Saturday, December 30, 2006

Saddam Hussein, Capitol Punishment, and Vengeance

There is a lot the consider with the execution of Saddam Hussein, which was conducted this morning. The death penalty, ideas of justice versus revenge, even degree of sin. I was going to have a go at it myself when I discovered this post at Mere Comments, which it is much easier to simply point to. The post seems to me a bit hard on Catholics in general, but it still brings up some insightful points. The coments following it are also(almost always) good to read, especially for those desiring some form of Catholic response.

The topic of capitol punishment came up in a religion course of mine this past semester when we watched the film Dead Man Walking, itself a true story. Can we justify taking one life for another, or others? The Old Testament can, but how is such an idea reconciled to the New Covenant? Is killing always wrong, and then, what of war, what of people, like Saddam, whose atrocities are nearly unnumbered and doubtlessly attributed? Again, there's a lot to ponder, I think.

I also can't help but noting that vengeance is one of the many topics VERY interestingly touched on in the Star Wars: The New Jedi Order series of novels that I have been reading in for some time. The philosophical and quasi-religious questions faced by some of the younger Jedi characters who are striving to 'work out their faith' are some of the main reasons that a handful of these novels have found their way into my library. A deeper look into the questions explored in them may be warranted sometime in the future.



Rev. Daniel McLain Hixon said...

I think the death penalty is an interesting issue. The United Methodist Church opposes it because we feel it denies the possibility of the redemption of that person that *might* have otherwise happened if they came to know Christ.
I tend to agree, though in certain circumstances I think it may be the best course available. Even current Roman Catholic dogma allows for capital punishment under certain circumstances. But I do think that the article may be onto something when they say that the last Pope was "too soft on crime/sin" and such.

Rev. Daniel McLain Hixon said...

and it contributes (says the UMC) to a devaluing of human life - perhaps similar to JPII's argument about our laws facilitating a "culture of death"