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What follows is my letter to the editor of The Dallas Morning News for Mark Davis’ column, “Where the Bible Meets the Ballot Box.” I mainly take issue with the following assertion:
While that issue can be spun, the death penalty cannot. There is simply no scriptural evidence that God or Jesus disapproves of executions. “Thou shalt not kill” is an obvious reference to murder; no one can rationally argue against the morality of necessary killing, as in self-defense or an objectively just war.
Mark Davis’ pseudo-theological argument that the social standards set by the Bible and supposedly best adhered to by only one of the two dominant American political parties falters when he discusses the death penalty.
While, I confess no special ability, skill or education in interpreting Bible verse, the proclamation “Thou shalt not kill” obviously includes no qualifiers. For Mr. Davis to argue that it only refers to “murder” is intellectually dishonest. If, as Mr. Davis asserts, God desires even the faintest cellular construction upon conception be afforded the protection of that commandment as a human being, it is obvious that a full-grown person should be protected by the same Biblical command. In fact, through the inspired phrasing of the commandment, one could more easily interpret it as a restriction on all killing before finding ways to “spin” it to justify the execution of sentient, oftentimes believing Christian men and women.
More important and disturbing, though, is the fact that Mr. Davis uses the Word of God to justify the institution (state execution) which led to his Son, Jesus’ death.
24 May 05 UPDATE: I’ve just received word that my letter is a finalist for publication in the Dallas Morning News within the next seven days. You can check to see if it’s been printed here.