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Author Topic: Pro-Life & Anti-Death Penalty  (Read 9879 times) Average Rating: 0
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Jakub
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« on: October 26, 2004, 04:36:53 PM »

Someone correct me, I don't know if this question is covered by the Political Ban but.....
has anybody noticed by alot of Pro-Life people are Pro- Death Penalty ?

I know the Church of Rome is against the Death Penalty but have not seen much from the Orthodox point of view.

james
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« Reply #1 on: October 26, 2004, 04:52:48 PM »

Can't speak for the Orthodox, but in general I'm pro-life (against abortion/euthanasia) and pro-death penalty (but with reservations).
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« Reply #2 on: October 26, 2004, 05:00:03 PM »

Quote
I know the Church of Rome is against the Death Penalty but have not seen much from the Orthodox point of view.

I have heard in one of Pope John Pauls more recent encyclicals that he talks about the death penalty issue. He admitted that there are rare times that a government may have justification in using the death penalty.
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« Reply #3 on: October 26, 2004, 05:19:45 PM »

Nacho,

The RCCC #2267, last paragraph states,"Today in fact, as a consequence of the possibilities which the state has for the effectively preventing crime, by rendering one who has committed an offense incapable of doing harm, without definitively taking away from him the possibility of redeeming himself, the cases in which the execution of the offender is an absolute necessity are very rare, if not practically non-existent".

james
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« Reply #4 on: October 26, 2004, 05:39:03 PM »

To me pro-life means just that...abortion, the death penalty, euthanasia, unjust wars...the whole ball o'wax.
"Pro-life" isn't an abstraction to me; I left a job at a large medical center( a level 3 trauma center) for a small suburban hospital which has less possibilities for promotion and learning oppurtunites so as not be involved in abortion even indirectly. Oh, yeah, and I had to take a pay cut also (always nice).
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« Reply #5 on: October 26, 2004, 06:47:34 PM »

Crucifer,

I am one Orthodox who agrees with your "whole ball of wax".

Demetri
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« Reply #6 on: October 26, 2004, 07:00:37 PM »

I've always thought during the times of war & conflict, a "Devils Brigade" for offenders would be a good means of redemption. Of course these select offenders would have to volunteer and have sincerity in their request for redemption. At the moment I can't think of other applications.

james
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« Reply #7 on: October 26, 2004, 07:18:57 PM »

As a Christian, a Christian Orthodox, I am uncomfortable with labells, 'of the this or that party. I am a Christian. My values stem from that. These contemporary groupings appear often to be as much about 'me' and 'not me'.

From earliest times abortion has been upheld as something we must not do. If you have read the Didache, Our Lord is quoted there as specifically speaking against this grave sin. But one does not need to belong to some party of grouping so to believe, but to accept the teaching handed down to us.

As to the death penalty. I am neither for it nor against it. (Although some have heard me advocate the ultimate penalty for non-disabled motorists who park in dedicated spaces for those with disabilities).

God gives civil authorities the responsibility to restrain the lawless and lawbreakers. I find no problem with this, provided only it is done justly and, where appropriate, with mercy. To draw comfort from my local authority  strongly implementing the death penalty or being dead set against it would not concern me. What would concern me was whether it was effective in restraining the lawless and lawbreakers, whether it protected the weak and the vunerable, and whether it tempered justice with mercy, were appropriate.

Like much in civil life many politicians and those with strong political views appear - I believe - to confuse activity with action. If my civil authority executes more villians than any other civil authority but fails to control or reduce murder and violent crime, the death penalty appears not an act that one can defend before the Almighty. And if another civil authority is dead set against the death penalty and fails to control and reduce murder or violent crime then it too not too act in a way that may be defended before God. Of course, the political classes in either case will construct rationale's that turn such failure of their responsibility into anything but. If the voters think they like it of course they will keep on executing or not executing, regardless.

For others the death penalty appears to be linked to some reprehensible Old Testament 'eye for an eye' redneck mentality. Yet, this was a constraint to ensure the prevention of excessive and disproportionate punishment. Quite progressive in those times, I suspect.

Elements of the various camps on any and all these viewpoints appear to have beliefs and attitudes alien to Christianity, and as such I am simply a Christian.
« Last Edit: October 26, 2004, 07:19:52 PM by gphadraig » Logged

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« Reply #8 on: October 26, 2004, 08:47:20 PM »

I am very Orthodox and Pro-Life and anti-death penalty.  I believe a person guilty of murder should be put away for their natural life.

I think most pro-death penalty folks would come to my way of thinking if they knew for sure that these characters would be kept in jail their entire life.  We are not talking self defence and manslaughter cases here. We are talking cold blooded murder cases.

There are bad people in this world and should be treated accordingly.

JoeS'

//Someone correct me, I don't know if this question is covered by the Political Ban but.....
has anybody noticed by alot of Pro-Life people are Pro- Death Penalty ?

I know the Church of Rome is against the Death Penalty but have not seen much from the Orthodox point of view.

james//


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« Reply #9 on: October 26, 2004, 10:30:31 PM »

In 1989, the OCA passed a resolution stating, "BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Ninth All-American Council of the Orthodox Church in America supports the abolition of the death penalty in this and all countries and does urge our elected and appointed officials in those states where prisoners are still executed to introduce and support appropriate legislation aimed at abolishing the death penalty."
http://www.deathpenaltyreligious.org/education/statements/orthodox.html

The Orthodox Church has been unequivocably pro-life, though you'll occasionally come across a small number of Orthodox of a pro-choice slant who'll say the Church is mistaken.  Not very often, but they are there.  A few tares in the wheat, you can say.

I'm both pro-life and anti-death penalty.  Besides my desire to adhere to the Church's teachings, there are a few important reasons why I'm against the death penalty:

1. It's not carried out perfectly.  We don't need to rely on anecdotal evidence; we know for a fact that innocent people are being sent to death row because they are routinely being let out due to new DNA evidence.  I don't know of anyone who can reasonably argue that the death penalty is a worthy endeavor if even one innocent person is killed wrongly.  Perhaps the government can be right about 75% of time and this is ok when it's building bridges and putting out forest fires, but it's an unacceptable percentage when the life of a citizen is at stake.

2. It forever closes off a person from 'turning' to Christ.

3.  And most importantly, we have a perfect example of someone wrongly killed by the death penalty - Jesus.  If it happened to Him, it can happen to anyone one of us.

As far as war is concerned, it's a mixed picture.  You can find Church Fathers like St. Basil who say wars of justice and defense of religion are permitted.  Orthodox monks and priests fought against the Germans in Crete in WWII, and there is a monument near the Prevali Monastery of Abbot Agathangelos Lagouvardos holding a gun (www.preveli.org).
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« Reply #10 on: October 26, 2004, 10:38:11 PM »

When God gave Moses the laws for the Israelites, He knew what He was doing. And there are quite a few instances in Scripture where it says that whoever does so and so  should be put to death. And those particular instances go way beyond what our courts practise. Why was God pro death penalty?

I think God is and always has been very pro-life - don't you think?
And He is also very anti-death - Christ's redeeming sacrifice being the epitome of that.
Yet at the same time we read in 2.Peter 2:9-17 those very noteworthy words:

Quote
9.  The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished:
 10.  But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous are they, selfwilled, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities.
 11.  Whereas angels, which are greater in power and might, bring not railing accusation against them before the Lord.
 12.  But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption;
 13.  And shall receive the reward of unrighteousness, as they that count it pleasure to riot in the day time. Spots they are and blemishes, sporting themselves with their own deceivings while they feast with you;
 14.  Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children:
 15.  Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness;
 16.  But was rebuked for his iniquity: the dumb ass speaking with man's voice forbad the madness of the prophet.
 17.  These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever.

If we live in a society and culture that follows "Godly standards", death penalty would not and should not be necessary, even if it was part of the law of the land.

If we live in a society and culture where the name of God Most High is a curse word and even the children at school get reprimanded for using the name above all names, then the death penalty in itself is no remedy for the situation and becomes an instrument of a lawless and morally corrupt legislature.

Scripture says very clearly in Romans 13:1-5 what to think of worldly authority:

"1.  Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.
 2.  Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.
 3.  For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:
 4.  For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.
 5.  Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake."



Shiloah -  against abortion and wishing there would be no such offenses committed that "qualify" for death penalty in  those states of our nation where death penalty is applied.




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« Reply #11 on: October 26, 2004, 10:44:30 PM »

I believe that I agree with gphadraig here. Certainly there is no question as to abortion. When it comes to the death penalty, I really don't lean one way or the other strongly, but think it is a matter to be dealt with by the civil government. When one reads about some of the punishments handed out by Emporer Saints (Constantine, Theodosius, Justinian, etc.) and "Christian governments" like Byzantium, I think one will find it harder to criticize our modern governments for doing something as "drastic" as putting someone to death for raping someone and then killing them. I don't want to come out exactly "pro death penalty" here, but I'll also mention that if we are going to say that being pro-life and pro-death-penalty is contradictory, we will be judging a lot of saintly people down through the ages.
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« Reply #12 on: October 26, 2004, 11:07:05 PM »

I am an Orthodox Christian who is pro-life (in reference to abortion and euthanasia) and anti-death penalty. I do, however, support the right of a nation-state to defend itself militarily, provided that every possible care is taken to protect innocent life on both sides.
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« Reply #13 on: October 26, 2004, 11:25:11 PM »

Being pro-life and pro-death penalty isn't contradictory, because the death penalty is for guilty people, whereas a foetus is innocent.  It's just not in the same category.  I myself am pro-life and pro-death penalty.  "Whoever shed's man's blood, by man's hand his blood shall be shed."
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« Reply #14 on: October 27, 2004, 12:01:04 AM »

It does require some serious thought, especially when a person says he/she is pro-life and professes to be a follower of Christ.

james

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« Reply #15 on: October 27, 2004, 12:34:44 AM »

Crucifer,

I am one Orthodox who agrees with your "whole ball of wax".

Demetri

As do I.

Quote
In 1989, the OCA passed a resolution stating, "BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Ninth All-American Council of the Orthodox Church in America supports the abolition of the death penalty in this and all countries and does urge our elected and appointed officials in those states where prisoners are still executed to introduce and support appropriate legislation aimed at abolishing the death penalty."
www.deathpenaltyreligious.org/...s/orthodox.html

Wonderful!

Quote
I'm both pro-life and anti-death penalty.  Besides my desire to adhere to the Church's teachings, there are a few important reasons why I'm against the death penalty:

And they are good ones.

Quote
Being pro-life and pro-death penalty isn't contradictory, because the death penalty is for guilty people, whereas a foetus is innocent.  It's just not in the same category.  I myself am pro-life and pro-death penalty.  "Whoever shed's man's blood, by man's hand his blood shall be shed."

We're not under that anymore.  We're not to repay evil with evil.  As Shiloah referenced, God will repay the evil man; we are not to do so.
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« Reply #16 on: October 27, 2004, 12:42:23 AM »

Another question is, how does a government expect to teach it's citizens that killing is wrong by killing?  The death penalty isn't about taking criminals out of circulation effectively.  If it was, it wouldn't cost more than putting them away for life.  It's about vengeance.  In some people's eyes, vengeance is justice.  In my eyes, as an Orthodox Christian, it's sinful, as vengeance is not a virture I'm tought by my Creator to pursue.  Even if the death penalty continues to exist, the virtuous option is to forgive the offender and at least try to give him his life, even if spent behind bars.  To insist upon the death penalty for the satisfaction of a vendetta is nowhere near Orthodox.  And to top it all off, there's so much DNA evidence coming to light that's revealing the faultiness of the death penalty system that it proves the system's fallibility.  And I don't think, as an Orthodox Christian, that I want to support a system of state-sanctioned termination of human life, particularly one that has problems with accidentally killing innocent people.
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« Reply #17 on: October 27, 2004, 12:44:34 AM »

The death penalty isn't about taking criminals out of circulation effectively.  If it was, it wouldn't cost more than putting them away for life.  It's about vengeance.  In some people's eyes, vengeance is justice.  In my eyes, as an Orthodox Christian, it's sinful, as vengeance is not a virture I'm tought by my Creator to pursue.

Yes, exactly.
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« Reply #18 on: October 27, 2004, 01:30:03 AM »

Another question is, how does a government expect to teach it's citizens that killing is wrong by killing?  The death penalty isn't about taking criminals out of circulation effectively.  If it was, it wouldn't cost more than putting them away for life.  It's about vengeance.  

Hm, did not know that.  I thought it was more expensive to keep them alive, you know, crowding jails and having to build more, etc., so it was just *easier* and more *cost effective* to just end them.  I could also see the family of one killed saying "i'll be d@#%ed if I'm paying to keep this b@$%&^ alive."
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« Reply #19 on: October 27, 2004, 03:07:13 AM »

I'm still for the death penalty, but with much reservation. I think it should be reserved for the few monsters in society such as serial murderers that have nothing but evil in thier heart. People like that deserve what's coming to them, and in those cases I think the state is justified in making a few good examples of these kind of people for the good of the public. I still haven't seen enough historical evidence that would merit the Church to declare the death penalty an evil because good people throughout history have been on both sides of the issue. What we should all be concentrating on is the abortion problem, that by far outweights anything thousands of times over because this intrinsic evil has become so accepted that people in the Church are actually supporting organizations/groups/political parties that perpetuate this even more which is  truely sad  :'(
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« Reply #20 on: October 27, 2004, 03:29:17 AM »

Quote
It's about vengeance.

Actually, it's about Scripture and Tradition. Ad hominem is exactly the reason that I don't get into these types of discussions. That, and the fact that I used to debate this with theonomists and they always condemned me for not wanting to put homosexuals and others to death. What a discussion to get tangled in!
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« Reply #21 on: October 27, 2004, 09:17:43 AM »

Quote
Hm, did not know that.  I thought it was more expensive to keep them alive, you know, crowding jails and having to build more, etc., so it was just *easier* and more *cost effective* to just end them.  I could also see the family of one killed saying "i'll be d@#%ed if I'm paying to keep this b@$%&^ alive."


A Duke University study found... "The death penalty costs North Carolina $2.16 million per execution over the costs of a non-death penalty murder case with a sentence of imprisonment for life." ( The costs of processing murder cases in North Carolina / Philip J. Cook, Donna B. Slawson ; with the assistance of Lori A. Gries. [Durham, NC] : Terry Sanford Institute of Public Policy, Duke University, 1993.)

"The death penalty costs California $90 million annually beyond the ordinary costs of the justice system - $78 million of that total is incurred at the trial level." (Sacramento Bee, March 18, 1988).

"A 1991 study of the Texas criminal justice system estimated the cost of appealing capital murder at $2,316,655. In contrast, the cost of housing a prisoner in a Texas maximum security prison single cell for 40 years is estimated at $750,000." (Punishment and the Death Penalty, edited by Robert M. Baird and Stuart E. Rosenbaum 1995 p.109 )

"Florida spent an estimated $57 million on the death penalty from 1973 to 1988 to achieve 18 executions - that is an average of $3.2 million per execution."
(Miami Herald, July 10, 1988).

"Florida calculated that each execution there costs some $3.18 million. If incarceration is estimated to cost $17000/year, a comparable statistic for life in prison of 40 years would be $680,000."
(The Geography of Execution... The Capital Punishment Quagmire in America, Keith Harries and Derral Cheatwood 1997 p.6)

Figures from the General Accounting Office are close to these results. Total annual costs for all U.S. Prisons, State and Federal, was $17.7 billion in 1994 along with a total prison population of 1.1 million inmates. That amounts to $16100 per inmate/year.
(GOA report and testimony FY-97 GGD-97-15 )

(source: The Economics of Capital Punishment)
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« Reply #22 on: October 27, 2004, 09:38:41 AM »

Wow.  I don't really understand why it would be so expensive to execute someone.  What, are they getting these potassium injections off the black market? Huh

At any rate, if it is more "cost effective" to keep them in jail for life, then yes, i'll have to agree that it just seems unnecessary to execute them.  If they're in jail for life, then they're not out doing these atrocities anymore, same effect as killing them except obviously more charitable.  I don't see how anyone benefits from the death of another person.
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« Reply #23 on: October 27, 2004, 09:54:48 AM »

One reason why it costs more is because of the time and energy involved in the apellate process, which is the only protection someone convicted of a capital crime and sentenced to death has against an aberrant miscarriage of justice.  I've read that nearly half of the death penalty cases reviewed under federal habeaus corpus provisions are overturned, or at least the death penalty was overturned.

The fact that there have been people in recent years wrongly executed or even on death row who have been innocent shows, at least to me, that the system isn't foolproof enough.  If just one innocent person dies at the hands of the state, that, too, is murder most cold, but who brings justice to the family of the decedent?  Aside from the financial cost, that is my main objection to the death penalty.  I simply don't trust the state to be right 100 percent of the time and without that assurance, I can't, in good conscience, support the death penalty for even the most egregious offenders.
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« Reply #24 on: October 27, 2004, 10:26:38 AM »

No abortion (except in some... very rare cases).
No death penalty....

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« Reply #25 on: October 27, 2004, 10:44:01 AM »

From my experience in prison ministry I can say that this whole topic is a very heart wrenching one. We deal with human beings who have gone wrong and who have committed all kinds of at times very bad things against others, be it adults or children.  The question is: Why? Why does someone commit a certain crime? And if it is not drug related, why does someone steal, kill and destroy? Does that ring a bell?

Look at what St.Paul has to say in this regard. He says to the Ephesians (Eph.2:1-5; emphasis added)

" And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;
 2.  Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: 3.  Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
 4.  But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,
 5.  Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) ..."

If we as a nation do not support the things of God and of His Christ, then we are helpers of what St.John calls "antichrist" in his letters (1.John 2:22 and 4:3 and 2.John 1:6-7). If we do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as the incarnate Son of God and do not teach and train our society, adults and children, in His precepts, then we cater to the lawless one and you are free to call it whatever you want.

In any case, we then not only open the door to demons, but we also reap what we - as a corporate body of a people - sow.

Although we are all born sinners, nobody is born a murderer, nobody is born a rapist, nobody is born a thief or a robber, but ask yourself, what was missing in such a person's life that they became that criminal?

Look at Moses, for a moment. Moses was a murderer. He killed a person in cold anger. Why? Because he saw another human being suffer. Because he was confronted with the evil of an un-Godly society. If they had brought moses to justice for his crime, well, thank God He had other plans. But, what I am saying is, if they had brought moses to justice and killed him in revenge, that would not have changed the Egyptian un-Godliness.

Killing offenders with the death penalty is like treating symptoms of a disease rather than taking care of its root cause.

As long as we are Christians we have the ministry of reconciliation - reconciling people to God. But for a non-Christian society and government and judicial system, this mandate does not apply.

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« Reply #26 on: October 27, 2004, 10:57:31 AM »

Off topic but related:

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« Reply #27 on: October 27, 2004, 01:10:46 PM »

I'm prolife and anti-death penalty. Humans are not God, therefore we don't have the right to end ones life. period.
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« Reply #28 on: October 27, 2004, 01:13:01 PM »

FYI if you think the courts are protecting the rights of people sentenced to death, there was a case a few years ago where the defense attorney slept throughout the entire trial.  The defendant was convicted and sentenced to death.  He appealed his conviction on the grounds that he did not have adequate counsel.  His conviction was upheld.  
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« Reply #29 on: October 27, 2004, 03:06:21 PM »

I'm prolife and anti-death penalty. Humans are not God, therefore we don't have the right to end ones life. period.

Then why did God authorize man to use capital punishment in Genesis 9 (and this was before the Mosaic law)?  Why did Paul in Romans 13 call the government officials God's "ministers" who "do not wield the sword in vain"?  It seems that at least through stretches of history God "delegated" His authority to man to take the lives of those guilty of murder.  Even Christ acknowledged to Pilate that God had given him such authority.
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« Reply #30 on: October 27, 2004, 03:24:08 PM »

Just because God gave man authority to do it that doesn't mean he has to exercise it.  Penal science has progressed quite a bit since the time of Christ.  We can now put people away where they will do no harm to society ever again in a manner that will cost the taxpayer less.  

Perhaps my own non-fear of my mortality colors my views on this.  For myself, I really would rather die than have my freedom taken away from me to the point where I am only allowed to leave the confines of my little room once a day for an hour.  

I really don't want to see innocent people killed by the State because of an abberation in the judicial process.  That is what scares me the most.
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« Reply #31 on: October 27, 2004, 03:44:32 PM »

Although we are all born sinners

This is news to me. According to the Orthodox Faith we are most expressedly NOT born sinners.  We inherit death from Adam, but not his guilt or anyone else's.  The idea that we are BORN sinners, that sin is an intrinsic part of human nature is Augustinianism, not the Orthodox Faith.
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« Reply #32 on: October 27, 2004, 05:11:34 PM »

Quote
Then why did God authorize man to use capital punishment in Genesis 9 (and this was before the Mosaic law)?  Why did Paul in Romans 13 call the government officials God's "ministers" who "do not wield the sword in vain"?  It seems that at least through stretches of history God "delegated" His authority to man to take the lives of those guilty of murder.  Even Christ acknowledged to Pilate that God had given him such authority.

Good points & I agree. As I stated before, I think it's obvious that God gave the state this authority. I believe a state should have this as an option to exercise, but I think it should be used in very rare situations. It should be used for monsters like serial killers, or people like Sadam Hussein or Osama Bin Ladin & his minions who deserve it.
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« Reply #33 on: October 27, 2004, 05:59:37 PM »

Then why did God authorize man to use capital punishment in Genesis 9 (and this was before the Mosaic law)?  Why did Paul in Romans 13 call the government officials God's "ministers" who "do not wield the sword in vain"?  It seems that at least through stretches of history God "delegated" His authority to man to take the lives of those guilty of murder.  Even Christ acknowledged to Pilate that God had given him such authority.

All right: Genesis 9, yes, that's saying that what goes around comes around...but at the hands of which man?  Doesn't specify at all.  Government?  Vigilante on a vendetta?  Who sheds the blood in retribution?  Or is it rather a variation of Christ's "if you live by the sword, you die by the sword" as a natural outcome of a violent life?  God said that man would, as a natural consequence, die if he ate from the tree--not that God would kill him.  So too, I think, is Scripture only going so far as to say that, if a man sheds another man's blood (and does this extend even to non-mortal bloodshed?  It seems to!) he will meet the same fate...not that a ruling governing body will collectively decide to execute the man.  That's nowhere in the text.

But if we're using pre-Mosaic stuff here, a question: why did God not kill Cain for what he did to Abel?  Why, indeed, did God even go so far as to put a mark on Cain that would keep other men from doing so?  Is this a divine endorsement of mercy towards murderers, giving them chances to repent?  I won't say definitively yes, but it's something to consider, in light of the "a life for a life" mentality.

Mosaic Law: We can't use OT law on ourselves.  If we're going to use the OT law as a standard, we have to be consistent.  When was the last time anyone killed a young man or woman for being disrespectful to his/her parents?  Or for committing adultery?  Or for committing (forgive the bluntness) beastiality?  These are all things deserving of death, according to the Torah, yet none are touted by the pro-death penalty Christian right as reasons for use of the death penalty.  

Romans 13 isn't a call for the death penalty either; not necessarily:

Quote
v. 4:
For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.

To execute WRATH, not execute the person.  In other words, if someone does something evil, the rulers have the God-given right to intervene, discipline and punish him or her.  No mention or endorsement of the death penalty is specifically made here.  Rather it is read into it by those who see the death penalty as the ultimate justice for someone being killed, with a similar idea of Gen. 9 in mind, no doubt.

The problem with this, though, is this: what if we're wrong?  How about, what do we do when we're wrong?  When we shed the blood of a man who didn't shed a man's blood?  The Israelites had supernatural insight as to who was guilty; we have no such guarantee...another reason we in secular America have no right to take the life of another into our hands.
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« Reply #34 on: October 27, 2004, 07:59:03 PM »

Although we are all born sinners

This is news to me. According to the Orthodox Faith we are most expressedly NOT born sinners.  We inherit death from Adam, but not his guilt or anyone else's.  The idea that we are BORN sinners, that sin is an intrinsic part of human nature is Augustinianism, not the Orthodox Faith.

I was thinking along the lines of Matth.19:16-17 and Rom.5:12 "And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?
 17.  And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments."

"12.  Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:"

I am not a theologian. Please explain to me what the Orthodox faith teaches about being born sinless. And thank you kindly,
Shiloah

Just found another Scripture reference in John 9:34 "34.  They answered and said unto him, Thou wast altogether born in sins, and dost thou teach us? And they cast him out."
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« Reply #35 on: October 27, 2004, 08:21:20 PM »

Another pro-life and anti-death penalty guy here. I feel that in the past, the death penalty was probably the only way to effectively keep certain people from committing any more crimes. These days, though, we can quite easily keep someone alive for the rest of their natural life in prison, where they are not able to harm innocent people (and for those of you who don't think prison is punishment enough, try talking to somebody who's actually been in there sometime). In our society, with our technology, the death penalty is obsolete.
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« Reply #36 on: October 27, 2004, 09:06:07 PM »

I'm pro-life without qualification and pro-death penalty in principle.

Romans 13 isn't a call for the death penalty either; not necessarily:To execute WRATH, not execute the person.  In other words, if someone does something evil, the rulers have the God-given right to intervene, discipline and punish him or her.  

I don't know...how exactly do you "intervene, discipline, and punish" someone with a sword?  Smiley  Capital punishment may not be specifically endorsed here, but it is not specifically rejected either.  Compared to the death penalty, life imprisonment is mercy, but compared to freedom, it is wrath.  Wrath is wrath, whether it takes the form of life imprisonment or the gas chamber.  Saint Paul gives the government no specific advice on figuring out how much wrath is too much wrath.  I think he leaves that matter to the state.  That's not to say that the government can execute anyone it wants just for the heck of it, but they evidently have the authority to execute if the circumstances warrant it.

Quote
No mention or endorsement of the death penalty is specifically made here.  Rather it is read into it by those who see the death penalty as the ultimate justice for someone being killed, with a similar idea of Gen. 9 in mind, no doubt.

Could it also be said that those who oppose the death penalty read too much into the "merciful" statements of the NT?  After all, mercy doesn't preclude justice.  

Quote
The problem with this, though, is this: what if we're wrong?  How about, what do we do when we're wrong?  When we shed the blood of a man who didn't shed a man's blood?  The Israelites had supernatural insight as to who was guilty; we have no such guarantee...another reason we in secular America have no right to take the life of another into our hands.

I don't know that the Israelites had supernatural insight into who was and was not guilty...where is this?  

The flaws in the capital punishment process make it an undesirable option today, especially when we can imprison people.  Then again, what does that mean?  It seems that there are many people who get out much earlier than the letter of their sentences dictates, and there are not a few instances where the punishment does not fit the crime, on either end of the spectrum.  The criminal justice system itself seems to be in need of reform.  This is why I think that, practically speaking, the death penalty is excessive these days, but in principle I don't have a problem with its just implementation by the state.
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« Reply #37 on: October 27, 2004, 09:43:08 PM »

Even Christ acknowledged to Pilate that God had given him such authority.

Evidently God gave the likes of Hitler and Stalin such authority as well.  Just because God gives us all free will and puts some in high places doesn't automatically sanctify their decisions or actions.  Christ was emphasising the fact that any power in the world is given by God...He wasn't saying that everyone who has it does infallible justice with it.
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« Reply #38 on: October 27, 2004, 10:39:14 PM »

Am I to suppose then that the "sword" to which St. Paul referred was used to tap the criminal on the cheek?   Roll Eyes  

Not getting out my concordance now am poor at memorizing references, but "because justice is not speedily executed against evildoers, the heart of man is fully set to do evil." No sentence is a deterrent if it is not certainly and quickly applied.  

Actually, "life in prison" usually means just a few years and then parole.  Those who DO remain in prison often take out their violence on guards and on other prisoners.  

Even the Old Testament taught that the punishment was to fit the crime:  eye for eye, tooth for tooth, -- not head chopped off for tooth.  

Then again, is the murder of millions of people (e.g. Stalin) any different from the murder of one or two victims?  If so, then on what basis?  

I think there is a lot to consider on the matter of the death penalty, which is rarely applied and, in the USA, never in a reasonable time frame -- hence, no deterrent and very high cost.

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« Reply #39 on: October 27, 2004, 11:03:45 PM »

Am I to suppose then that the "sword" to which St. Paul referred was used to tap the criminal on the cheek?   Roll Eyes  

Not getting out my concordance now am poor at memorizing references, but "because justice is not speedily executed against evildoers, the heart of man is fully set to do evil." No sentence is a deterrent if it is not certainly and quickly applied.  

Actually, "life in prison" usually means just a few years and then parole.  Those who DO remain in prison often take out their violence on guards and on other prisoners.  

Even the Old Testament taught that the punishment was to fit the crime:  eye for eye, tooth for tooth, -- not head chopped off for tooth.  

Then again, is the murder of millions of people (e.g. Stalin) any different from the murder of one or two victims?  If so, then on what basis?  

I think there is a lot to consider on the matter of the death penalty, which is rarely applied and, in the USA, never in a reasonable time frame -- hence, no deterrent and very high cost.

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That's not true anymore.  There were many sentencing reforms in recent years and now our prisons are full of people sentenced to life in prison.  There's actually now a health crisis due to many elderly people in prison.
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« Reply #40 on: October 28, 2004, 12:11:23 AM »

I don't know...how exactly do you "intervene, discipline, and punish" someone with a sword?  Smiley

"The sword" is used to indicate the "strong arm of the law," as it were, the ability (and, according to St. Paul, the authority) to enforce the laws of the land.  

Quote
Capital punishment may not be specifically endorsed here, but it is not specifically rejected either.

And that's fine with me.  I'm not trying to look at this verse as an indictment against the death penalty.  If it doesn't say one way or another, OK; I'm just making the point that those who want to use this as justification for the death penalty need to look elsewhere, as this verse doesn't deal with it.

Quote
Compared to the death penalty, life imprisonment is mercy, but compared to freedom, it is wrath.

I agree, and it seems a more "Christian wrath," imo.

Quote
Could it also be said that those who oppose the death penalty read too much into the "merciful" statements of the NT?

Yup!  Grin

Quote
After all, mercy doesn't preclude justice.

True.  But is the death penalty really "justice" from a Christian point of view?

Quote
I don't know that the Israelites had supernatural insight into who was and was not guilty...where is this?

Hmm...I'll have to add on to this post later, because I honestly can't remember any specific examples right off the top of my head...I seem to remember a time when someone stole some plunder and God told them directly that something was wrong...and women caught in adultery made to drink an elixir that would either kill them or not...maybe I'm off on this.  I'll check.
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« Reply #41 on: October 28, 2004, 05:30:07 PM »

I'm both pro-life and anti-death penalty.  Besides my desire to adhere to the Church's teachings, there are a few important reasons why I'm against the death penalty:

1. It's not carried out perfectly.  We don't need to rely on anecdotal evidence; we know for a fact that innocent people are being sent to death row because they are routinely being let out due to new DNA evidence.  I don't know of anyone who can reasonably argue that the death penalty is a worthy endeavor if even one innocent person is killed wrongly.  Perhaps the government can be right about 75% of time and this is ok when it's building bridges and putting out forest fires, but it's an unacceptable percentage when the life of a citizen is at stake.

2. It forever closes off a person from 'turning' to Christ.

3.  And most importantly, we have a perfect example of someone wrongly killed by the death penalty - Jesus.  If it happened to Him, it can happen to anyone one of us.

Starting from a purely secular standpoint, the US Constitution clearly permits the death penalty (5th Amendment (applicable to the Federal government), "nor [shall any person] be deprived of life, liberty or property, without due process of law" ; 14th Amendment, "nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law").

Moving to the morality of the death penalty itself, I believe the arguments from Scripture that we should obey civil authority carry great weight.  However, given what we know today about the unreliability of the criminal justice system when it comes to sentencing people to death (as noted by Stralets in his #1, above), this Orthodox Christian can no longer condone the state's use of a penalty that, almost without doubt, has led and will continue to lead to the execution of people not guilty of the crimes for which they have been sentenced.

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« Reply #42 on: October 28, 2004, 06:47:04 PM »

Hmm...I'll have to add on to this post later, because I honestly can't remember any specific examples right off the top of my head...I seem to remember a time when someone stole some plunder and God told them directly that something was wrong...and women caught in adultery made to drink an elixir that would either kill them or not...maybe I'm off on this.  I'll check.

Well, folks, guess I'd better withdraw that point; couldn't find anything to substantiate a divine verdict within Israel.  And if I'm actually not smokin' some serious $#!+ and someone wants to clue me in on a reference I lost, feel free...

I still stand with those mentioning the inconsistency of the DP as a reason to ban it, though....
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« Reply #43 on: October 28, 2004, 06:48:07 PM »

Starting from a purely secular standpoint, the US Constitution clearly permits the death penalty (5th Amendment (applicable to the Federal government), "nor [shall any person] be deprived of life, liberty or property, without due process of law" ; 14th Amendment, "nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law").

This should be referring to the person/people whose life/lives were taken by the person being sentenced to the death penalty.  The "due process of law" part is the sentencing, so it's up to the gov't and the courts to determine the ultimate outcome of that due process.  
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« Reply #44 on: October 28, 2004, 07:25:41 PM »

This should be referring to the person/people whose life/lives were taken by the person being sentenced to the death penalty.  The "due process of law" part is the sentencing, so it's up to the gov't and the courts to determine the ultimate outcome of that due process.  


Absolutely.  My point was merely that, so far as the text of the Constitution goes, the government -- Federal or State -- may impose the death penalty provided it provides the defendant with due process of law.  That, of course, leads to the question:  How much is enough?  I believe the current system cannot guarantee that only the "right" people will be executed, and is therefore insupportable.

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« Reply #45 on: October 28, 2004, 07:54:06 PM »

"The sword" is used to indicate the "strong arm of the law," as it were, the ability (and, according to St. Paul, the authority) to enforce the laws of the land.

Back then, it symbolised the power of the government to execute criminals.  I don't think Saint Paul is necessarily casting that kind of authority aside.  And, as DT said, even Christ recognised that Pilate had the authority to put Him to death.  That doesn't necessarily mean that the civil authority will always correctly apply that power (and this would be sinful), but they do have that authority, which means it can be used correctly.  

Quote
And that's fine with me.  I'm not trying to look at this verse as an indictment against the death penalty.  If it doesn't say one way or another, OK; I'm just making the point that those who want to use this as justification for the death penalty need to look elsewhere, as this verse doesn't deal with it.

It doesn't deal explicitly with the death penalty, but I think it clearly alludes to the just authority of the state's government over its citizens, and I dare say that this power includes the execution of criminals provided everything that needs to be done for this act to be considered just is done.    

Quote
But is the death penalty really "justice" from a Christian point of view?

What do you think "Christian justice" is?  This is a good subtopic in this thread.
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« Reply #46 on: October 29, 2004, 03:06:40 PM »

In regard to Rom.13 here are two noteworthy links:
http://www.ipocministries.org/sheeps.htm
http://www.killology.com/
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« Reply #47 on: October 29, 2004, 04:31:34 PM »

Back then, it symbolised the power of the government to execute criminals.

I can see this, though I can also see it as compulsion.

Quote
It doesn't deal explicitly with the death penalty, but I think it clearly alludes to the just authority of the state's government over its citizens, and I dare say that this power includes the execution of criminals provided everything that needs to be done for this act to be considered just is done.
   

What would be considered "everything that needs to be done"?  And a question I have: would this verse which may very well prescribe the death penalty in some cases (again, I see your point) be applicable today?  It would be like the verses on slavery; they had servants in those days, but they don't now -- likewise they may have had to use the death penalty back then (though with the Roman Empire this hardly strikes me as a surprise, barbarous as they were), but with the increasingly accurate forensics and testing that we have today, with new evidence always coming forth, it would be foolhardy, imo, to see the death penalty in contemporary American society as morally justifiable.

Quote
What do you think "Christian justice" is?  This is a good subtopic in this thread.

Things that have been mentioned so far in this thread, such as lifetime separation from society w/hard labor, constant efforts at rehabilitation, giving them vocational training so as to give them skills...sigh...let me back up a bit, as your question is a hard one for me to answer, ultimately.

"Christian justice," to me, stands in contrast to what this world would deem "just."  IMO, I think the world would (and does) relate more to the Old Covenant of "eye for eye, tooth for tooth, life for life."  "Christian justice" would be the repentance of the murderer and redemption of his soul and body -- nothing can bring back the life of the murdered, and if indeed the accused did commit the murder, there is nothing gained by killing him.  The dead are still dead, the victims' families are still chained in hate instead of bound by the inexplicable forgiveness that is Christ's message.

As has already been mentioned, the dp is seen by many (myself included) as a mob-mentality act of revenge.  We are not to take revenge; God is.  We give them every opportunity we can to repent, yet leave the final judgement up to God, whose judgement we know to be just.
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« Reply #48 on: October 29, 2004, 07:19:55 PM »

What would be considered "everything that needs to be done"?  And a question I have: would this verse which may very well prescribe the death penalty in some cases (again, I see your point) be applicable today?  It would be like the verses on slavery; they had servants in those days, but they don't now -- likewise they may have had to use the death penalty back then (though with the Roman Empire this hardly strikes me as a surprise, barbarous as they were), but with the increasingly accurate forensics and testing that we have today, with new evidence always coming forth, it would be foolhardy, imo, to see the death penalty in contemporary American society as morally justifiable.

Well, "everything that needs to be done" to make a specific application of the death penalty justified, IMO, would include exhaustively testing all evidence to be certain that the person facing such punishment is actually guilty of the crime, having the primary reason for seeking the measure be to protect citizens from such people and not simply vengeance, considering other alternative forms of punishment to see if they would be equally suitable and resorting to the death penalty only if it is necessary, etc.  In short, I agree with you that the death penalty is probably not advisable in America, both because of the shortcomings of the system and because we have other ways of protecting our citizens from these people.  However, I think in principle it could be allowed, provided it was just.  

Quote
Things that have been mentioned so far in this thread, such as lifetime separation from society w/hard labor, constant efforts at rehabilitation, giving them vocational training so as to give them skills...sigh...let me back up a bit, as your question is a hard one for me to answer, ultimately.

"Christian justice," to me, stands in contrast to what this world would deem "just."  IMO, I think the world would (and does) relate more to the Old Covenant of "eye for eye, tooth for tooth, life for life."  "Christian justice" would be the repentance of the murderer and redemption of his soul and body -- nothing can bring back the life of the murdered, and if indeed the accused did commit the murder, there is nothing gained by killing him.  The dead are still dead, the victims' families are still chained in hate instead of bound by the inexplicable forgiveness that is Christ's message.

As has already been mentioned, the dp is seen by many (myself included) as a mob-mentality act of revenge.  We are not to take revenge; God is.  We give them every opportunity we can to repent, yet leave the final judgement up to God, whose judgement we know to be just.

Call me cynical, but I'm not at all that sure hardened criminals are even remotely interested in repentance.  Anything is possible for God, but how are these people going to find God if the Church does not introduce them to Him?  I may very well be uninformed, but I don't think ministry to criminals is high on the Church's current list of priorities, and that is something to be lamented.  It's all well and good for the Churches to protest the death penalty in favour of life imprisonment because it affords criminals the chance to repent, but how can this happen without the Churches going out to them and bringing them the Gospel?  Furthermore, something that seems to be completely neglected is ministry to the grieving families of victims who have suffered at the hands of these criminals.  It is natural to desire revenge, and to desire the destruction of one's enemies: read the Psalms.  But if we're going to tell them that it is better to leave vengeance to God and forgive our enemies while they're mourning the loss of a child, spouse, sibling, or friend, we better be there to bring them the Gospel too.  We can protest this all we want, but if we don't do something positive to counter it, it is all a waste of time.
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« Reply #49 on: October 29, 2004, 10:54:51 PM »

Mor wrote
Quote
I may very well be uninformed, but I don't think ministry to criminals is high on the Church's current list of priorities, and that is something to be lamented.  It's all well and good for the Churches to protest the death penalty in favour of life imprisonment because it affords criminals the chance to repent, but how can this happen without the Churches going out to them and bringing them the Gospel?  Furthermore, something that seems to be completely neglected is ministry to the grieving families of victims who have suffered at the hands of these criminals.  It is natural to desire revenge, and to desire the destruction of one's enemies: read the Psalms.  But if we're going to tell them that it is better to leave vengeance to God and forgive our enemies while they're mourning the loss of a child, spouse, sibling, or friend, we better be there to bring them the Gospel too.  We can protest this all we want, but if we don't do something positive to counter it, it is all a waste of time.      

You are indeed uninformed here, Mor. There is ministry in just about every correctional facility in the nation, but not by the Orthodox Church. There is only one Orthodox Prison Ministry out there that I know of, and that is the Antiochian Orthodox Priosn Ministry of Father Ogan http://www.antiochian.org/OCPM/ and they have great materials and do a wonderful job, but compared to all of the USA they are a tiny fraction of the overall prison ministries.

Since I am involved with this since about 5-6 years i can tell you from first hand experience that we do minister to the families, too. And that for many inmates their jail time is the first time in their life where they begin to draw closer to God and questions about the deeper things of life rise up in them. Many  are very open to the Gospel and have a genuine change of heart.

I thank God for the many volunteers who take the command of Jesus to heart and go visit those in prison. Even with the death penalty it still makes a difference in someone's life whether they face the electric chair or lethal injection with the assurance of forgiveness and eternal life or without that. And only God is their judge and He goes by the intentions of the heart and not by denominational affiliation.

The same, by the way, goes for the shut-ins at nursing homes and assisted living facilities. I have yet to see an orthodox church who sends volunteers out to those, but in our area I know of several facilities who get ministered to every week by volunteers from different area churches.

And, I have talked to an Orthodox priest who could have had the opportunity to join in there but he let me know that the Orthodox do not mingle with heretics.

Too bad. I'm going to bite my tongue now and let you all think what you want.

Just sharing information, Shiloah

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« Reply #50 on: October 30, 2004, 08:58:22 AM »

"Anything is possible for God, but how are these people going to find God if the Church does not introduce them to Him?  I may very well be uninformed, but I don't think ministry to criminals is high on the Church's current list of priorities, and that is something to be lamented.

You are correct here, sir.  This is embarrassing for us and sickening.

Shiloah,

I understand (and share) your "toungue-biting" feeling -- I really admire your committment to this.  I do wish the Church would do more with this, but myself...I haven't the slightest idea what I would have to say to an inmate, aside from the Gospel message.  Even then, I'm not sure why they'd listen to me (I'm probably about as far away from the mindset a hardened criminal must have)...what do you all talk about them with?
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« Reply #51 on: October 30, 2004, 10:26:56 AM »

This issue clearly touches a lot folk's feelings, some deeply.

Some appeal to the Old Testament. Fine, so if your children strike shall we take them to walls of the city and stone them to death? What if you are found committing adultery? Or bestiality, which some say is not so unheard as one would like to think? And the list might go on.

Other talk about killing. The commandment forbids 'murder'. Execution by a civil authority is just that, execution, but not murder. I may not find it appealing but there is a clear difference. Soldiers may kill and any number of saints in both the Old and New covenant eras have lead or participated in action which result in death. This too is not murder, it is an act of war.  Again I might not find it appealing but there is a clear difference.

What I feel may get in the way here is our feelings, emotions and sentiments. The rule of law and the restraint of evil doers in any society cannot be a matter simply for our individual feelings or sentiment. I have met, as will others, some so alienated, brutal and lacking in any thought for others that they would run rings around any society run by such sentiments. The paradox is that if a civil society stoops itself to such a level it does not ameliorate the problem but breeds a further generation of such people.

Somewhere on the way a balance between the need for restraint and the provision of opportunities for remorse, to forgive and to acquire the personal and other skills necessary for a blameless and profitable life need to be found.

For a Christian, these things must be especially important. In our self righteousness we protest, 'I'm not a murderer'! But how many times do we not asassinate the good name and reputation of those around us? Often repeatedly! The consequences of such unneighbourly conduct has on occasion after occasion reared dreadul results, even the ruin and death of those defamed. But we are not murderers?

As Christians are we not called to weep first over our sins? Have we forgotten the saints who were robbers, brigands, and the like and repented? In Greece I met an old priest who fell into disfavour because he published a journal upholding traditional values. He got moved to a backwater in the north Athens suburbs. He stipend was slashed. He went into the prisons, travelling with the little money he had. Who did he find ministering there? Not his priestly colleagues who were not so disfavoured. No, they had more important things to do. We can 'tut tut', but do we visit or comfort those in prison, again as we are taught? Do we help those who have fallen on hard times or despair?

No, we become armchair Christians, with opinions on anything and everything. Or perhaps as has been previously used, Apopletic Christians or sentimentalists with enumerable causes, confusing actitivity with action.

Forgive me, I do not write out of anger or wanting to dispute. Rather it concerns me that in wanting to set the world aright we may be distracting ourselves from the one thing needful, our salvation.
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« Reply #52 on: October 30, 2004, 11:29:44 AM »

You are indeed uninformed here, Mor. There is ministry in just about every correctional facility in the nation, but not by the Orthodox Church. There is only one Orthodox Prison Ministry out there that I know of, and that is the Antiochian Orthodox Priosn Ministry of Father Ogan http://www.antiochian.org/OCPM/ and they have great materials and do a wonderful job, but compared to all of the USA they are a tiny fraction of the overall prison ministries.

When I said "I don't think ministry to criminals is high on the Church's current list of priorities", it was the Orthodox Church I had in mind.  I am aware of the admirable prison ministry undertaken by Catholics and Protestants.  Unfortunately, as you say, it is only a blip on the Church's radar screen, at least in America.  But I am happy to learn of some of your positive experiences in this field.
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« Reply #53 on: October 30, 2004, 12:29:06 PM »

Maybe the prison ministry should be a new topic, it surprises me that the Orthodox would lack in this since it would provide a source for evangelism & converts.

Also, it is part of the daily intercessorary/for the living prayers, well at least in mine.

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« Reply #54 on: October 30, 2004, 04:09:43 PM »

I am aware of the admirable prison ministry undertaken by Catholics and Protestants.  Unfortunately, as you say, it is only a blip on the Church's radar screen, at least in America.  

Mor, I really want to point out again, that compared to the overall nationwide prison ministries by the non-orthodox churches, it is the Antioch Orthodox prison ministry that is "only a blip on" the churches radar screen in America.  It seemed like my original words got kind of twisted the way you made reference to them.

It would be wonderful if the Orthodox Church would join the ranks of our nation's prison outreaches. But the local parishes usually won't. They will have their reasons. Meanwhile other folks with a heart of compassion will take the Gospel to where it is most needed.

GPhadraig, I agree with your words and I commend you for speaking your peace.

There are many church houses all across America, and I am thankful for each and every Orthodox parish in this nation. Yet, the majority of them fall under the category to which 2.Tim.3:5 applies (and you are welcome to read the previous verses of the context for yourself) . They are " Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away."

I would love to hear of the Orthodox Chcurches where the commissioning words of Christ
have come true that "And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;
 18.  They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.
 19.  So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God.
 20.  And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen."

No need to get hung up now on the 'speaking with new tongues. I am not concerned about that. What people need is the healings and the deliverances and just to see that the Lord is indeed confirming the word with signs following.  Does anybody on this forum have this happening in their parish? Please share with us, and thank you kindly,
Shiloah
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« Reply #55 on: October 30, 2004, 04:33:06 PM »

Maybe the prison ministry should be a new topic, it surprises me that the Orthodox would lack in this since it would provide a source for evangelism & converts.

Also, it is part of the daily intercessorary/for the living prayers, well at least in mine.

james

Yes, James, it is very comforting for me to know that the Church has the prayer for the incarcerated in her daily intercessorary.

As for your thoughts about this particular lack in the OC, I think we touched on that before in some other threads talking about "evangelism" which was a very offending subject to some. My personal experience with prison ministry volunteer applicants is that unless they come for the right reasons they do not last long, sometimes only once or twice. The right reason being a love for the needy and a love for the Lord, instilled in your heart by the Holy Spirit, because it is He who is sending you there.  

The Antiochian Prison Ministry has a very good book out on the subject. It is called "Prison Ministry Training Guide" by Father Duane Pderson, published by Orthodox Christian Prison Ministry, PO Box 1949, Hollywood, CA 90078-1949 or through Fr.David Ogan, PO Box 822169 Vicksburg,MS 39182


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« Reply #56 on: October 30, 2004, 04:53:10 PM »

I do wish the Church would do more with this, but myself...I haven't the slightest idea what I would have to say to an inmate, aside from the Gospel message.  Even then, I'm not sure why they'd listen to me (I'm probably about as far away from the mindset a hardened criminal must have)...what do you all talk about them with?

Pedro, here are a few answers to your questions:
a) you would not go into a jail to minister without preparation and training.
b) there are always some inmates ready to listen. The Lord prepares their hearts.
c) as for "the mindset of a hardened criminal" as you put it: each criminal is a human being. They look like humans, they have been created by the Creator of the universe, they have a human heart. Sometimes they do not act like humans should. That's when something not human has taken over.

Many criminals have a mind set like you and I. They are sinners. Their sin has alienated them from God. They need (and long for) restoration and the healing of their soul. They look for acceptance and love. They need compassion and direction into the Truth. As do we all. Many have never heard about Jesus. Many have been branded by 'church folk' and thrown out the baby with the bath water. Many have fallen for the snares of the evil one. Some have willfully and knowingly made wrong decisions. But so have we, too, now and then.

Jesus died for them. He said that the healthy don't need the doctor but the sick do. It is up to us who are alive today, this very day, whether we want to receive the ministry He has given us in 2.Cor.5:18 or whether we refuse it. You're either for Him or against Him. If you're for him then you will show Him by passing on and sharing His love.

You will be held accountable for what you did with the knowledge of Christ in this world.

Shiloah

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« Reply #57 on: October 31, 2004, 11:27:00 AM »

An offering:

From The Proglogue from Ochrid, by the Ever-memorable Bishop Niklai Velimirovic

Taken from the readings given for first, today 18/31 October


FOR CONSIDERATION

Can a sinner, in the space of ten days, make full repentance of his sin? By the immeasurable grace of God, he can. In the time of the Emperor Maurice, there was a well-known bandit in the region around Constantinople. Both in the countryside and in the capital itself, he inspired fear and trembling. Then the Emporer himself sent him a Cross, as a pledge that he would not punish him if he gave himself up. The bandit took the Cross, and did indeed give himslef up. Arriving in Constantinople, he fell at the Emporer's feet and begged his foregiveness. The Emporer kept his word, had mercy on him and let him go free. Immediately after that, the bandit feel gravely ill and sensed that death was near. He began to repent bitterly of all his sins, and implored God with tears to forgive him as the Emporer had. He shed many tears in his prayer, so that the handkerchief with which he wiped them became soaked, and he died after ten days of prayerful weeping. The night of his death, the doctor who had been attending him had a strange vision in a dream: when the bandit on the bed breathed his last, a number of little black demons gathered around him, flourishing bits of paper of which his sins were written, and two glorious angels also appeared. A pair of scales was placed in the middle, and the little black demons gleefully put all the bits of paper on it, and their side of the scales was loaded while the other was empty. 'What can we put in?', the angels asked each other. 'Let's look for something good in his life.' Then there appeared in the hand of one of the angels the handkerchief soaked with tears of repentance. The agels quickly placed it on their side of the scales, and it at once outweighed the other with all its papers. Then the little black demons fled, howling in anguish, but the angels took the man's soul and carried it to Paradise, glorifying God's love for mankind.

And, second, from the readings for the 15/28 December

FOR CONSIDERATION

For unintentional murder, earthly law frees the murderer. The Church lay penance on the unintentional muderer, a penance much lighter than that for a wilful murderer, but does not leave him without a penance. If a priest kills unintentionally, for instance, the Church forbids him to serve as a priest for the rest of his life. Christians with sensitive souls and sharpened consciences take on themselves a harsher penance than the Church lays down. St Pardus, as a waggoner, once arrived in Jericho. Leaving his ass in front of an inn, he went in. At that moment, a child feel in front of the ass, and the animal tampled on it and killed it. When Pardus saw the dead and trampled child, killed by his ass, his heart was so burdened that he felt as though he were himself guilty of the child's death. This conscience-stricken man laid on himself the harshest penance: he abandoned his trade, forsook the world although he was very young, and went off into the arid desert for strict bodily asceticism and spiritual toil and repentance. With many tears, he offered God his repentance for the murder of the child, and prayed to God that He would somehow bring this about. He searched out a lion, but the lion fled from him. He lay in the narrow track that the lion had taken, hoping the beast would kill him, but the lion leapt over him and would not touch him. Seeing, therefore, that it was God's will that he live and not perish, he calmed down, but remained to his death a lowly penitent. Is this not a sensitive, loving and God-fearing soul? Is not this the refined and sharpened conscience of a true Christian?


I would just like to add, truly the responsibility of the Civil power to restrain evil doers is one thing and the task of the Christian another
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« Reply #58 on: November 09, 2004, 01:52:17 PM »

At the moment of conception it is a human being just look at the court cases, that there is a double standard that a women can choose to terminate her pregnancy because it is her body Roe vs. Wade 1972 and it is considered an fetus not a baby so therefore it is not murder but at the same time if someone terminates the pregnancy without the women’s consent example in an accident an unborn child dies it is considered manslaughter or if she is murdered and the unborn child dies then it is a double homicide or someone that punches her in the abdomen and cause the death of the unborn child then it is considered Manslaughter of the unborn child. So ladies which is it murder of choice!

I have another recent article here is the link http://www.sltrib.com/utah/ci_2431343 this guy was charged with a double homicide.

We went from one extreme before 1972 to another extreme after Roe vs. Wade and still no middle ground on when an abortion should be medically necessary which should be the point, but in the very near future I predict we will go to another extreme a total ban on abortion again when enough people are in prison for murder or manslaughter of an unborn child then the government and pro life will have the opportunity to state the facts that people are in prison for murder and therefore the courts have considered that an unborn child is not a fetus but indeed a human being with all the civil rights as you or me have, and when that is proven which it will be then more than likely Doctors will be charged with murder and the women that receive the abortion will be charged with accessory to murder, I think it is a good time for pro choice and pro life to get together and find a middle ground for when it is medically necessary far ANY ABORTION before it is to late and we go back to another extreme again.

All I ask is to read up on these cases and you will see where this is going use your common sense.

Sincerely
Scott

P.S I ‘m pro life and believe that there is a middle ground but if we can’t find one then I will go with the extreme no abortion at all because I have no other choices given to me to stop senseless killing of human beings.
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« Reply #59 on: November 17, 2004, 12:43:31 AM »

I'm with Demetri, Crucifier!  Your adherence to your principles is inspiring.  Thanks.

Bob
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