I’m not sure what to make of this. From The Guardian:
A Florida judge has ruled that a diagnosed paranoid schizophrenic who believes he is the “Prince of God” and is convinced that he will be resurrected to sit for eternity at God’s right hand is sane and can put to death next week.
David Glant, a judge with Florida’s eighth circuit, has found that John Ferguson, 64, can be given lethal injections next Thursday despite a US supreme court injunction that prohibits executions of the insane. In his concluding remarks, the judge agrees with the prisoner’s defence lawyers that Ferguson is a paranoid schizophrenic who genuinely believes he is “Prince of God”.[...]
Astoundingly, the judge goes on to say that the prisoner’s “grandiose delusion” of himself as being akin to Jesus at the point of his resurrection is in fact “relatively normal Christian belief”. He writes: “There is no evidence that Ferguson’s belief as to his role in the world and what may happen to him in the afterlife is so significantly different from beliefs other Christians may hold so as to consider it a sign of insanity.”
There’s something I’m missing here. The judge agrees that the man is schizophrenic, which under established precedent means that he cannot be executed (legal minds can tell me I’m wrong, but I believe that’s the gist of it.) Yet because his schizophrenic delusion is not too far from common Christian experience or doctrine, then he’s not schizophrenic enough? I’m lost.
That last bit sounds like a zinger that an atheist would throw at a Christian, but it’s not a sound legal basis for declaring someone mentally fit enough to be held responsible for his actions.