Saturday, February 16, 2019


Here's a story that got attention this week:
... a Wyoming lawmaker who helped defeat a bill to repeal capital punishment used the novel argument that Christianity was founded on the death penalty, in the sense that Jesus was crucified by the state as a criminal.

“The greatest man who ever lived died via the death penalty for you and me,” State Sen. Lynn Hutchings, R-Cheyenne, told the Casper Star-Tribune. “I’m grateful to him for our future hope because of this. Governments were instituted to execute justice. If it wasn’t for Jesus dying via the death penalty, we would all have no hope.”
That may have sounded peculiar to a lot of you, but not to me. Here's a photo I took in Pennsylvania in late October 1988:

The Democratic candidate for president at that time was Mike Dukakis -- the last major-party candidate to be a declared opponent of the death penalty. He was attacked for this by the George H.W. Bush campaign, and then -- as is so often the case -- a mainstream-media journalist, CNN's Bernard Shaw, joined the pile-on by asking Dukakis a shocking debate question about his wife: "Governor, if Kitty Dukakis were raped and murdered, would you favor an irrevocable death penalty for the killer?"

Dukakis lost Pennsylvania by less than two and a half points. In fact, Dukakis won only ten states plus the District of Columbia. No major-party nominee has dared to be positioned as a death penalty opponent ever since.

Should we support the death penalty because Jesus was subject to it? Seems silly to me. But it's an old idea.

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