'An 'I' for an eye'
Gordon Robinson, Contributor
THE RECENT execution of Washington sniper John Muhammad reminded me of how much I am against the death penalty.
And how contradictory my position on the execution of murderers appears. As I watched the vulgar, scavenging coverage of Muhammad's last moments by American networks, I realised that I felt no sympathy whatsoever for this State-sanctioned murder victim. How can I be so visceral against the death penalty and yet inconsiderate of its correctly convicted prey?
Research has established that killing a killer deters no one, save the executed killer himself. So that's no argument for the death penalty. There's no rehabilitation in execution so forget that one also. What's left? Vengeance? Even dogmatic Bible thumpers assign that chore to God. So it must be righteousness ("an eye for an eye" or "justice") as the only justification.
Let's talk about "righteousness". Is killing a killer truly an "eye for an eye"? Or, is it an "I" for an "eye"? In an earlier column on death: "The Secret of Eternal Life?" I wrote: "... Jesus confirms ... This is eternal life: That they may know you, the only true God and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do and now Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began." [John 17:3-5]
We have all come from God and we will return to know Him and be with Him. On Earth, we are the body of God. Through us, His creations, He touches, feels and experiences. But, we must return.
As I pointed out in more detail then, the mortal view of death as a portal to 'heaven' (reward) or 'hell' (punishment) is an illusion. Death is God's way of retrieving that piece of Himself sent earlier (by mortal yet divine vehicle called 'birth') to experience relativity, which is that part of God's existence possible only in this type of World. Hence its Creation. So He (or She, God has no gender) travels here within us, experiences reality/relativity vis a vis absolute being, and then, as a complete 'being' (human and divine), returns to Himself ("return to The Father") through the divine rite of passage called 'death'. This was explained, in simple language, by Jesus Himself.
'I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.' [John 8:12]
Jesus, the ultimate leader, deliberately orchestrated his own 'death'. The non-existence of mass communication in 33 AD forced Jesus to engineer, by His taunting refusal to cooperate or defend Himself, so graphically violent a 'death' followed by so beautiful a resurrection that all who had ears to hear, and eyes to see, could learn and follow His example.
So, if you profess to be Christian, you ought to know that death is in fact your eternal reward. We all have a part to play on this relative stage. Through us, God experiences 'reality' (good and evil, light and dark, ups and downs). Having played our part, we all return to Him to be with Him (inseparably) as it was in the beginning. It's what we do here that is burdensome, stressful or problematic. Afterwards, there is only peace. And love.
So, when one kills (God's promise: "Thou shalt not kill" once you love your neighbour "as thyself"), the deceased (so-called 'victim') isn't hurt. Those of us in mourning are the ones hurt. And, if it's punishment you're looking for as your righteous reaction to murder, why on earth would you want to hustle murderers off to their eternal reward?
If you don't believe me, ask Ohio native, Kenneth Biros, 51, who was executed on December 8 using the heralded new 'one-drug' method. Biros was convicted of sexually assaulting and killing Tami Engstrom, 22, in 1991, after offering to drive her home from a bar, then scattering her body parts in Ohio and Pennsylvania. She had been stabbed more than 90 times. Biros acknowledged killing her but said it was done during a drunken rage. It took the official killers 30 minutes to find a usable vein after which Biros' last words were "I'm now paroled to my Father in heaven."
The correct "eye for an eye" would have been to have kept Biros here for as long as possible in a similar torment to Tami's family, his true victims, no interaction with loved ones, no freedoms. That's punishment. Peace and Love.
Gordon Robinson is an attorney-at-law. Feedback may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org