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Christians who support the death penalty.....why?

Posted by on Apr. 30, 2014 at 9:55 PM
  • 259 Replies
16 moms liked this
Even when I was religious this always confounded me. How can you support the killing of another human being when the whole point of Jesus dying was to wash you in his blood and give grace and forgiveness. The eye for an eye thing is OT, so where is that forgiveness that your book preaches? I'm about to get personal, none of you know me so I don't mind sharing.


Some of you know my mother was murdered when I was 12. I grew up poor with a mother that was an addict and a prostitute. I was molested and I was abused by people. I recall countless times trying to pick my mother up with a needle in her arm when she would go through a heroin "nap". Food was a rarity in our home and I have a sister 6 years younger than me that I had to care for while my mom destroyed her life. I grew up stealing, I had to. I stole food, clothes, anything to keep my sister and me not hungry and not cold. Sometimes my mom would get a boyfriend, he'd buy us food but for a cost. He either beat the shit out of her, me, or abused us in other ways. There's a lot of my childhood I don't remember and I'm thankful for that.
When my mother died, I never cried. I don't want to say I was happy, but I thought (naively) that there'd be no more pain. WRONG. I ended up living with my alcoholic uncle who beat me regularly and locked me in a small closet the back (where the washer and dryer were) because I didn't deserve to be around family. I ran away at 15. I was adopted by a wonderful family but it was too late. I was so damaged. The final nail in the coffin is when I met my bio dad and he got caught sleeping with my under aged step sister. After that, I was dead inside.
Around 16 was when my maliciousness and disregard for others kicked in. If you didn't hurt them, they'd hurt you. I've hurt so many people in my life. By 21 I was trying to numb it all with drugs, alcohol and the high I got from hurting others. I was on my way to becoming a psychopath. Eat or be eaten was my mentality.

At 22, they caught the man who killed my mother and my whole life changed. I had never dealt with her death. This man, he admitted to everything, they wouldn't plea him because it was premeditated. I went to his first court hearing where they read the charges, expecting to see a monster. Instead, I saw a man whose family (wife and 2 kids) sat behind him in anguish. My heart fell. I knew that look. I knew that pain, that fear. His family changed me heart. I was so angry at him yet I was overcome with a compassion because I saw the remorse and the fear he had. This was obviously not the same man he was 10 years ago. I immediately advocated that he not be eligible for the death penalty. I couldn't do that to his family, not his girls.
He ended up getting life in prison with possibility of parole. He reached out to me shortly after for victims impact. We both had to speak to the same therapist (at separate times for about 8 months), then the time came. I sat in a room with a therapist and my mother's murderer and had no idea what to say. He started crying and thanked me for advocating for his life, in my disdain towards him, I informed him I could never do to his family what he did to mine, it wasn't for him. Then he started to tell me about the days that all of it happened in, the why, the thought process. I realized I had had the same exact thought process. I was no different than this man, I just hadn't escalated yet. He told me of his upbringing, even with my tragedies, I couldn't imagine living his life. In that moment, I didn't have pity but I had understanding. Before he got caught, he had turned his life around and was trying to do right, I saw and felt his remorse, his guilt, his self loathing. I felt it for myself too. I was no different than the man in front of me, I just hadn't been dead enough inside to kill yet. I stared at the person I had yet to become. I realized I had become my mother and her murderer. I looked at him and I cried. He changed, so could I. My mother's murderer inspired me and changed me. I forgave him and cried with him. Who was I to condemn this man? Had I killed anyone? No, but was I a good person deserving of redemption? Just as much as he was. I forgave him that day and I got the help I needed and turned my life around like he did. Like my mom should've.

I guess the point of this post is that when dealing with someone who murders, they aren't all monsters. People can become and are products of their environments. Some are strong enough to pull out of it, some succumb to he damage dealt upon them. Some really can't be saved. I just don't understand how someone can look at another person and wish death upon them. I'll never understand how he could do that to my mother but he did. I couldn't wish that fate on him, his family, it'd be no better than him. It would be premeditated murder in my eyes. I'll be there for his first parole and I'll advocate for his release. People can change after mistakes, after huge ones. Why are some so eager to dole out death and even rejoice when it's painful? It's not a tenant of Christianity (NT) to want those to suffer, it's of forgiveness and grace. Why not extend it to them? Wouldn't your god?
by on Apr. 30, 2014 at 9:55 PM
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Replies (1-10):
ashellbell
by shellbark on Apr. 30, 2014 at 9:56 PM
1 mom liked this
Holy crap that was long, sorry!
snookyfritz
by Platinum Member on Apr. 30, 2014 at 10:25 PM
5 moms liked this
Your journey sounds like a long one. I've lost a lot of people to drugs too. One friend with a heart of gold who took me in when no one else would was killed in Southwest DC, shot in the chest over $20. My BIl over the same sort of thing.
People who had "normal' lives, who have neve exprienced the harsh realities, tend to take a harsher view.. I think those of us who have seen the worst of life and witnessed horrible things and lost everything, can understand more, how easy it is to make life altering mistakes.I don't think it has so much to do with being a Christian as it does being sheltered.
This is written on my phone I hope it's readable
AtiFreeFalls
by Silver Member on Apr. 30, 2014 at 10:39 PM
4 moms liked this

In my experience, people who hold beliefs like you describe see things in black and white.  There are no shades of grey in their world.  It's okay to kill an adult because they did a bad thing, but a fetus (or even a fertilized egg) is a HUMAN BEING and should be endowed with certain unalienable rights.  Because they cannot have done anything wrong.  

I used to be one of these people, and I understand the desire to make the world simple and either/or.  It just doesn't work like that, though.

AtiFreeFalls
by Silver Member on Apr. 30, 2014 at 10:40 PM

Also, I read your whole post and I am so very sorry such terrible things have befallen you.  I"m glad you found your way out.

I didn't deal with even a fraction of what you did, but I also feel that my personal pain made me more likely to find disdain in my heart than empathy for a long time.

romalove
by Roma on Apr. 30, 2014 at 10:42 PM
7 moms liked this
I always just want to hug you, ash.
Donna6503
by Platinum Member on Apr. 30, 2014 at 10:52 PM
1 mom liked this
Ash, thanks for sharing, I really can't add anything.
ashellbell
by shellbark on Apr. 30, 2014 at 10:53 PM
3 moms liked this
Perhaps you are correct. I have a friend who had a lovely childhood, never experienced a truly traumatic moment who couldn't believe that I could ever empathize with the man who killed mother. But she also didn't know me when I had succumbed to my upbringing. I've done truly awful things to people, things that cause guilt and shame that I can never take back. I've done things to myself that I can never take back. I've learned to forgive myself but not forget. People don't realize it's not just as simple as "it's wrong you don't do it." Some of us have truly been damaged and the lines of what's right and wrong are different than the normal "right and wrong". People don't understand addiction, abuse, and overall trauma unless they experience. I guess words can never truly explain the grey area of it all.

Quoting snookyfritz: Your journey sounds like a long one. I've lost a lot of people to drugs too. One friend with a heart of gold who took me in when no one else would was killed in Southwest DC, shot in the chest over $20. My BIl over the same sort of thing.
People who had "normal' lives, who have neve exprienced the harsh realities, tend to take a harsher view.. I think those of us who have seen the worst of life and witnessed horrible things and lost everything, can understand more, how easy it is to make life altering mistakes.I don't think it has so much to do with being a Christian as it does being sheltered.
This is written on my phone I hope it's readable
ashellbell
by shellbark on Apr. 30, 2014 at 10:54 PM
1 mom liked this
We all have our struggles and hardships. I got lucky and that's the truth. Luck.

Quoting AtiFreeFalls:

Also, I read your whole post and I am so very sorry such terrible things have befallen you.  I"m glad you found your way out.

I didn't deal with even a fraction of what you did, but I also feel that my personal pain made me more likely to find disdain in my heart than empathy for a long time.

lga1965
by on Apr. 30, 2014 at 11:11 PM
1 mom liked this
Yup.

Quoting romalove: I always just want to hug you, ash.
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MeAndTommyLee
by Gold Member on Apr. 30, 2014 at 11:11 PM
3 moms liked this
You are a very inspiring person. I agree with everything you said. Your harrowing experiences have given you a perspective many can't fathom. Stay strong, peaceful and pass it on.
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