He Came From A Very Good Christian Family

Maurice Clemmons, the murderer shot and killed in Seattle today years ago had his sentence famously commuted by Governor Mike Huckabee, who we all know makes no bones about his desire to base U.S. law on his perception of God’s law.  Here’s some of his Christian judgment about who deserves mercy under such laws:

Clemmons had a history of violent crimes in Arkansas and Washington dating back to his teenage years.

He would have been serving a 108-year prison term in Arkansas, but his sentence was commuted by former Gov. Mike Huckabee in 2000 after Clemmons argued that he had committed his crimes — including burglary, aggravated robbery and illegal possession of a firearm — as a youth and had changed.

In his petition to Huckabee, Clemmons said he came “from a very good Christian family” and “was raised much better than my actions speak.”

Am I being unjustifiably cynical to think that if he had been an atheist he’d still be in jail where he belonged right now?

Your Thoughts?

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About Daniel Fincke

Dr. Daniel Fincke  has his PhD in philosophy from Fordham University and spent 11 years teaching in college classrooms. He wrote his dissertation on Ethics and the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. On Camels With Hammers, the careful philosophy blog he writes for a popular audience, Dan argues for atheism and develops a humanistic ethical theory he calls “Empowerment Ethics”. Dan also teaches affordable, non-matriculated, video-conferencing philosophy classes on ethics, Nietzsche, historical philosophy, and philosophy for atheists that anyone around the world can sign up for. (You can learn more about Dan’s online classes here.) Dan is an APPA  (American Philosophical Practitioners Association) certified philosophical counselor who offers philosophical advice services to help people work through the philosophical aspects of their practical problems or to work out their views on philosophical issues. (You can read examples of Dan’s advice here.) Through his blogging, his online teaching, and his philosophical advice services each, Dan specializes in helping people who have recently left a religious tradition work out their constructive answers to questions of ethics, metaphysics, the meaning of life, etc. as part of their process of radical worldview change.

  • The Vicar

    No, you’re just about right, with one little exception: it’s not “if he had been an atheist”, it’s “if he had not been a Christian”.

    There was a man named Frankie Parker, who converted to Buddhism in prison. He requested — with the full backing of all sorts of officials, and even a lot of Christian clergy — that his death sentence be commuted to life imprisonment. Huckabee not only did not grant the commutation, he moved the execution date forward six weeks so that the guy would be killed sooner.

  • http://atheists-and-christians.blogspot.com/ Mike aka MonolithTMA

    This is awful. My only hope is that this will keep Huckabee the wanna be theocrat out of the whitehouse.

  • http://base8.lavenderliberal.com/ Buffy

    Christianity is one of the biggest scams and poxes ever perpetrated on humanity.

  • Cyrus

    Maybe it can be looked at like this: It so happens that when people have X, they tend on average (excluding outliers)to turn out ok. It doesn’t mean that people not X will not turn out ok. Now person in charge believes X makes people turn out ok, more often than not, because he has personal experience with X. It could be the case that Y,Z etc.. make people turn out ok more often than not, but he does not have the same verification.
    Now make X a Christian upbringing, then you may see Huck’s point. Now personally, I don’t like the guy and I think he sucks but please don’t use crusades and inquisition (outliers) to say most Christian raised people are not helpful members of society (especially since the south uses these values/religion to train people to be nice.
    But I could be wrong, he could be sitting there like Mr. Burns trying to kill non-Christians….

  • The Vicar

    Um, being Christian does NOT mean you tend on average to turn out to be ok, or at least no more than any other group in similar circumstances. The percentage of people with Atheist, Jewish, Islamic, or Jewish upbringing who become criminals in any given sociopolitical group is basically the same. The mistake is your (and, one presumes, Huckabee’s) assumption that Christians are somehow magically better than others.