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Post 10 Jan 2017, 10:49 pm

Today I went to a funeral for a saint like African American woman named Clarice. For well over 60 years she has dedicated her life to social justice and has worked directly with the poor in the inner city to bring about change for the better. She touched thousands of lives, especially those living with mental and physical disabilities.

I was a white speck in an all black Baptist church. As a Roman Catholic this experience was refreshing, well beyond what I am used to. If you've never experienced a "home going" you're missing something very special about our rich American heritage. Yes, "our."

What I saw today was simply amazing. African Americans are some of the most spiritual people I have ever met. They are so expressive and genuine about their faith in God. I never cease to be amazed at the depth of their love of God and their unabashed, sometimes even flamboyant desire to express that love. And always in the context of a supportive, accepting community.

So as I watched today's pastor get emotional and almost inconsolable during his reflection on Clarice's life, I couldn't help but think of the victims of Dylan Roof whose lives were cut short during a prayer meeting in the name of hatred.

I absolutely abhor the death penalty. If this young, stupid boy is put to death, this tragedy will be complete. There will be absolutely no chance for hope and, I'll add, healing.

On an emotional level I feel as though he deserves the death penalty. But thinking it through I believe so much more could be accomplished if his life were spared.

I hope as a country we spare his life in order to make a bold and powerful statement.

By giving this boy the very thing he stole from his victims and their families, namely, life, we, as a nation, hold fast to the reality that all life is sacred, even his.

If given the chance, this confused boy, may, in 30 years or more, have ample opportunity to think about what he did in a fit of misguided passion.

Maybe he will one day come to understand the gravity of his unspeakable crime.

But even if this were not the case, even if 40 to 50 years from now he were to die in prison proud of his actions, the nation will have made a statement. And that statement would still be bold and powerful. It needn't be religious at all. In fact, it would be a message that transcended religious imagination. A message that our violence obsessed country/world so desperately needs.

That there is always hope.

But if the decision is made to make good on his annihilation, this much is true, he will have died a martyr in the eyes of some, evil in the eyes of others and never afforded an opportunity to experience a paradigm shift in his own consciousness.

So why bother? His life is only one life.

I believe that as a community, we are a reflection of the collective enemy within ourselves. If we can not offer life and consequently hope to someone so undeserving of it, we can not offer hope to ourselves.

"Forgiveness is more powerful than revenge."

That's what Clarice would say.
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Post 11 Jan 2017, 10:25 am

I'd "like" this post if I could.
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Post 11 Jan 2017, 4:02 pm

Me too.
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Post 14 Jan 2017, 9:13 am

For what it's worth, by far the most interesting film I have ever seen or heard of on the subject of capital punishment is the fifth installment in a ten-part series, Dekalog, made by Krzysztof Kieslowski in the late 80's and commissioned by Polish TV. It's about an hour long and was later expanded slightly into a film called A Short Film About Killing.

It's not a religious film at all, I don't think, but I've always felt the message it attempts to convey is very similar to what Dag posted above a few days ago.
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Post 18 Jan 2017, 12:35 pm

Roof deserved the sentence. It is biblical, it is moral, and it is just.
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Post 18 Jan 2017, 12:42 pm

The header on the forum is correct. Dylan Roof is a tragedy.

He needs to be put down like a sick, diseased animal. It should be done quickly, humanely and with little fanfare.
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Post 19 Jan 2017, 1:45 am

Sigh.

I do hope you two read all of the first post, at least.
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Post 19 Jan 2017, 6:38 am

I am not really concerned about Dylan Roof--he seems like a horrible human being and if we're going to put people to death for committing crimes he would be at the top of the list. But I became opposed to capital pubishment for two reasons: (1) the cold-blooded, premeditated nature of it and its ripple effects through the culture, and (2) the example of Western European countries with extremely low levels of violence that had done away with capital punishment, demonstrating that the use of capital punishment is an impediment to becoming a low violence society. Now whether getting rid of capital punishment helps to cause changes in society that helps to reduce violence or whether giving it up reflects changes in the culture, the use of capital punishment does not get you to those societies with low levels of violence. Violence begets violence in an unending chain but when the state steps in and stops the cycle of violence that cycle stops. The moral is that the use of violence should be solely to prevent more violence and I think the use of violence by the state ultimately actually fosters cultural attitudes/beliefs that lead to more violence.
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Post 19 Jan 2017, 8:02 am

danivon wrote:Sigh.

I do hope you two read all of the first post, at least.


I did. Forgiveness and justice are two separate entities.
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Post 19 Jan 2017, 8:06 am

freeman3 wrote:Violence begets violence in an unending chain but when the state steps in and stops the cycle of violence that cycle stops. The moral is that the use of violence should be solely to prevent more violence and I think the use of violence by the state ultimately actually fosters cultural attitudes/beliefs that lead to more violence.


That's a philosophy with which I disagree. We can go around and around, but it's pointless.
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Post 19 Jan 2017, 8:06 am

I also did. I did not post for a while as I wanted to ponder Dag's post.

I believe in personal forgiveness and state-based justice.
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Post 19 Jan 2017, 9:24 am

I just want to note I am only talking about capital punishment and not about retaliating against external threats.
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Post 24 Jan 2017, 8:59 pm

bbauska,

In yoga class tonight I thought of you. Now how many times have you heard that on Redscape?

At the end of class our instructor has everyone move to a position of hands in prayer at our chest. He explains the Indian expression "Namaste," each and every class. I believe the expression predates Christianity by a few thousand years or so, but that's beside the point.

Anyway I'm sure you are already quite certain of the meaning of the expression but just in case, it means......the light I know to be in me, honors the light I see in you. Or put differently, I bow in recognition of the divine I see in you.

I find it to be a very beautiful expression. One that is thought provoking. One that can stay with you long after you've considered it.

So my friend, for what it's worth, Namaste.
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Post 24 Jan 2017, 9:14 pm

dag hammarsjkold wrote:bbauska,

In yoga class tonight I thought of you. Now how many times have you heard that on Redscape?

At the end of class our instructor has everyone move to a position of hands in prayer at our chest. He explains the Indian expression "Namaste," each and every class. I believe the expression predates Christianity by a few thousand years or so, but that's beside the point.

Anyway I'm sure you are already quite certain of the meaning of the expression but just in case, it means......the light I know to be in me, honors the light I see in you. Or put differently, I bow in recognition of the divine I see in you.

I find it to be a very beautiful expression. One that is thought provoking. One that can stay with you long after you've considered it.

So my friend, for what it's worth, Namaste.


The blessings of the Lord to you, Friend.