ABOUT CAPITAL PUNISHMENT: A POEM

StephanieBostonbomber The murdered Stephanie Scott and her fiancé                  Boston Bomber Tsarnaev

ABOUT CAPITAL PUNISHMENT: A POEM

Above mere Reason, Spirit breathes eternal law.
It’s Reason and diluted Christian thought
Believes true  mercy should preserve the serial
Murderer and the torturer, agrees with number
Studies to declare death no deterrent
To grave homicide.  As though such fact was
Relevant. Presuming mercy of the kind
Is absent from the soul of justice
Bound to  grant the peace and closure
Due associate  victims of a crime. Besides…
It’s irreligion does not feel or know
How blood, with Abel and the earth
Itself, calls out for cleansing and release
From every thing infecting land weighed down
By curse throughout its atmosphere. [1] Even stones
Cry out, said Christ, who never once spoke word
To cancel laws of death for death and sword. [2]

Unlike my other poetry published on McCleary’s Alternatives , this  quickly composed short piece (vers de circonstance which should perhaps have waited upon the form of a sonnet!) comes in response to the ruin of lives caused by the murder of Australia’s Stephanie Scott at Easter just before her wedding. Also the too rapid appeal from around the same time by American Catholic bishops against any thought of death sentence for the Boston bomber.

Why such concern given  that  historically Catholicism has been so easy with executions and wars? Basically because having controversially ruled against abortion on any grounds however reasonable, respect for life must now be applied to all cases across the board however unreasonable. Such ethical values are not really biblical; if they were they might admit of more exception and flexibility, but instead they are philosophical and mathematical from the pagan Aristotle in a way almost hostile to the spirit of religion itself. There is also a form of Christian agnostic or post Christian outlook that has made a substitute spirituality out of just being merciful to almost anything and anyone. This allows a sort of self-righteous congratulation at the expense of those left to suffer who may even finish deemed vengeful for desiring something more like justice and closure. Forgiveness is important but cannot be imposed by would-be ethical elites who only compromise the psychological health of those who have to cope lifelong with trauma and loss and for whom forgiveness is made still harder. In short, society should stop punishing victims in the name of a false, feel good, spirituality.

NOTES

[1] The blood of Abel cries out. Gen 4:10

[2] The Stones cry out Luk 19:40 “ I tell you if these were silent the stones would shout out” Reference here is not metaphorical. It corresponds to a biblical notion of a living world which has soul and is divinely indwelt. Those who live by the sword (death and war) die by the sword (Matt 26:52).

 

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