Jenn’s Sunday Sermon
Thou shalt not kill.
Everyone recognizes that, right? The fifth of the Ten Commandments that the extreme-right wing would like to post in every courthouse, every schoolhouse, every public, private, and government building.
I’ve known the 10 Commandments since childhood, and have read them in a variety of formats (KJV, NIV, etc.) but I’ve yet to see find the asterisk. It must be there, somewhere.
What asterisk, you ask? The one that points all those right-wingers to the ‘exceptions’:
Thou shalt not kill….unless
The United States is one of the few remaining countries with a death penalty, and it’s not keeping very good company.
From Amnesty International:
Afghanistan * Antigua and Barbuda * Bahamas * Bahrain * Bangladesh * Barbados * Belarus * Belize * Botswana * Burundi * Cameroon * Chad * China * Comoros * Congo (Democratic Republic) * Cuba * Dominica * Egypt * Equatorial Guinea * Eritrea * Ethiopia * Gabon * Ghana * Guatemala * Guinea * Guyana * India * Indonesia * Iran * Iraq * Jamaica * Japan * Jordan * Kazakhstan * North Korea * South Korea * Kuwait * Kyrgyzstan * Laos * Lebanon * Lesotho * Libya * Malawi * Malaysia * Mongolia * Nigeria * Oman * Pakistan * Palestinian Authority * Qatar * Rwanda * St. Kitts and Nevis * St. Lucia * St. Vincent and the Grenadines * Saudi Arabia * Sierra Leone * Singapore * Somalia * Sudan * Swaziland * Syria * Taiwan * Tajikistan * Tanzania * Thailand * Trinidad and Tobago * Uganda * United Arab Emirates * Uzbekistan * Vietnam * Yemen * Zambia * Zimbabwe
One bright area: In 2005, the Supreme Court of the United States outlawed the execution of offenders who were under age 18 at the commission of the crime for which they’ve been convicted.
If you believe in the Christian god, the one who told Moses to write down, “Thou shalt not kill” then you must – absolutely must – believe that all killing is wrong, whether it is done by an individual or by the state.
If you believe in Allah, or Buddha, or Vishnu, or any other god who says killing is wrong, then you are required to believe that it is always wrong. You cannot claim to follow any religion and then violate its most basic precepts.
My personal belief is this: no death is avenged by more death.
We’re seeing the simple truth of that in Iraq. Has any Sunni been avenged by the hundreds of Shi’a killed? Has any Shi’a been avenged by the hundreds of Sunnis killed? Has any Sunni or Shi’a been avenged by the deaths of 3000 Americans?
What have these deaths brought to anyone, except a never-ending spiral of death and more death?
Where does it end?
No man is an island, entire of itself
every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main
if a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were,
as well as if a manor of thy friends or of thine own were
any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind
and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls
it tolls for thee.
— John Donne
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