Thursday, December 1, 2011

A Moral Imperative

For many people, the case of The People vs. Scott Peterson is closed, and rightly so.  They are satisfied that he is guilty and justice has been served.  They have no moral imperative to do anything more.

But others of us do have a moral imperative.  Through our analysis of the evidence and through our own investigations, we have discovered that it's not possible that Scott Peterson committed these murders.

So many want to put criminals behind bars and throw away the key.  They want no more than the barest of existence for them.  But that is not the attitude Jesus Christ had.  He did not want crime to go unpunished, but he did want charity towards prisoners.  In the Gospel of St. Matthew, Chapter 25, we read:

31 ¶When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:
 32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:
 33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.
 34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
 35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:
 36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
 37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?
 38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?
 39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
 40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
Christ then went on to say in this parable that those who did not do likewise unto the least of these were cast into everlasting fire.

That's a sobering thought, that we are supposed to care not only for the needy and the sick, but also for the imprisoned.  If the Gospel of Jesus Christ has the moral imperative to visit the imprisoned, how much greater is the moral imperative to fight to correct the injustice of a wrongful conviction?

Letting the System run its course is an option for someone who believes Scott is guilty, but not for those who know he is innocent.  Christian principles demand that whatever can be done must be done until the injustice is corrected.


Burkey said...

This Matthew character sounds like some kinda socialist or something!

People who talk Bible mostly don't seem have this page marked.

I like these verses because they challenge the mind when it comes to spirituality, authority, compassion, openmindedness, forgiveness, loneliness, and responsibility.

Burkey said...

But I also like, I think, that it seems to say: if we care for each other, we are caring for God.

LA Curry said...

Thanks so much for this post, Marlene.

Burkey, thanks for the chuckle reading your first comment gave me. :)

The world would be such a better place if we would all care more for our brothers and sisters...even when and if they err.

I have always said I do not know, for sure, whether Scott is guilty or innocent but, I remain certain that he did not have a fair trial. Here's the clincher....EVEN IF this man were guilty, I do not believe he should be sentenced to death. That death penalty idea was probably formed by someone taking one part of the bible out of context and away from the true meaning of the entire story. These posts refresh just a part of the entire story.

Thanks again, Marlene! Have a blessed holiday season!

Marlene Newell said...

La Curry, the Law of Moses did indeed have the death penalty for certain sins, namely adultery (and the male was stoned also, not just the female as commonly believed). However, the death penalty required 3 witnesses, and the accuser had to be the one to throw the first stone. Moreover, the Law of Moses also included the law that if someone testified falsely against someone, he/she received the same punishment the accused would have or did receive. So in the case of the death penalty, if a witness lied and it was found out, that person would get the death penalty. I think that would make witnesses a bit more thoughtful about what they said on the witness stand, and prosecutors and police a bit more thoughtful about how truthfully they presented the evidence.

Also, the Law of Moses didn't imprison people -- the guilty person had to restore what was taken from the victim, sometimes as much as 5-fold. The death penalty was invoked because a person can't restore certain things.

Christ lived in the time when the Jews were under Roman control, and the Romans did imprison people, as did other non-Jewish cultures during the times of the Old Testament and New Testament.

As well I believe that Christ didn't speak just to his generation; he spoke for all generations.

Burkey, there's lots of stuff in the New Testament that Christians don't want to acknowledge is there, such as turn the other cheek; if you are sued for your coat, give your cloak also; and the list goes on. The Apostle John said, if you say you love God and hate your neighbor, you are a liar, because you cannot love God and hate your neighbor.

What people seem incapable of doing is to exact Justice without hating the accused. There is such a thing as "tough love" but there's also "easy hate."

Burkey said...

I'm reading that last sentence of yours Marlene, and trying to figure out where to go from there, but the only thing that comes to mind is "damn!"

It brought me to thinking about the phrase, "He who is without sin cast the first stone," and led me to this International Standard Bible version of John 8:7:

"When they persisted in questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, "Let the person among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her."

Here's the link:

It seems from the link that Bible experts believe the meaning of "he who is without sin" is he who is without that particular sin, or without a heinous sin on his heart.

As opposed to He who is without Any sin.

Two different interpretations could arise here..

@LA Curry,
I've just been really interested in this case since I started reading about it awhile back. I actually do believe Peterson is innocent, because I believe Dalton's witnesses, I believe Dr. Galloway, I believe Marlene's analysis concluding that the bodies could not have spent four months at sea, then washed ashore.

And so on..there are just so many holes, I mean, unanswered questions or contradictions in the official story, of how he supposedly did it, but the story in the end does not hang together for me. It's more than reasonable doubt for me, I would say strong doubt.

Marlene Newell said...

Burkey, I'm glad you bring up that incident in the New Testament. The complete story is that some men said this woman was "caught in the very act" and should be stoned. Well, if she was caught in the very act, then they also caught the man -- so why wasn't he also brought to be stoned? The Law of Moses called for both the man and the woman to be stoned.

Therefore, they were grossly perverting the Law of Moses by wanting to stone only the woman. It seems they had built up a culture wherein it was alright for men to commit adultery, and of course they needed women to do that, but then the women were seen to be the cause of their adultery.

As you said, there was likely more than one man in that group that had committed adultery, and perhaps even one or more who had participated in stoning the woman he committed adultery with.

Burkey said...

That's very interesting..a man's world, huh.

One thing about the Bible that I think has caused enormous damage to the planet is the whole business about man having dominion over animals. Total justification for the horrible condition of factory farms, which are hellholes, and which our food comes from.

I got an A in Old Testament, a D in New Testament (at Baylor)....I don't know what that means exactly. But I know I liked the Old Testament better. Seemed more interesting to me. Not that Jesus wasn't cool, and not that I haven't wondered what would happen if he happened upon Planet Earth today.
I have a feeling he would be crucified.

Marlene Newell said...

I just noticed at the trial of Jesus before Pilate, he wanted to turn Jesus over to them, but they said it was not lawful for them to put someone to death, so they wanted Pilate to pronounce the death sentence on behalf of Rome. How then were they planning to stone the woman caught in adultery?