It is one of the weird ironies of our culture that, when it comes to the death penalty, so many “prolife” Americans will drop their quarrel with AG Loretta Lynch (who loves death in all its forms, especially abortion) and cheer for her stumping on behalf of killing the Boston Bomber:
“We know all too well that no verdict can heal the souls of those who lost loved ones, nor the minds and bodies of those who suffered life-changing injuries from this cowardly attack. But the ultimate penalty is a fitting punishment for this horrific crime and we hope that the completion of this prosecution will bring some measure of closure to the victims and their families.” —U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch
However, lust for death for both babies and criminals, while at least being consistent, is not really the optimal goal for the prolife movement. Rather, the sanctity of human life is. And human life is sacred, not because it is cute, nor even because it is innocent, but because, innocent or guilty, human beings are made in the image and likeness of God and–despite our guilt as authors of the passion and death of the Son of God–he wills our good and loves us. Indeed, God commends his love to us in that, while we were yet sinners guilty of Christ’s death, Christ died for us, the righteous for the unrighteous.
So *real* consistency is not being eager to bring to death to all, innocent and guilty, but seeking to spare all. It is asking not, “When do we get to kill?” but “When do we *have* to kill and seeking with all our heart to avoid it if possible.
This guy, an Evangelical, gets that. And so does Elie Wiesel who, if anybody has a right in this world to clamor for the death penalty, is that guy what with the horrors he endured at the hand of Nazi butchers in Buchenwald. Yet Wiesel destroys the worldly wisdom of those whose arguments begin, “But surely, you would agree that Nazis should be executed…” by saying:
“With every cell of my being, and with every fiber of my memory, I oppose the death penalty in all forms … I do not believe any civilized society should be at the service of death. I don’t think it’s human to become an Angel of Death.”
The Church is clear. Don’t kill unless you absolutely have to. We don’t have to kill this kid. Therefore, we must not kill this kid. It will heal nothing, help nothing, accomplish nothing. It will be an act of vengeance, not justice.