Death Penalty I

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Dear visionaries,

We have been asked about the contradictory positions taken, not only by absolutists, but by Christian absolutists. The example cited was that of the death penalty. But the example is poorly drawn. Everyone supports the death penalty. It is yet another example of “not whether, but which.” Do we execute the serial murderer, or do we “execute” his next victim because he is still around to perpetrate such crimes? So I support the death penalty for certain crimes bacause I prefer to have fair trials precede any executions I would support. I oppose the death penalty for five-year-old girls riding their bicycles, East African workers in aspirin factories who gave their lives so that somebody’s sex scandal could get off the front page, and children in utero.

But this clash of interpretations between absolutist Christians does not alter my questions that I have posted to this list at all. Rather, it reinforces them. Everyone is in this same position, and everyone has to answer the same questions. Living together in society means that some people will always be the recipients of coercion, up to and including fatal coercion. The only question before the house concerns which category of people they will be, and what “absolutist-enough-to-coerce” standard will be applied to them.

“Apologetics in the Void” are repostings from an on-going electronic discussion and debate I had some time ago with members of our local community, whose names I have changed. The list serve is called Vision 20/20, and hence the name “visionaries.” Reading just these posts probably feels like listening to one half of a phone conversation, but I don’t feel at liberty to publish what others have written. But I have been editing these posts (lightly) with intelligibility in mind.

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