Boston, liberal bastion of the Northeast United States, home to major liberal arts universities, Harvard and Boston University, center of study of the human genome, MIT, city of a million Roman Catholics, and tens of thousands of Episcopalians, a community proudly steeped in a century or more of post modern progressive Judeo-Christian theology; Boston, the Apostolic Prelates of Boston City are silent tonight.
That’s not to say the press of Christians crowded into to Irish pubs, trendy bars and back street dives are silent, no, not silent at all! Through-out the neighborhoods of the city built by Puritans and straight laced Yankees, the mobbish followers of Jesus in hearty unison cheer: Death to Tsarnaev!
They will have their revenge of the heinous, cowardly act of bombing the Boston Marathon, they will have blood for blood! “Vengeance is ours…” proclaim the Irish Lords of Southy, and the WASP swells of Beacon Hill, “Vengeance need not delay and wait upon the Lord, we deserve it now and we will have it.”
I am opposed to the Death Penalty, as I am to any homicide, and I aver to you that any form of human activity that results in the taking of human life by another human is so far out of the Will of God as to be clearly, and cleanly, the act of a human animal, not the act of a human being, sentient and conscious of God’s Will.
It is our understanding of that Will, that makes the very act of Tsarnaev and his brother so reprehensible, so horrifying, and so pathetic. They are like human creatures that have not evolved since the First Century AD, like those human animals whose religious creeds reflect the absence of God’s presence since their prophet first mislead them fifteen centuries ago. Human animals not yet elevated by the suffusion of the Holy Spirit to the nature of empathetic beings, not yet evolved culturally to the point of recognizing the beauty of life, its precious nature, its Divine chord of Justice, and the singular transforming nature of God’s love for His children, when such awareness leads to acceptance, to transformation, to the very character of the Divine accomplished in human beings through His revelation to us, that being the absolute and quintessential spiritual nature of unconditional forgiveness.
No one, not Tsarnaev, not the State acting under its own self delegated “police powers,” not the Congress of the United States, nor even, with War Powers Delegated to the Office, the President of the United States, has the right to take a single human life. Not even I, sitting at my desk as I write this with handgun in full view, and with a pistol gripped pump action 12 gauge shotgun only a few feet away, awaiting what danger the night might bring.
You may say inflicting the ultimate punishment of death is “Legal” and I will not disagree. We have not all evolved, we human animals, we are not all bathed, baptized, suffused with God’s grace. We attack with depravity or concupiscence other humans, we take life to protect life, to protect liberty, but we may never take life in the pursuit of happiness, for no one marked as Cain was, can ever be completely happy. We do what is necessary to survive personally and as a nation; too often our foe is unwilling to surrender ideology, false theology or even their property or personalty to us, too often we seemingly have no choice but to kill or be killed. God forgive us our sins.
But this Verdict of Death is not that case, the killings by the Tsarnaev brothers is ended, over and done with. The murder has been done. Now, the mob of Boston will have its lynching, and murder fresh, murder most fowl, will be result of laws which allow civilized men to act as barbarians.
Were there no God, no Justice, no Jesus Christ hung upon a cross, I would have long ago approved of murder as just another tool in controlling those who beliefs threatened mine. I would have applauded ISIL for their boldness and depravity in controlling territory they conquered, and then I would have seen them exterminated to the last male infant. Nothing new there, that was the way of Herod the Great, the way of Augustus Caesar, the way of all Emperors and Kings and Chiefs at the time of the birth of Jesus, at the time of His incarnation, and that way remains in our collective consciousness.
And without His birth, without the life and death of Jesus of Nazareth, regardless of your willingness to accept the belief of His divinity, without the existence of His “gospels” as texts teaching our fellow human animals a more just, decent, and compassionate way of experiencing life, without His words left to us as a guide to a better temporal, material existence, we would be experiencing life exactly as our ancestors did two thousand years ago.
I call upon the Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Charlie Baker, to demand President Obama commute the sentence of Tsarnaev to that of Life in Prison without Possibility of Parole, and further call upon the Congress of the United States to provide funds to build a facility that will contain his body, denying it communication with any other person, other than his guards, until God has mercy on his being and allows his death. This is punishment far worse than “death” because as I imply, life under these conditions should only be “mercifully” ended when his natural course of life terminates.
Absent such commutation of the Court’s Sentence, I demand that the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Boston, Cardinal Seán Patrick O’Malley, O.F.M. Cap. speak publicly in opposition to the imposition of the death sentence in the Tsarnaev adjudication, and in its very occurrence in the Criminal Code of The Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and deny Holy Eucharist to any public or private person who supports any method of taking human life, from conception to natural death. There will always be those who sin against God’s Sixth Commandment, the Roman Catholic Fifth Commandment, that is, the Command of Exodus 20:13, and there will always be forgiveness through the grace of God for those who do such sin, but only if they repent of their sin. And how will they know they must do that, must repent, how will a soldier know, a policeman know, someone defending his family know; how will they know if their worldly ministers do not tell them of the sin and of the fear of God’s Judgment, if they do not repent. Murder is the only sin for which there can be no equal earthly restitution, only forgiveness, and that only for them who seek to follow the Will of God and the Way of Jesus.
And lest I slight my own mother church, I demand that The Rt. Rev. Alan M. Gates, Bishop Diocesan, Episcopal Diocese Of Massachusetts, ECUSA, speak forthwith and plainly on the nature of sin against the commandments of God, specifically the Sixth Commandment, Exodus 20:13, as passionately as he and his church brothers, and sisters, speak out against the presence of sin against the Second of the Great Commandments in the Law, Matthew 22:39, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” After all, none of us, I surmise, would willingly kill ourselves to satisfy the sin of our murder of another. If we would not willingly inflict this punishment on ourselves, should we inflict it upon others? Another long night for an Episcopal prelate.
Christians must not just dislike sin, they must abhor it! The taking of a human life, by any action other than natural causes, is sinful. It is sinful to sell deadly drugs to others, it is sinful to accidentally cause the death of another, as in a traffic accident, or to kill an enemy soldier in a firefight, or cause death dropping a bomb, or to shoot and kill a home invader, or acting with police powers, to kill a perpetrator or a suspect. It is sinful to abort a fetus, or be the abortionist, it is sinful to kill your child or spouse, it is sinful for any human to take, accede to or participate in the death of another, no matter what the cause or motive may be.
What’s difficult about that statement? It is what is written in the Scriptures. The same texts that tell of forgiveness and love tell us to fear God. Obey his Commands, admit our transgressions, repent and resolve, and by each act admitted and atoned, human life will become more divine, more exemplary of our being created in God’s image and likeness. “Vengeance is mine saith the Lord…” Deut 32: 35, Romans 12:19.
Leave the Death Penalty to God, Punishment is what we should be about, if not rehabilitation, but that’s another topic for another day. + + +
Comments of Relevance to my commentary, The Deathly Silence:
And speaking of deathly silence, how ’bout the responses to this post?! Cue Sounds of Silence. I think when a man goes to all the trouble to write something like this, others should reply, if for no other reason than to honor the effort.
I think this post is worthy of reply based on subject matter, biblical doctrine, and the passion of the author. I will never be as eloquent as Bull, but I do have a few thoughts on this post.
As a personal admission, when Obama was reelected, I bought my first gun. I have prayed I’ll never, ever want to use it.
The commandement in question does not include an asterisk or a footnote. Thou shalt not kill. That’s what God said/says (since He is the Alpha and Omega, what He says is present tense, too). I have long felt that this commandment included no exceptions.
Confessionally, my first thought hearing this sentence was “good, he deserves it”. Perhaps that is my sinful, this world is too much with me, response.
Before I go on too long, I simply want to say something I have said many times: If we truly believe what we profess to believe, then this life is unimportant, even to the extend of allowing some one else to kill us or our loved ones. To live is Christ and to die is gain.
It is fear and our sinful nature that convinces us that killing to protect ourselves or others is not a sin, isn’t it?
“Thou shalt not kill, except for the situations listed in subparagraphs A thru D, below, and except for the other situations otherwise described elsewhere in this contract, or where this contract is in conflict with local or federal statue or case law” the Bible does not say even once, does it?
Thanks Bull for reminding us. I for one appreciate it.
PS, for years I have supported the death penalty as a just deterrent.
Bull Sullivan Responds:
Graham, I might find ways around my conscience (which is to Christians the voice of God) as I have in my disobedience to other Commandments (Remember, I have been and aide and confidant to several members of the US Congress) if I had ever seen the application of the death penalty act as a deterrent to the commission of capital crimes.
The truth of the matter is murder occurs as a result of three circumstances, the first of which is manifested in and is the result of sociopathic personality traits: premeditation for personal gain, and/or premeditation for ideological gain. These murderers are not dissuaded by the threat of their own death, in fact, that consideration on their part may heighten the enjoyment of the act.
The second circumstance is death, murder, caused by the abandonment of reason and logic, what is often called an act of passion, an unconsidered response to a perceived threat or to a loss of respect, almost always caused by uncontrolled anger or fear.
The third circumstance is death, killing, murder as a result of an accident, an unintentional and often negligent taking of life without any discernible purpose.
While these three circumstances do not account for every instance of murder, such as in self-defense or as a result of acts of war, they alone, or in combination, are present in the vast majority of homicides occurring in our society.
Can you honestly say that reading in the paper of an execution of a condemned criminal can in any way deter murder, or even seeing a report of an execution, with its tear streamed testimony and candle light vigil, can in any way effect the conditions, the circumstances described above?
I grant you the fact that some humans don’t deserve to live, that some behave outside the pale of human experience, but still, that does not permit us, personally or as a society, to ignore the Commandments of God.
We are imperfect, sinful, but not because we must be, not because of the lingering effects of “Original Sin” (And in this I am certain, no such “Original Sin” any longer exists for God became man, Jesus was born a man, not a superman, but the Son of Man, perfect in his humanness, ending for eternity the alienation from the Father that occurred in the Garden of Eden, and His death as a man on the cross a perfect sacrifice, oblation and satisfaction for all the sins of Mankind for all eternity) but because we choose to sin, we choose to disobey the Will of God. Volition and Grace are the consummate gifts of the Father to each of us, and we must be aware, awakened by the Spirit through the Gospels, of the need to constantly seek to do God’s Will, to worship and glorify our Father in Heaven.
On a lighter note, all we must do to “perfectly” worship God is to acknowledge our sins, confess our sins and repent our sins, and at that moment we are in perfect communion with our Father, even if that moment is for as short a time period as to our next thought!
I note that it is not Sunday, so I’ll stop my homily, but I express my thanks to you Graham, for reminding me constantly of our human condition. I think of you, who I know to be a child of God, and I rejoice in your testimony of God’s love in your life. What each of us needs to understand and believe is that written Divine Revelation ended with the Scriptures, but that a special unique Divine Revelation constantly occurs to each of us personally, if we only seek His guidance in our lives. The Holy Ghost will always tell us what is good and what is sinful, we only need to listen, but with you, Graham, I am preaching to the choir! God Bless you. + + +