Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Heroes: Famous and Otherwise

These are mine. In no particular order.


Jane Austen

(This image is thought to be the only authentic portrait of her likeness in existence. It is believed that she was 14 when she posed for this painting.) She never married and died relatively young at 42. Yet her writing set the standard in her genre for centuries to come; no one before or since has so perfectly captured both the wit and heartache of courtship. Think of her as the Carrie Bradshaw of the pre-Victorian set.





Father Jim Mifsud

This outspoken, blunt, and charismatic priest is no stranger to ruffled feathers.. At ten years old, I was mystified by this larger than life personality. In one breath, he would challenge us fifth graders to devote our lives to the service and care of others. In the other, he would yell about some *&^!@! motorist who cut him off on the *@#!#! freeway. Fill in the expletive of your choice...because he probably used any and all of them. While patience and decorum were not his strong suits (at least they weren't in 1977), no one could ever question his devotion to the core mission of Christ. His commitment to "the least of our brothers" has been nothing short of amazing. But he could lose patience easily and show much consternation over perceived apathy, resignation, or lack of involvement on the part of his parishioners. Let's just say he never appeared to withhold an opinion. From his direct involvement in the care of orphans in Korea to job placement for those with troubled backgrounds, Father Jim never asked anything of others that he wasn't willing to do himself--several times over.




Frida Kahlo

Her life fascinates me. She made an indelible artistic mark despite the very large shadow cast by her husband, Diego Rivera. There are some who credibly argue that she was the more gifted painter of the two. I'm not an art critic but I do find myself drawn to her work--which illustrates a life marred by tragedy and nearly unbearable physical pain. And yet, to relegate her painting to the work of a tormented soul is far too cliche'. You truly get the sense that despite everything, she believed in the rejuvenating power of beauty. A kind of beauty that surrounds us but is not always visible to the dismissive eye and the closed mind.





Cat Stevens aka Yusuf Islam

Gave up the drug called fame at his career pinnacle in 1978 and retreated to the recesses of his faith and its culture. His beautiful, deeply spiritual "Morning Has Broken" is moving and timeless-- as are "Father and Son", "Peace Train", "Wild World", and "Oh Very Young". I don't share his politics but I'm nonetheless convinced that there must be a great deal of good in a man who could compose such lyrics.







JPII

He made it pretty hard NOT to love him. You kinda just knew that under the white vestment was the happy, devoted, hardworking priest who had to pinch himself to make sure this whole papal thing wasn't a dream. Besides his status as national hero in Poland, the once Bishop Karol Wojtyla stood firm against the Soviet's desire to rid Catholicism from the national landscape. He vocally supported Lech Walesa and the Solidarity movement to protect the labor rights of workers. And as Pope John Paul II, he charmed the world with his desire to share the papacy in the form of several world tours. I, like so many others, gasped in horror as Sinead O'Connor shredded his photograph on national, live TV. I'm sure he had his human frailties. But there was nothing to justify such blatant irreverence for a man who exemplified peace and social justice. By the way, would it be disrespectful of me to say that I thought he was an attractive man in his earlier years? I hope not. I'm just saying....




Oscar London, M.D. (aka Arlan Cohn, M.D.)

My former physician, employer, confidant, and friend. I met him as a young adult and he was my first brush with someone truly literary. His patients adored him to the point that he literally had a circle of "groupies". You were never sure just who was going to show up at his office...poets, writers, homeless people, political activists, pundits, students, business leaders. He's the only doctor I know who could wisecrack during a less-than-pleasant exam and actually make patients laugh to the point that they forgot about the discomfort. He came to my aid and provided counsel on countless occasions. And he introduced me to Creme Brulee. How could he not be a hero?




Eleanor Roosevelt

Took lemons and made lemonade more frequently than most people realize. Rather than allow the infidelity of her husband to destroy her, she reinvented the purpose of her life. Not blessed with beauty, she relied on a her intellect, a direct but likable personality, and an acquired self reliance to pursue her goals. While she remained FDR's wife and curiously, his good friend, the discovery of his long standing love affair with Lucy Mercer forever altered her perception of a woman's place in the world. To only devote oneself to the needs and aspirations of a man was foolish in her mind. So she changed her course and discovered she could make a difference. Now that's my kinda woman.



William 'Sandy" Muir, Ph.D.


By way of introduction, he shared with our small class that he was a recovered, compulsive liar. Wow. Nothing like a complete bearing of one's soul to initiate the first-day-of-class meet and greet! He traversed the hilly campus terrain via a golf cart as he was physically impaired due to childhood polio. A Berkeley professor who was...(gasp) conservative. He inspired me to reexamine the liberal indoctrination of my college career. And while my full transformation did not take place until several years later, I often credit him for planting that initial seed. He also gave me the courage and incentive to interview a then, well known politician. That one-hour meeting with a California state senator taught me a lot about the personal nature of politics and human frailty. This topic actually deserves a post all its own. Another time.





My maternal grandfather, Elmer Whistance

WWII veteran, Battle of the Bulge hero, recipient of the Silver Star for gallantry in action. And I never knew any of this until I was an adult. When the war ended, these guys just came home and re-started their lives. He was humble, kind, patient, and generous. I really miss him.





Steve Martin

Most folks still associate Steve Martin with his "wild and crazy guy" persona of the 1970's. Or his performances in a host of family-oriented, feel good movies (some of which I really like, including Parenthood). But if that's all you know about this immense talent, you're really missing out. Yes, he's a comedic giant. He is also an incredible writer of both fiction and prose. His ability to articulate insight with subtlety and yes, humor, really is of the highest caliber. I appreciated his film Shopgirl but I truly loved his novella on which the movie is based. I can't really describe the essence of Martin's appeal except to say that he somehow just "gets" women. That is to say, he describes female weakness, talent, allure, treachery, and magnificence in much the same way a woman might. Somewhere along the line, he learned an awful lot about what makes us girls tick and he tapped a great literary talent to share his spot-on observations. Even at his most cynical, there is a tenderness about him that is endearing.




Anne Frank

Had she not died at Bergen-Belsen, this young girl was undoubtedly destined for greatness. If you have never read "A Diary of a Young Girl", you simply must. It is considered one of the most important written works of the twentieth century. If you knew nothing of her background when you read the book, you would be flabbergasted to learn that its author was a mere teenager. While much of her subject matter is consistent with the concerns of a young girl, the depth of the insight she provides greatly belies her chronological age. Having visited her family's hiding place in Amsterdam, I found myself imagining I was her. I peered from the very window she describes in the diary, my imagination captured by the incomprehensibility of her lengthy and bleak captivity in the annex. And it struck me that the only way she escaped these protective yet suffocating confines was to write. Yes, her real-life story ultimately ended in tragedy. But I, like so many others, still see her with that charming, hesitant smile, penning the latest thought with the skill of an author far more educated, infinitely more seasoned than Anne could ever hope to be. She forever possess the hopefulness that is entirely a product of her eternally preserved youth.





Meryl Streep

An actor's actor. Brilliant, unmatched performances. Dignified yet personable public persona. No tabloids, no controversy. The consummate, professional artist who performs her craft and keeps her private life private. No one could ever, ever be Sophie but Meryl Streep. No one.







Laura Ingalls Wilder

I'm as enthralled with the writer as I am with her "Little House" image. There is a small but vocal contingent of scholars and fans who make the argument that most of the Little House books were heavily ghost written by her daughter, Rose Wilder Lane. After years of my own research and examination, I do not share this opinion. Lane had a strong hand in the editing process, admittedly. But Lane's own work never rivaled the critical nor financial success of her mother's. Most believe, as do I, that they were partners who brought unique skills to the table. Editing is not writing. Writing is not editing. Bottom line: Laura's real life was every bit as interesting as the fictional version which continues to enchant millions of readers. Few other sources provide such a charming, innocent, and surprisingly accurate depiction of the the American pioneer experience.



Sister Helen Prejean

Her life's work is the subject of the film, "Dead Men Walking". Sister Prejean's ministry continues, driven by the mission of abolishing the death penalty. She bases her commitment upon the simple but oddly controversial tenant that life is sacred. Not just innocent, new life but ALL LIFE. Like other Catholic leaders such as Cardinal Bernadin, Sister maintains that a true pro-life position defends not only against abortion but against suicide, euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research, and yes, capital punishment. Her question, "Would Jesus pull the switch?" instantly speaks to the heart of the matter. What's more, she decries the insitutional racism and inherent social injustice that leads to a disproportionate number of poor, disenfranchised men residing on death row. Many conservatives, who are traditionally pro-death penalty and often mitigate the impact of social injustice, find her message troubling. Perhaps it is because so many conservatives quote Jesus freely but can't or won't adhere to the reality of His message--which values compassion, eschews vengeance, without compromise, regardless of circumstance. Sister Prejean says it best, "Is God vengeful, demanding a death for a death? Or is God compassionate, luring souls into love so great that no one can be considered an enemy?"

6 comments:

dudleysharp said...

" . . .makes you realize the Dead Man Walking truly belongs on the shelf in the library in the Fiction category."

Dead Man Walking and Sr. Prejean's Death Penalty Disinformation
Dudley Sharp, Justice Matters

I. Dead Family Walking: The Bourque Family Story of Dead Man Walking , by D. D. deVinci, Goldlamp Publishing, 2006

" . . .makes you realize the Dead Man Walking truly belongs on the shelf in the library in the Fiction category."

"Being devout Catholics, 'the norm' would be to look to the church for support and healing. Again, this need for spiritual stability was stolen by Sister Prejean."

The book alleges whole cloth fabrications by Sister Prejean within her book "Dead Man Walking".

"On November 5, 1977, the Bourque's teenage daughter, Loretta, was found murdered in a trash pile near the city of New Iberia, Louisiana lying side by side near her boyfriend–with three well-placed bullet holes behind each head. "

www(dot)deadfamilywalking.com/

contact T.J. Edler, 337-967-0840, infogoldlamp(at)aol.com


II. The Victims of Dead Man Walking
by Michael L. Varnado, Daniel P. Smith

comment -- A very different story than that written by Sister Helen Prejean. Detective Varnado was the investigating officer in the murder of Faith Hathaway. 2003


III. Death Of Truth: Sister Prejean's new book Death Of Innocents

For some years, there has existed a consistent pattern, from death penalty opponents, to declare certain death row inmates to be actually innocent. Those claims have, consistently, been 70-83% in error. ("ALL INNOCENCE ISSUES -- THE DEATH PENALTY")

Keep that in mind with "Death of Innocents".

Readers should be very careful, as they have no way of knowing if any of the fact issues in either of the two cases, as presented by Sister Prejean, are true. Readers would have to conduct their own thorough, independent examination to make that determination. You can start here.

Four articles

(a) "FOR GOOD REASON, JOE O'DELL IS ON DEATH ROW"
scholar(DOT)lib.vt.edu/VA-news/VA-Pilot/issues/1995/vp950728/07210224.htm

quote: "The DNA report commissioned by O'Dell and his lawyers actually corroborates O'Dell's guilt. There is a three-probe DNA match indicating that the bloodstains on O'Dell's clothing is indeed consistent with the victim Helen Schartner's DNA as well as her blood type and enzyme factors." "There is certainly no truth to O'Dell's accusation that evidence was suppressed or witnesses intimidated by the prosecution."

(b) "Sabine district attorney disputes author's claims in book"
www(DOT)shreveporttimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050124/NEWS01/501240328/1060

quote: "I don't know whether she is deliberately trying to mislead the public or if she's being mislead by others. But she's wrong,"
District Atty. Burkett, dburkett(AT)cp-tel.net

(c) Book Review: "Sister Prejean's Lack of Credibility: Review of "The Death of Innocents", by Thomas M. McKenna (New Oxford Review, 12/05).

"The book is moreover riddled with factual errors and misrepresentations."

"Williams had confessed to repeatedly stabbing his victim, Sonya Knippers."

"This DNA test was performed by an independent lab in Dallas, which concluded that there was a one in nearly four billion chance that the blood could have been someone's other than Williams's."

" . . . despite repeated claims that (Prejean) cares about crime victims, implies that the victim's husband was a more likely suspect but was overlooked because the authorities wanted to convict a black man."

" . . . a Federal District Court . . . stated that 'the evidence against Williams was overwhelming.' " "The same court also did "not find any evidence of racial bias specific to this case."

"(Prejean's) broad brush strokes paint individual jurors, prosecutors, and judges with the term "racist" with no facts, no evidence, and, in most cases, without so much as having spoken with the people she accuses."

"Sr. Prejean also claims that Dobie Williams was mentally retarded. But the same federal judge who thought he deserved a new sentencing hearing also upheld the finding of the state Sanity Commission report on Williams, which concluded that he had a "low-average I.Q.," and did not suffer from schizophrenia or other major affective disorders. Indeed, Williams's own expert at trial concluded that Williams's intelligence fell within the "normal" range. Prejean mentions none of these facts."

"In addition to lying to the police about how he came to have blood on his clothes, the best evidence of O'Dell's guilt was that Schartner's (the rape/murder vicitim's) blood was on his jacket. Testing showed that only three of every thousand people share the same blood characteristics as Schartner. Also, a cellmate of O'Dell's testified that O'Dell told him he killed Schartner because she would not have sex with him."

"After the trial, LifeCodes, a DNA lab that O'Dell himself praised as having "an impeccable reputation," tested the blood on O'Dell's jacket -- and found that it was a genetic match to Schartner. When the results were not to his liking, O'Dell, and of course Sr. Prejean, attacked the reliability of the lab O'Dell had earlier praised. Again, as with Williams's conviction, the federal court reviewing the case characterized the evidence against O'Dell as 'vast' and
'overwhelming.' "

Sr. Prejean again sees nefarious forces at work. Not racism this time, for O'Dell was white. Rather, she charges that the prosecutors were motivated to convict by desire for advancement and judgeships. Yet she never contacted the prosecutors to interview them or anyone who might substantiate such a charge.

"(Prejean) omits the most damning portion of (O'Dell's criminal) record: an abduction charge in Florida where O'Dell struck the victim on the head with a gun and told her that he was going to rape her. This very similar crime helped the jury conclude that O'Dell would be a future threat to society. It supports the other evidence of his guilt and thus undermines Prejean's claim of innocence."

"There is thus a moral equivalence for Prejean between the family of an innocent victim and the newfound girlfriend of a convicted rapist and murderer."

"This curious definition of "the victims" suggests that her concern for "victims" seems to be more window-dressing for her cause than true concern."

(d) Hardly The Death Of Innocents: Sister Prejean tells it like it wasn't -- Joseph O'Dell
by Anonymous, at author's request

In lionizing convicted murderer Joseph O'Dell as being an innocent man railroaded to his 1997 execution by Virginia prosecutors, Sister Helen Prejean presents a skewed summary of the case to bolster her anti-death penalty agenda. While she is a gifted speaker, she is out of her element when it comes to "telling it as it was" in these cases.

Prejean got to walk with O'Dell into the death chamber at Greensville Correctional Center on July 22, 1997. However, she wasn't in Virginia Beach some 12 years earlier when he committed the crime for which he was arrested, convicted and sentenced to death. That is where the real demon was evident, not the sweet talking condemned con-man that she met behind bars. O'Dell was, in the words of then Virginia Beach Deputy Commonwealth's Attorney Albert Alberi (case prosecutor), one of the most savage, dangerous criminals he had encountered in a two decade career.

Indeed,O'Dell had spent most of his adult life incarcerated for various crimes since the age of 13 in the mid-1950's. At the time of the Schartner murder in Virginia, O'Dell had been recently paroled from Florida where he had been serving a 99 year sentence for a 1976 Jacksonville abduction that almost ended in a murder of the female victim (had not police arrived) in the back of his car.

The circumstances of that crime were almost identical to those surrounding Schartner's murder. The victim of the Florida case even showed up in Virginia to testify at the trial. Scarcely a mention of this case is made in the Prejean book.

Briefly, let me outline some of the facts about the case: Victim Helen Schartner's blood was found on the passenger seat of Joseph O'Dell's vehicle. Tire tracks matching those on O'Dell's vehicle were found at the scene where Miss Schartner's body was found. The tire tread design on O'Dell's vehicle wheels were so unique, an expert in tire design couldn't match them in a manual of thousands of other tire treads. The seminal fluids found on the victim's body matched those of Mr. O'Dell and pubic hairs of the victim were found on the floor of his car.

The claims that O'Dell was "denied" his opportunity to present new DNA evidence on appeals were frivolous. In fact, he had every opportunity to come forward with this evidence, but his lawyers refused to reveal to the court the full findings of the tests which they had arranged to be done on a shirt with blood stains, which O'Dell's counsel claimed might show did not have the blood marks from the defendant or the victim.

Manipulative defense lawyer tactics were overlooked by Prejean in her narrative. O'Dell was far from a victim of poor counsel. As matter of fact, the city of Virginia Beach and state government gave O'Dell an estimated $100,000 for his defense team at trial. This unprecedented amount nearly bankrupted the entire indigent defense fund for the state. He had great lawyers, expert forensic investigators and every point at the trial was contested two to five times.

There was no "rush to justice" in this case.

O'Dell's alibi for the night of Schartner's murder was that he had gotten thrown out of the bar where he encountered Schartner following a brawl. However, none of the several dozen individuals supported his contention - there weren't any fights that night. Rather, several saw Miss Schartner getting into O'Dell's car on what would be her last ride.

But Prejean would want us to believe the claims of felon Joseph O'Dell.He had three trips to the United States Supreme Court and the "procedural error" which Prejean claims ultimately doomed him was the result of simple ignorance of basic appeals rules by his lawyers.

Nothing in the record ever suggested that Joseph O'Dell, two time killer and rapist, was anything but guilty of the murder of Helen Schartner.

Justice was properly served.


IV. Sister Helen Prejean on the death penalty

"It is abundantly clear that the Bible depicts murder as a capital crime for which death is considered the appropriate punishment, and one is hard pressed to find a biblical ‘proof text’ in either the Hebrew Testament or the New Testament which unequivocally refutes this. Even Jesus’ admonition ‘Let him without sin cast the first stone,’ when He was asked the appropriate punishment for an adulteress (John 8:7) - the Mosaic Law prescribed death - should be read in its proper context. This passage is an ‘entrapment’ story, which sought to show Jesus’ wisdom in besting His adversaries. It is not an ethical pronouncement about capital punishment .” Sister Helen Prejean, Dead Man Walking.

The sister’s analysis is consistent with much theological scholarship. Also, much scholarship questions the authenticity of John 8:7.

From here, the sister states that “ . . . more and more I find myself steering away from such futile discussions (of Biblical text). Instead, I try to articulate what I personally believe . . . ” The sister has never shied away from any argument, futile or otherwise, which opposed the death penalty. She has abandoned biblical text for only one reason: the text conflicts with her personal beliefs.

Sister Prejean rightly cautions: "Many people sift through the Scriptures and select truth according to their own templates." (Progressive, 1/96). Sadly, Sister Prejean appears to do much worse. The sister now uses that very same biblical text “Let the one who is without sin cast the first stone” as proof of Jesus’ “unequivocal” rejection of capital punishment as “revenge and unholy retribution”! (see Sister Prejean’s 12/12/96 fundraising letter on behalf of the Saga Of Shame book project for Quixote Center/Equal Justice USA)


V. Redemption and the death penalty

The movie Dead Man Walking reveals a perfect example of how just punishment and redemption can work together. Had rapist/murderer Matthew Poncelet not been properly sentenced to death by the civil authority, he would not have met Sister Prejean, he would not have received spiritual instruction, he would not have taken responsibility for his crimes and he would not have reconciled with God. Had Poncelet never been caught or had he only been given a prison sentence, his character makes it VERY clear that those elements would not have come together. Indeed, for the entire film and up until those last moments, prior to his execution, Poncelet was not truthful with Sister Prejean. His lying and manipulative nature was fully exposed at that crucial time. It was not at all surprising, then, that it was just prior to his execution that all of the spiritual elements may have come together for his salvation. It was now, or never. Truly, just as St. Aquinas stated, it was Poncelet's pending execution which may have led to his repentance. For Christians, the most crucial concerns of Dead Man Walking must be and are redemption and eternal salvation. And, for that reason, it may well be, for Christians, the most important pro-death penalty movie ever made.

A real life example of this may be the case of Dennis Gentry, executed April 16, 1997, for the premeditated murder of his friend Jimmy Don Ham. During his final statement, Gentry said, "I’d like to thank the Lord for the past 14 years (on death row) to grow as a man and mature enough to accept what’s happening here tonight. To my family, I’m happy. I’m going home to Jesus." As the lethal drugs began to flow, Gentry cried out, "Sweet Jesus, here I come. Take me home. I’m going that way to see the Lord." (Michael Gracyk, Associated Press, Houston Chronicle, 4/17/97). We cannot know if Gentry or the fictitious Poncelet or the two real murderers from the DMW book really did repent and receive salvation.

But, we do know that St. Aquinas advises us that murderers should not be given the benefit of the doubt. We should err on the side of caution and not give murderers the opportunity to harm again.

"The fact that the evil, as long as they live, can be corrected from their errors does not prohibit the fact that they may be justly executed, for the danger which threatens from their way of life is greater and more certain than the good which may be expected from their improvement. They also have at that critical point of death the opportunity to be converted to God through repentance. And if they are so stubborn that even at the point of death their heart does not draw back from evil, it is possible to make a highly probable judgement that they would never come away from evil to the right use of their powers." St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Contra Gentiles, Book III, 146.


VI. On God and the death penalty

It is not uncommon for persons of faith to create a god in their own image, to give to that god their values, instead of accepting those values which are inherent to the deity. For example, death penalty opponent Sister Helen Prejean (Dead Man Walking) states, in reference to the death penalty, that "I couldn’t worship a god who is less compassionate than I am."(Progressive, 1/96). She has, thereby, established her standard of compassion as the basis for God’s being deserving of her devotion. If God’s level of compassion does not rise to the level of her own, God couldn’t receive her worship. Director Tim Robbins (Death Man Walking) follows that same path: "(I) don’t believe in that kind of (g)od (that would support capital punishment and, therefore, would be the kind of god who tortures people into their redemption)." ("Opposing The Death Penalty", AMERICA, 11/9/96, p 12). Robbins, hereby, establishes his standard for his God’s deserving of his belief. God’s standards do not seem to be relevant. His sophomoric comparison of capital punishment and torture is typical of the ignorance in this debate and such comments reflect no biblical relevancy. Perhaps they should review Matthew 5:17-22 and 15:1-9. Be cautious, for as the ancient rabbis warned, "Do not seek to be more righteous than your creator." (Ecclesiastes Rabbah 7.33)

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Detective Varnado writes: "For those who believe in the teachings of Sister Helen Prejean as her journey continues in her effort to abolish the death penalty. 'For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And, no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. 2 Corinthians 11:13 & 14' " -- From Detective Varnado's new book Soft Targets; A Women's Guide To Survival
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Dudley Sharp, Justice Matters
e-mail  sharpjfa@aol.com,  713-622-5491,
Houston, Texas
 
Mr. Sharp has appeared on ABC, BBC, CBS, CNN, C-SPAN, FOX, NBC, NPR, PBS , VOA and many other TV and radio networks, on such programs as Nightline, The News Hour with Jim Lehrer, The O'Reilly Factor, etc., has been quoted in newspapers throughout the world and is a published author.
 
A former opponent of capital punishment, he has written and granted interviews about, testified on and debated the subject of the death penalty, extensively and internationally.
 
Pro death penalty sites 

homicidesurvivors(dot)com/categories/Dudley%20Sharp%20-%20Justice%20Matters.aspx

www(dot)dpinfo.com
www(dot)cjlf.org/deathpenalty/DPinformation.htm
www(dot)clarkprosecutor.org/html/links/dplinks.htm
www(dot)coastda.com/archives.html
www(dot)lexingtonprosecutor.com/death_penalty_debate.htm
www(dot)prodeathpenalty.com
www(dot)yesdeathpenalty.com/deathpenalty_co
yesdeathpenalty.googlepages.com/home2 (Sweden)
www(dot)wesleylowe.com/cp.html

Permission for distribution of this document, in whole or in part,  is approved with proper attribution.

Leigh said...

...whoa Nelly!

Looks like you put quite a bit of effort into your cut & paste diatribe. In the interest of free discussion, I allowed your comments...but in the future, please compose your contribution in the form of a discussion, not a white paper.

Having said that, there is absolutely nothing, and I mean nothing, you or anyone else can argue to convince me that Jesus would approve of the death penalty. In the end, it's a matter of faith and a belief that human life is sacred. In His final hours, Jesus asked this of our Father:

Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do. (Luke 23:34)

Presumably, in addition to the larger, more general plea for humanity, one can reasonably assume that He was asking for His Father to forgive those who PUT HIM TO DEATH. Why would He ask for our Father's forgiveness for something He did not consider a sin?

Your argument that opposition to capital punishment is a vain, even blasphemous presumption of God's will, is ridiculous. Any faithful Christian understands what God asks of us. How can it be blasphemous to evangelize and support the expressed will of God?

Even the most heinous, dastardly perpetrator started his/her life as a precious, beautiful child of God. Admittedly, something goes very wrong thereafter. We would all be far better off to work on the "what goes wrong" aspect of human behavior versus simply killing offenders. In the end, the offender dies, the victim is still victimized, and similar crimes continue. Even from a purely secular view, capital punishment fails to achieve the aim of deterrence. Our death row roster is proof of this.

Again, it really boils down to a matter of Christian morality. Last time I checked, Jesus NEVER said "Whoever slaps you on your right cheek, inject him with lethal poison so that you will feel better about your cheek hurting".

I can tell you a thing or two about being the victim of an unspeakable, heinous crime. And I can also tell you--the state imposed death of my perpetrator would have brought me no satisfaction. What would have helped, even to this day is, "I recognize the pain I have caused you and the irreparable damage I have done. I ask for your forgiveness". At the end of the day, in our heart of hearts, I hazard to guess that this type of sincere declaration is what victims desire the most (apart from never being victimized in the first place).

How sad it is that you're so staunchly devoted to the concept of vengeance. Most pro-death penalty proponents who I know glean no satisfaction from their position. They simply view it as a last, least desirable resort. While I view this type of resignation as flawed, I can at least respect their distaste and hesitancy for such a brutal and violent form of "justice". With you, however,the death of human beings seems to be your life's calling, which is a truly sad vocation indeed. There's more to life, friend!

God bless you.

Leigh said...

dudleysharp,

Because you chose once again to submit your comments in the form of a cut and paste dissertation, I chose to reject your latest submission. Your chosen format is uninteresting and not in keeping with the spirit of this blog. Should you choose to make your argument in the form of a discussion, I will post accordingly.

Just a word of advice...

If persuasion and influence are your objectives, you need to rethink the manner in which you present your assertions. Your current style is antagonistic and off-putting.

Hacienda Real HOA Forum said...

Love Fr. Jim longtime!

Grumpy, M.D. said...

Dr. Cohn/London is awesome. His writing is the inspiration for mine.

I read "Kill as few patients as possible" in medical school. I still refer to the book as "The Bible" in my office.

Keith said...

Ever since I moved back to San Jose, I thought I ought to find Father Jim and visit with him. He gave me my first communion almost a decade ago, and have known him for the last 35 years.

He4 was with my grandmother when she died, and even in the years before I joined the church, Jim Mifsud was a man I knew and loved from the beginning.

So, I received an email telling me he died, perhaps yesterday. I enjoyed reading your blogpost