Friday, August 25, 2006

Religion and the Death Penalty

A couple of ‘Religious’ titbits from yesterday’s Jakarta Post

Religious leaders disagree on Indonesia's embrace of the death penalty, with one saying it is allowed by God and another reaching the opposite conclusion. "Life and death are in the hands of God, the creator of life. No institution has the right to kill others for whatever reason," Catholic priest Mudji Sutrisno told The Jakarta Post on the sidelines of the first Indonesian Religious Leaders Congress here Wednesday.

I like his conclusion, however I think his ‘faithful reasoning’ is a bit ‘out there’. The next guy though, he is a truly wonderful example of the worst our so called ‘civilization’ produces.

“Former religious affairs minister Tolchah Hasan said Islam recognized the death penalty. "We have no problem with capital punishment," he said. "But it must go through due legal process first. We can't just kill anybody," he said.”

Don’t you just love the “We can’t just kill anybody” bit of comfort at the end.

Well if you have read some of my previous posts you will know my feelings on ‘the crimes’ of the religious amongst us, however I think on this evidence the Catholics (I guess because of the reformation) have at least reached a slightly higher level of humanity than the Muslims.

How about the American religious conservative whacko element?

“The resolution approved at the SBC's (Southern Baptist Conference) year 2000 assembly says, in part, that: "God authorized capital punishment for murder after the Noahic Flood, validating its legitimacy in human society...[messengers (delegates of the SBC)] support the fair and equitable use of capital punishment by civil magistrates as a legitimate form of punishment for those guilty of murder or treasonous acts that result in death."

“The American National Association of Evangelicals has passed resolutions supporting the death penalty”.

A Hindu View

“…the [Hindu] faith basically revolves around non-violence and no revenge, as well as not hurting any living organs… ” [killing for food] even that has been prohibited. So, from that perspective, Hindus can safely assume that the Hindu religion opposes death penalty in a very fundamental way.”

A Buddhist Perspective

“An abolitionist stance on capital punishment finds strong support in Buddhist thought and history. Compassion fosters a deep respect for the dignity of all forms of life. The lives of convicted criminal defendants do have value. Society should strive to rehabilitate all prisoners to enable them to awaken to their inherent potential for goodness and spiritual growth. Capital punishment is anathema to rehabilitation. One obviously cannot rehabilitate a dead inmate. Furthermore, retribution, which would arguably be the strongest reason for retaining the death penalty, is not in keeping with the compassionate spirit of Buddhism.”


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