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Friday, September 30, 2011

Killing the right people

There have been a lot of posts about capital punishment and the death penalty lately in the religious blogosphere - almost always against it (and I myself am against it). Today, though, I came across this by Aquinas scholar Edward Feser - In Defense of Capital Punishment. His article champions the idea that it's not wrong to kill people as long as the people you are killing deserve it ...

it is clear that the intentional killing of a human being is not intrinsically wrong. What is intrinsically wrong is the intentional killing of an innocent human being. That is why, contrary to what Tollefsen insinuates, those who oppose abortion and euthanasia but support capital punishment are perfectly consistent in their thinking.

This seems like an example of the disconnect between scholasticism and gospel Christianity. Thomas Aquinas wrote in support of capital punishment ... But the life of certain pestiferous men is an impediment to the common good which is the concord of human society. Therefore, certain men must be removed by death from the society of men. ... sounds like what the authorities said about Jesus.


Blogger William D. Lindsey said...

Crystal, great posting--and I love that word "pestiferous," from Thomas.

Can you imagine Jesus himself talking about "pestiferous" people whose death might benefit society?

I can't, at all.

3:50 PM  
Blogger crystal said...

Hi William,

No, I can't either! Sometimes it seems like Thomas Aquinas and the other scholastics made it their mission to redefine all the counter-intuitive good news of the gospels ;)

7:36 PM  
Blogger Deacon Denny said...

Well, I'd give Thomas a bye on that one. We have better, surer choices in our world -- prison effectively removes "dangerous" people from society, which is one reason the Vatican eventually came out against the death penalty a few years ago.

Not long ago I read a book by John Grishom on capital punishment: "The Confession." Though fiction, it was very believable.

I had never heard of the word "pestferous"!

8:24 PM  
Blogger crystal said...

'Pestiferous" - it sounds likesomeone with an insect infestation :)

10:29 PM  
Blogger Deacon Denny said...

That's a good one, Crystal!

8:56 AM  

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