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Posts Tagged ‘death penalty’

Rejoice in the Downfall of Evil, Not of the Evildoer

Posted by Tony Listi on May 4, 2011

Say to them, As I live, says the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live; turn back, turn back from your evil ways; for why will you die, O house of Israel? (Ezk 33:11)

God takes no pleasure in the death of those created in His image and likeness, whether they turn from their evil ways or not. When an evildoer is justly killed, are we going to imitate our heavenly Father or not?

This is good, and it is acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. (1 Tim 2:3-4) 

God never gives up on anyone, even someone like Osama bin Laden. God wants everyone to be saved, not just Americans, not just those who call themselves Christians, not just “good people.” And as the parable of the Good Shepherd and Ezk 33:11 reveal, God rejoices when the lost are found, when the evildoer abandons evil.

Jesus was praying for His enemies while on the cross and told us to love our enemies. How can this example and command be reconciled with joy over the death of of Bin Laden?

As always, this is really a matter of Christians (and everyone) needing to separate the sin from the sinner, the evil from the evildoer. We absolutely should celebrate the downfall of evil and increased peace and security that comes as a result of Bin Laden’s death. But taking pleasure in the death itself is not Godly and Christ-like.

Of course, loving our enemies doesn’t mean we can’t or shouldn’t kill them, for our love of them and others may require using potentially lethal means to prevent or end their evildoing and defend others from harm.

Don’t take me for a pacifist. As a concealed handgun license holder, I wouldn’t hesitate to “love” my enemy and others by using potentially lethal force. I would rejoice in the fact that evil had been prevented or stopped, that I had protected myself, my girlfriend, my family, or my friends. But it would be un-Christian to rejoice in the death itself of a criminal or sinner rather than in what the death resulted in.

Lethal self-defense has a double effect: self-defense and the death of the evildoer. The Christian should rejoice in the former and lament the latter, for these are the demands of Love Himself.

Are you unaware of how the earliest Christians cared for their Roman persecutors in the earliest proto-hospitals? Yet another example of Christian love of the enemy.

How many enemies of the faith have come to embrace the faith because of the transcendent Christian love of one’s enemies? We should never doubt the power of God to turn His most vicious enemies into His greatest saints. Just ask St. Paul….

Posted in American Culture, Christianity and Politics, Moral Philosophy, Politics and Religion, Written by Me | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Defame Islam, Get Sued?

Posted by Tony Listi on May 15, 2008

No religion is beyond criticism and thoughtful examination, even if it takes the form of satire or humor (including my beloved Catholicism). The US should brace itself against any future pressures to outlaw speech that portrays Islam in a negative light.

The European laws against anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial have set a dangerous precedent. Europe is more likely to fail against radical Islam because it is more likely to sew its own lips shut, silencing needed criticism of the more violent and questionable aspects of Islam and its traditions and history. (This includes the death penalty for mocking Muhammad, e.g. the poets Abu ‘Afak and ‘Asma bint Marwan along with her unborn child who were put to death at the Prophet’s command.)

And what about blasphemy in the eyes of Christianity? Judaism? Other religions? Will radical Muslims submit to punishment for their anti-Semitic speech? More likely, a double standard is developing.

Of course, I guess getting sued is better than getting killed or assaulted (139 people were killed and 823 injured in the wake of Muslim rage over the Danish cartoon incident). So I guess this is actually “progress.”

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080314/ap_on_re_af/islamic_summit_islamophobia

By RUKMINI CALLIMACHI, Associated Press Writer Fri Mar 14, 6:26 PM ET

DAKAR, Senegal – The Muslim world has created a battle plan to defend its religion from political cartoonists and bigots.

Concerned about what they see as a rise in the defamation of Islam, leaders of the world’s Muslim nations are considering taking legal action against those that slight their religion or its sacred symbols. It was a key issue during a two-day summit that ended Friday in this western Africa capital.

The Muslim leaders are attempting to demand redress from nations like Denmark, which allowed the publication of cartoons portraying the Prophet Muhammad in 2006 and again last month, to the fury of the Muslim world.

Though the legal measures being considered have not been spelled out, the idea pits many Muslims against principles of freedom of speech enshrined in the constitutions of numerous Western governments.

“I don’t think freedom of expression should mean freedom from blasphemy,” said Senegal‘s President Abdoulaye Wade, the chairman of the 57-member Organization of the Islamic Conference. “There can be no freedom without limits.”

Delegates were given a voluminous report by the OIC that recorded anti-Islamic speech and actions from around the world. The report concludes that Islam is under attack and that a defense must be mounted.

“Muslims are being targeted by a campaign of defamation, denigration, stereotyping, intolerance and discrimination,” charged Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, the secretary general of the group.

The report urges the creation of a “legal instrument” to crack down on defamation of Islam. Some delegates point to laws in Europe criminalizing the denial of the Holocaust and other anti-Semitic rhetoric. They also point to articles within various U.N. charters that condemn discrimination based on religion and argue that these should be ramped up.

“In our relation with the western world, we are going through a difficult time,” Ihsanoglu told the summit’s general assembly. “Islamophobia cannot be dealt with only through cultural activities but (through) a robust political engagement.”

The International Humanist and Ethical Union in Geneva released a statement accusing the Islamic states of attempting to limit freedom of expression and of attempting to misuse the U.N.

Human Rights Watch said in a statement that objectionable depictions of the Prophet Muhammad do not “give them the right under international human rights law to insist that others abide by their views.”

Hemayet Uddin, the lead author of the OIC report and head of cultural affairs for the group said legal action is needed because “this Islamophobia that we see in the world has gone far beyond a phobia. It is now at the level of hatred, of xenophobia, and we need to act.”

A new charter drafted by the OIC commits the Muslim body “to protect and defend the true image of Islam” and “to combat the defamation of Islam.”

To protect the faith, Muslim nations have created an “observatory” that meets regularly to monitor Islamophobia. It examines lectures and workshops taking place around the world and prints a monthly record of offensive content.

But some of the summit’s delegates said a legal approach would be over the top.

“My general view would be that the confrontational approach is one my country would avoid,” said Bangladeshi Foreign Minister Iftekhar Chowdhruy. Bangladesh is 90 percent Muslim.

While the Muslim world worries about the image of Islam in the West, the U.S. envoy to the OIC attended the summit to try to tackle the thorny question of America’s image among Muslim states.

Sada Cumber calls his campaign the “soft power” of the U.S. — an effort to find common ground with Muslim nations by championing universal values the U.S. holds dear like religious tolerance and freedom of speech.

“America has a deep respect for the religion of Islam,” Cumber told The Associated Press. “The freedom of faith that we exercise, that we enjoy in America, that is also a very important aspect of the American core values. Anyone who wants to practice any faith is never stopped or discouraged.”

Also during the summit, Chad and Sudan signed a peace agreement to stop incursions of rebels across each other’s borders, and the summit delegates committed themselves to addressing the spiraling violence between Israelis and Palestinians.

Posted in 1st Amendment-Free Speech, Government and Politics, Islam, Political Philosophy, Politics and Religion, The War on Terror | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

 
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