of these responsibilities are distasteful to the representatives. In this case, a 5-year-old child was shot and her body burned over a custody dispute with her mother’s spouse. Horrible, senseless, depraved, pathetic are inadequate to describe this crime. Although I’m not a big fan of the death penalty, I’m not convinced that government served its Creator or the people with this plea bargain.
Revenge is a poor excuse for action, but the difference is huge between revenge and accountability. When our children misbehave, we hold them accountable. When thieves steal, when rapists rape, when murderers murder, we hold them accountable. Or we should. This is how we maintain a civilized society. My perception is that criminals “play” the justice system to avoid full accountability. When we give up accountability, everybody loses.
“Executions remove criminals from the possibility of receiving God’s grace, forgiveness and redemption,” Mr. Carpenter wrote. This is true only in relation to time. The first step to receiving God’s grace, forgiveness and redemption is acknowledging personal responsibility for sin against God or others. Allowing criminals to dodge full responsibility for their crimes, just as us denying responsibility for our sin, is what removes them and us from the possibility of receiving God’s grace. When we give up personal responsibility, everybody loses.
Jesus is used many times to justify many positions. I don’t claim to be an expert, but He never worked through government or interfered with its function. He never took by force from the rich to give to the poor. He never told anyone “you’re not responsible”. He didn’t saddle children with debt to accomplish arbitrary social goals. He didn’t lie or even embellish. He didn’t ask government to support him financially, to pay for his education, health care, retirement or disability. He essentially said take responsibility and I’ll take responsibility for you. I respectfully ask that you leave Him out of the political arguments. His inclusion in political arguments diminishes His position in our eyes and confuses us about His purpose in our lives.
By now you may sense my frustration with Mr. Carpenter’s letter and with the direction of our government, especially the current one. Perhaps it is just part of the “frustration of creation” in Romans 8:20 leading up to the last day. Much has been said and written about the last day, but I’ve never heard it called Plea Bargain Day.
Mr. Adamson lives in Fort Seybert, W. Va.