Singing “Amazing Grace” Kelly Gissendaner Undergoes Pointless Blood Vengeance Killing by the State of Georgia

Nobody is safer.  Nothing but bloody vengeance was achieved.  Nothing has been deterred.  On the earthly scale of things, it was a worthless counter-productive killing of a penitent Christian who had been forgiven her sins by Jesus.

But from heaven’s perspective: “This day you shall be with me in paradise.”

Be *more* prolife.  Abolish the death penalty.  Leave it to Islamic and Communist butchers.

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  • ivan_the_mad

    Christ was executed by the state as well. In a very real way, she is united to His suffering on the cross. “For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.”

  • Maggie Goff

    They also told her children that they didn’t matter. We are going to kill her even though you are begging us not to. Pray for them.

  • Re_Actor
  • Re_Actor

    A word must be said on the full meaning of penalty. Most of the modern theories of penal law explain penalty and justify it in the final analysis as a means of protection, that is, defence of the community against criminal undertakings, and at the same time an attempt to bring the offender to observance of the law. In those theories, the penalty can include sanctions such as the diminution of some goods guaranteed by law, so as to teach the guilty to live honestly, but those theories fail to consider the expiation of the crime committed …

    Up to a certain point, it may be true that imprisonment and isolation, when properly applied, constitute the penalty most likely to effect a return of the wrongdoer to right order and life in the community. But it does not follow from this that imprisonment is the only just and effective punishment. Our remarks on international penal law on October 3, 1953, referring to the theory of retribution apply here. Many jurists, though not all, reject the concept of vindictive [retributive] punishment, even when it is to be accompanied by medicinal penalties. In our remarks, we declared that it would be incorrect to reject completely, and as a matter of principle, the function of vindictive punishment. While man is on earth, such punishment both can and should help towards his eternal salvation, provided he himself raises no obstacle to its salutary efficacy. The effectiveness of vindictive penalties is in no way opposed to the function of punishment, which is the re-establishment and restoration of the order of justice which has been disrupted, a function which we have already indicated as essential to all punishment.

    – Pope Pius XII

    • Andy

      [Punishment] ought not go to the extreme of executing the offender except in cases of absolute necessity: in other words, when it would not be possible otherwise to defend society. Today however, as a result of steady improvements in the organization of the penal system, such cases are very rare, if not practically non-existent. John Paul II, The Gospel of Life, [Punishment] ought not go to the extreme of executing the offender except in cases of absolute necessity: in other words, when it would not be possible otherwise to defend society. Today however, as a result of steady improvements in the organization of the penal system, such cases are very rare, if not practically non-existent.
      —John Paul II, The Gospel of Life (Evangelium Vitae), 1995.

      I would also ask us to recall that God did not execute Cain for killing Abel – he sent into exile and marked him lest anyone else kill him. The death penalty indicates that we can use an act of violence to overcome another act of violence which is not what Jesus taught. I think that we have moved to a stage where we can see that the death penalty is not a useful nor appropriate response.

      • Mike Petrik

        Of course I agree on all counts, but one might have to admit a relaxed understanding of “very rare” given the number of murders committed in or ordered from prison.

        • Andy

          I think that we need to address prison reform – we need to reduce the intense overcrowding in prisons, we need to now view prisoners as people with inherent worth and we need to see prison as both rehabilitative and restitution.retributive. If we do that then a relaxed understanding of “very rare” would be in order.

      • James Isabella

        First, let me share that I am not pro-death penalty, but when I read what you posted above…

        “[Punishment] ought not go to the extreme of executing the offender
        except in cases of absolute necessity: in other words, when it would not
        be possible otherwise to defend society.”

        I can’t help but wonder if the type of situation the pope was thinking about is something along the lines of what is happening in Mexico with their drug cartels.

        The cartels are incredibly violent, hard to catch because of corrupt police tipping them off, and when caught can often break out of jail. I can’t help but think that the death penalty might be warranted in their situations.

        • Andy

          I have no answer – the evil of the cartels is abhorrent I agree. It seems that maybe this what the Pope was thinking of, but I truly do not know – but even then I am reluctant still to impose the death penalty. I fear that anytime a government can decide life and death we move farther away from following the word of God, but that we are also devolving into a morass of secular power that most would/do not want.

        • kenofken

          That leaves you in the unenviable position of trusting a hopelessly dysfunctional and corrupt criminal justice system to administer the ultimate penalty. What you would see in short order is the conviction and execution of anyone who the cartels found inconvenient – rivals, honest official, journalists etc.

          Even to the extent the guilty faced justice, the deterrent effect is questionable. Nobody in the cartel business – street enforcer or kingpin – expects to die of old age, and virtually none do. They know they’re going to be killed sooner or later by rivals or a relative of one of their victims or the army. A state execution might hasten that day of reckoning, but deaths in the cartels, especially at the top, just create job openings for the next generation of thugs to move up.

          • http://chicagoboyz.net/ TMLutas

            When you have a hopelessly dysfunctional and corrupt criminal justice system a few questions have to be raised.
            1. Who made it that way? Generally, it’s the criminals, violent and non-violent.
            2. How extensive is the problem? Generally it is pervasive, throughout the entire process and taints all punishments.

            A corrupt system that kills innocent and guilty but also lets the guilty go with the application of sufficient money to go kill again is not a pleasant prospect. At that point, the only sure mode to reduce future death is to use the death penalty, judicially or extra-judicially.

      • Re_Actor

        I would also ask us to recall that God did not execute Cain for killing Abel – he sent into exile and marked him lest anyone else kill him.

        God also gave His sanction to Noah to execute the death penalty.

        • Andy

          I thought it was God who mandated the death penalty, in the Old Testament, and and other than murder we don’t use the death penalty for the other six so should we now use the death penalty for the other five. Also Jesus was pretty clear about forgiveness and all that – so do we follow the Old Testament or what Jesus taught?

          • chezami

            Not “mandated”. Permitted.

            • Andy

              Thank you for the correction – the problem with responding from memory.

    • AquinasMan

      I quoted this not two weeks ago, but the fact is, the pope, with the force of his authority, speaking on a grave matter of faith and morals, clearly called for the abolishment of the death penalty. Whether or not Pius XII and every pope before him approved of or advocated capital punishment, we need to be docile to what the Vicar of Christ (and his two predecessors) have been calling for. I understand it’s “open to debate”, but that works both ways, and that means we have to try to form our conscience around the teaching of Francis. It’s not the same as potentially reversing a bedrock teaching on marriage.

      And I had made a snarky comment about all the prisoner-to-prisoner executions that take place behind the walls, but it’s probably not far from the truth that an extension of the pro-life attitude should eventually be directed toward protecting prisoners from each other. I never understood why it’s wrong to put someone to death, but prison rape is just “part of the deal.” But first things first. We need to get rid of the death penalty.

      • Re_Actor

        I quoted this not two weeks ago, but the fact is, the pope, with the force of his authority, speaking on a grave matter of faith and morals, clearly called for the abolishment of the death penalty. Whether or not Pius XII and every pope before him approved of or advocated capital punishment, we need to be docile to what the Vicar of Christ (and his two predecessors) have been calling for. I understand it’s “open to debate”, but that works both ways, and that means we have to try to form our conscience around the teaching of Francis.

        In all seriousness, I have to ask what exactly docility means here.

        If you compare my Pius XII quotations with those of John Paul II quoted by Andy, one thing becomes immediately apparent — the latter is not a refinement, enrichment or development of the former. In talking about punishment, both make reference to the defence of society; Pius XII also makes reference to potential rehabilitation of the wrongdoer. Let’s call these respectively functions A and B of punishment.

        Now if Pius XII had said “capital punishment is necessary in certain cases to ensure functions A and B are fulfilled”, then John Paul’s teaching could be seen as being in continuity with Pius’. Since Our Lord did not found a theocracy, a secular Catholic ruler would be within his rights to disagree with John Paul’s opinion that unspecified “improvements in the organization of the penal system” had rendered the death penalty unnecessary; but he would surely be bound to accept the principle that such improvements, should they ever come about, would indeed render it unnecessary and therefore inadmissible.

        But Pius doesn’t just talk about functions A and B. He also talks about function X — expiation — which, he makes clear, can override considerations of functions A and B. Even if a given punishment fails to achieve A and B, or if a lesser punishment is sufficient to achieve them, it would not follow that the punishment would be inadmissible — because there would remain the need to fulfil X.

        JPII does not mention function X. Therefore it cannot be argued that Pius’ teaching is merely JPII’s teaching in embryo — there is an implicit contradiction here. And this is amplified in Pope Francis’ utterances.

        To be sure, you are perfectly entitled to believe JPII & Francis are right here, that their teaching represents real moral progress over the position taken by Pius. But in that case you are saying Pius was wrong. He hadn’t simply travelled less distance along the same road; he had taken a wrong turning and was heading in the wrong direction.

        So you are implicitly acknowledging that a pope can be wrong on such a grave matter as the death penalty. In which case, I am perfectly entitled to believe that JPII and Francis are the ones who are wrong and Pius got it right. Why not?

        So what does “docility” mean in this context? That I’m free to disagree with Francis but mustn’t do so publicly? That I’m free to express disagreement publicly so long as I do so in a sufficiently respectful and non-polemical manner? And what about the realm of action? If it was my job to administer the death penalty would I be obliged to resign my job rather than execute a criminal, regardless of my opinions on the matter?

        • Tom G

          I share your uncertainties.

        • Sue Korlan

          Jesus died in expiation of all our sins.

          • Re_Actor

            Jesus also instituted a Sacrament of Penance in which contrition confession and satisfaction are required for absolution. So expiatory acts on our part are necessary if we are to benefit from His perfect and sufficient sacrifice.

            • Sue Korlan

              We can’t provide satisfaction for our sins. Even one small sin against God is so evil, if we could see it properly, that no amount of satisfaction on our part could ever be sufficient satisfaction for even the smallest of our sins. The best we can do is to show that we are truly sorry by doing the penance the priest gives us. But the satisfaction for our sins was given by Jesus on the cross.

              • Re_Actor

                True, all our penances are necessarily insufficient. That doesn’t mean they can’t be required or can’t be meritorious.

      • http://chicagoboyz.net/ TMLutas

        The Pope, when applying an eternal moral law should be listened to and we should generally obey (be docile) on the matter. But that is not what is happening. The Pope is applying an eternal moral law in combination with an assertion of fact (that alternatives nearly always exist). It is our duty to ensure that the facts actually are as the Popes are saying that they are because on factual matters, Popes do not have divine protection against error. It is right and just to check their work.

        Protecting prisoners from each other is not just a to do item on a list. It is a major component in checking the papacy’s work product. Every murder committed as a repeat offense by a murderer in prison is a counter-argument to the papacy’s current position on the death penalty.

    • Sue Korlan

      Vengeance is mine, says the Lord, and I will repay. We are not God and shouldn’t try to put ourselves in His place.

  • AquinasMan

    You know the pope has struck a chord when FOX starts questioning the death penalty.

  • http://www.pavelspoetry.com/ Pavel Chichikov

    I hadn’t followed this present case, but I have had my own experience, in which someone I knew well was executed in the Soviet Union, a state which became defunct a few years after the execution.

    I remember leaving the SU after one of my visits and with the execution in mind telling a fellow passenger, who was a booster of that state: I hate this effing country. I didn’t use a euphemism. And I felt a genuine, sincere deep anger against that state because of that execution.

    The matter was different, but I was surprised by my own rage against the sentence.

    I think capital punishment should only be carried out if there is no other way of protecting society against a criminal. Period. Nor does vindictive execution do anything but dishonor the victims by killing in their name.

    • http://chicagoboyz.net/ TMLutas

      To make that case is a reasonable and honorable approach. Unfortunately Mark assumed that the killing was vindictive, the killer’s repentance was real, there were alternative approaches with a high enough success rate to eliminate the danger of repetition, all things that might be true but Mark didn’t care enough to *demonstrate* were true. In a medium where sophisticated arguments the world over are only a link away, not bothering to demonstrate and going straight to shaming is not ok. The horrifying prospect is raised that *nobody* cared enough to actually make the argument since 1998 when she received her sentence and both her and her husband are just grist for the anti-death penalty movement’s mill.

  • Jim Harris

    Islamic and Communist butchers. Is that how Christians talk?

    • chezami

      It is when Muslim and Communist nations preserve the savagery of capital punishment, as they do.

      • Jim Harris

        Yeeha, let’s go to war. jesus would be proud

        • Jim Harris

          The world is a mess. Let’s at least work towards healing it one step at a time. We will never stop the violence by name-calling, but rather by setting examples in our own lives.

  • http://chicagoboyz.net/ TMLutas

    This woman was unfaithful to her husband and instead of divorcing him and leaving with her lover, convinced the lover to waylay the man and kill him. She apparently helped with the killing cleanup in the woods where her husband was beaten and stabbed to death. All this was done because in a divorce, the man would have retained his life insurance and she wanted that money.

    I know not this woman or any reform or grace she may have subsequently undergone after these events. But there is no room for a discussion of whether the death penalty is justified in a particular case without confronting the murderous act and considering whether the risk of a future repeat of this crime means that the death penalty is justified in this case. It is simply not right to skip over the analysis.

    In this case, the risk seems obvious enough. She may decide somebody else needs to die and at the time retain her persuasive abilities to convince somebody to do the deed for her. The state pays people to judge these sorts of dangers. They were appealed to and the appeals were denied. Saying that a pointless vengeance was what happened is an accusation that they did not do their job correctly. Maybe so, but a bald, unsupported statement to that effect without the slightest effort to actually prove this is the case is not just.

    • chezami

      Kill! Kill! Kill! No mercy! Repentance is irrelevant. Better the penitent should die than that we be cheated of the blood of sinner shed in vengeance. Kill! Kill! Kill!

      • Jim the Scott

        Well time to get banned.

        >Kill! Kill! Kill! No mercy! Repentance is irrelevant. Better the penitent should die than that we be cheated of the blood of sinner shed in vengeance. Kill! Kill! Kill!

        That is a childish & anti-intellectual response.
        What TMLutas said was reasonable. Even if it where not correct it was still reasonable & thus can ONLY be counterred by another rational argument.

        You didn’t offer that just base ridicule.

        I don’t know Mark sometimes you display a ridged black and white mentality that would put the most legalistic Radtrad, Remnant reader or fundie to shame.

        Will you ever change?

        • http://chicagoboyz.net/ TMLutas

          One of the most impressive things I’ve seen about Mark is that he *doesn’t* generally ban for responses like yours. Thank you for your support.

          • Jim the Scott

            BTW for the record it’s not intrinsically wrong for the State to execute that woman since it is clear she committed a capital crime and proportionatly her death is just retribution for her crime. Contrary to myth from right wing anti-JP2 fanatics and anti-death penalty fanatics St. JP2 DID NOT do away with the retribution principle.

            Could she have been shown mercy? Yes but she wasn’t given her circumstances owed it. She clearly died repentant and that is a good thing and she was given sufficient time to repent. Unlike Tyrants like Ivan the Terrible who actually forbade his condemned prisoners from confessing before death or even for people to pray for them because he wanted to intrude into God’s territory and try to damn the person. If I recall the pagan play Antigone a ruler who tries to step into the realm of Divine Justice gets smacked down from above.

      • http://chicagoboyz.net/ TMLutas

        The murder victim (the husband) was a normal human being who no doubt touched lives like a regular joe does throughout his time on the planet. His loss created a population of people who suffered at his killing. Those are the people who are hurt by your sloppy approach. Some of us feel sympathy for them and insist that when you make the case for mercy that it’s complete enough not to feel like a stab in the back to those people who still feel the unjustified loss of Mr. Gissander. Because as the sun rises up in the east, the sloppy approach generates an entirely predictable media article about the forgotten real victim. An excellent christian who is educated in and exercises the virtue of mercy raises the proposed treatment of Mrs. Gissander up to a level that Mr. Gissander should have had. If you raise her up higher than Mr. Gissander, you’ve gone too far and are unnecessarily causing pain.

        So don’t forget the murder victim in your appeal for mercy of the murderer. It makes your appeal much more authentically Catholic and much more effective. If that reads like “Kill! Kill! Kill!” to you, you need a mental health break from blogging, even if for just an hour. You’ve been in the trenches too long.