From: Marilyn Burge
To: Al Schroeder
Date: Mar 14 1996 7:11:33 am
Subject: A Fair & Just God
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On (10 Mar 96) Al Schroeder wrote to Rick McFarlane...

RM> I fear the contoversy of capital punishment is about to
RM> sidetrack your argument here. The argument itself, about
RM> leading by example, does not depend on society having a right
RM> to kill. Using that as the case in point might just lead to
RM> misunderstanding.

AS> Yes, but I think I need to lead with the strongest
AS> prohibition we have, that I think God can defy. It doesn't
AS> only involve capitol punishment of convicted killers, it
AS> involves the right to self-defense and policing itself (the
AS> state can have a SWAT team shoot a sniper who is about to
AS> kill hundreds, for instance.)

RM> Killing murderers is the most dramatic (and controversial)
RM> example, but, if we imprison kidnappers, or fine embezzelers,
RM> we as a society, are behaving in exactly the same way that we
RM> found objectionable in the individual we are punishing, and
RM> no one finds that controversial at all. Of course, society is
RM> not an individual, so the code of conduct that we expect
RM> individuals to submit to doesn't hold for society and,
RM> ultimately, everyone, including those that oppose capital
RM> punishment, understand that.

AS>  Exactly. Humans in the aggregate are able to do things that are
AS>  reprehensible to an individual, and nobody but a total anarchist
AS> believes  differently. And that is just a collection of human beings,
AS> not a Being on  a totally different order of reality, who further
AS> created the reality in  which we dwell.

RM> And God is not a man.

AS>  Indeed not. (Although He may have been one for a while, if my beliefs
AS> are  right...a descent into humanness.)

Since this side conversation essentially deals with my earlier
post, I'll leave it intact and post some clarification. The
Government is US. WE are the Government. What it does, we do, both
individually and collectively. It is easy for us to forget that.
We, both individually and collectively, have the right to protect
ourselves. No doubt about that. And, one of the obvious ways we
have of protecting ourselves is to imprison those who would be a
danger to us. I have no moral qualms about that. In fact, as long
as we have both the means and the power to imprison for the
purpose of protecting the innocent from the predatory, there is no
reason for us to go any further by killing the predator in cold
blood (which is what capital punishment is).

Now, regarding the second point of cops killing snipers in order
to save hundreds, etc. I recognize the fact that others do not
share my ethical viewpoint. I also recognize the fact that we must
all, in the final analysis, live according to our own convictions.
I do not attempt to influence other people's consciences. In fact,
I think it is wrong to do so.

I'll make a little parable so you can see my point. A man doesn't
believe in owning firearms. His daughter is being threatened by a
predatory rapist. He talks to me at great length about how scared
he is, both for himself and for his daughter. I talk him into
getting a firearm to protect his family. His 10-year-old son, who
has never been around firearms before, accidentally shoots and
kills a playmate.

According to my way of looking at things, *I* am responsible for
tbe death of that playmate, just as surely as if I had been the
one to pull the trigger. If I had not talked the man into
purchasing a gun, the playmate would be alive. Now, that in no way
absolves the man of his responsibility for not properly training
his son in firearms safety, nor does it absolve the rapist for
making it necessary for the man to purchase a gun.

It is entirely possible for more than one person to be culpable
for a tragic event, just as a team may be responsible for the
rescue of one mountaineer.

So, I do not and cannot make the decision for anybody else about
their career choice (in this case, the decision to be a cop). That
is their choice. They must live by their own lights, not by mine.
While I could not in good conscience take up a career that put me
in a position to take the life of another, I respect their
decision to do exactly that. It is theirs to make, not mine.

The above paragraph explains rather poignantly why I can be both
pro-choice and anti-abortion, btw. I do not live by other people's
lights, nor do I feel any need for them to live by mine.

Do I think the world would be a better place without violence?
That's a no-brainer.  OF COURSE it would.  That's why I am a
pacifist.  I cannot control the actions of others, but I can
control my own actions.  I can also refrain from saying anything
that justifies in others those actions that I deem to be against
the best interest of mankind as a whole.

The Christophers said it well:

It is better to light one little candle than
to curse the darkness.

Amen.  <grin>
... A feature is a bug with seniority.

--- PPoint 2.00
* Origin: So What's Yer Point? (1:105/40.666)
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