|10-26-2011, 09:54 AM||#1|
Joined: Jul 2011
From: n ireland
In today's Huffington Post Alec Baldwin states that California will be the next death penalty battle ground.My father a retired RUC officer with politics to the right of Atilla the Hun believes that the death penalty is the only effective deterrent.I believe it is better that 100 guilty men walk free rather than risk that 1 innocent man could be put to death
|10-26-2011, 10:37 AM||#2|
Joined: Sep 2010
Well, I think it depends the death penalty is for what crime.
The Baha'i view with regards to the Death Penalty is explained in the Aqdas:
The law of Bahá’u’lláh prescribes the death penalty for murder and arson, with the alternative of life imprisonment (see note 87).
In His Tablets ‘Abdu’l-Bahá explains the difference between revenge and punishment. He affirms that individuals do not have the right to take revenge, that revenge is despised in the eyes of God, and that the motive for punishment is not vengeance, but the imposition of a penalty for the committed offence. In Some Answered Questions, He confirms that it is the right of society to impose punishments on criminals for the purpose of protecting its members and defending its existence. 204
With regard to this provision, Shoghi Effendi in a letter written on his behalf gives the following explanation:
In the Aqdas Bahá’u’lláh has given death as the penalty for murder. However, He has permitted life imprisonment as an alternative. Both practices would be in accordance with His Laws. Some of us may not be able to grasp the wisdom of this when it disagrees with our own limited vision; but we must accept it, knowing His Wisdom, His Mercy and His Justice are perfect and for the salvation of the entire world. If a man were falsely condemned to die, can we not believe Almighty God would compensate him a thousandfold, in the next world, for this human injustice? You cannot give up a salutary law just because on rare occasions the innocent may be punished.
The details of the Bahá’í law of punishment for murder and arson, a law designed for a future state of society, were not specified by Bahá’u’lláh. The various details of the law, such as degrees of offence, whether extenuating circumstances are to be taken into account, and which of the two prescribed punishments is to be the norm are left to the Universal House of Justice to decide in light of prevailing conditions when the law is to be in operation. The manner in which the punishment is to be carried out is also left to the Universal House of Justice to decide.
In relation to arson, this depends on what “house” is burned. There is obviously a tremendous difference in the degree of offence between the person who burns down an empty warehouse and one who sets fire to a school full of children.
Bahá'í Reference Library - The Kitáb-i-Aqdas, Pages 203-204
|10-26-2011, 11:29 AM||#3|
Joined: Sep 2010
From: United Kingdom
I share many of your thoughts on this Aiden
In the UK the death penalty was annulled many years ago, and it is expressly banned in all EU member states. The European Union holds a strong and principled position against the death penalty; its abolition is a key objective for the Union’s human rights policy. Abolition is, of course, also a pre-condition for entry into the Union.
To this end, we Europeans look with distaste (largely) on those American states which permit the death penalty. Often this has been abused, leading to the deaths particularly of a high % of innocent Afro-American men, as a result of their skin colour.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that the death penalty is permissible in cases of extreme gravity. The Church teaches that capital punishment is allowed if the "guilty party's identity and responsibility have been fully determined" and if the death penalty is the only way to defend others against the guilty party.
However, if there are other means available to defend people from the "unjust aggressor", these means are preferred to the death penalty because they are considered to be more respectful of the dignity of the person and in keeping with the common good.
Because today's society makes possible effective means for preventing crime without execution, the Catechism declares that "the cases in which execution of the offender is an absolute necessity 'are very rare, if practically nonexistent'.
I agree with the Church and would say that society has probably moved beyond the need for death penalty, except perhaps in extreme situations where people might be at risk (ie a dictator like Hitler during a time of war, who might - if he survived - incite further acts of violence and continue to spread his ideology).
However, that is a VERY RARE example.
I thus also support the European Convention of Human Rights in this respect for two reasons:
1) The inherent dignity of human life, made in the Image of God, demands respect even if the accused did not show the same respect to his fellow man. I think that it is the hallmark of a truly humane society if it does not pay "evil for evil" in dishing out punishments by taking away the life of one who commits murder. Life imprisonment yes, but I am not certain that man should have the right to take life, apart from in self-defence or in times of war (when it is unavoidable). The Catholic Church strongly opposes the death penalty, which has caused a lot of friction between the Church and the US in the past. Church fathers such as Clement of Rome and Justin Martyr asserted that the taking of human life is incompatible with the gospel and exhorted Christians not to participate in capital punishment.
2) Capital Punishment is so EASY to abuse. You can redeem an innocent man who has been given life imprisonment and allow him to regain some kind of free life, but you cannot bring someone back from the dead. It is final. Do we really want our society to have the execution of innocent people on our conscience? Is that not a culture of death?
|10-26-2011, 02:13 PM||#4|
Joined: Mar 2010
From: Rockville, MD, USA
But things aren't always that simple.
While the Baha'i scriptures do permit the death penalty, 'Abdu'l-Baha also states explicitly in one of his tablets that anyone executed is considered by God to have paid for his crime and is therefore not subject to further punishment in the Next Life (Selections #152).
And this may actually imply that it is to the criminal's advantage to request the death penalty in order to be held harmless later on.
I'm taking no stance either pro or con here, but this is clearly food for further thought.
|10-26-2011, 02:40 PM||#5|
Joined: Sep 2010
From: United Kingdom
“We cannot endure even to see a man put to death, though justly.” – Saint Athenagoras of Athens (aprox 180 AD), Church Father, A Plea for the Christians 35
"When God forbids us to kill, he not only prohibits the violence that is condemned by public laws, but he also forbids the violence that is deemed lawful by men. Thus it is not lawful for a just man to engage in warfare, since his warfare is justice itself. Nor is it lawful to accuse anyone of a capital offense. It makes no difference whether you put a man to death by word, or by the sword. It is the act of putting to death itself which is prohibited. Therefore, regarding this precept of God there should be no exception at all. Rather it is always unlawful to put to death a man, whom God willed to be a sacred animal.” – Lactantius, Church Father (aprox 240-317 AD), Divine Institutes 6.20
"During the first few centuries after Jesus' execution, Christians were instructed to not participate in the execution of a criminal, to not attend public executions, and even to not lay a charge against a person if it might possibly eventually result in their execution. Clement of Rome, Justin Martyr and other Christian writers who discussed capital punishment during the first three centuries after Jesus' execution were absolutely opposed to it." - VIEWS OF THE EARLY CHRISTIAN MOVEMENTS ON THE DEATH PENALTY
...So as you can see the Church Fathers were clearly opposed to Capital Punishment. Church fathers such as Clement of Rome and Justin Martyr asserted that the taking of human life is incompatible with the gospel and exhorted Christians not to participate in capital punishment. Sadly from the 5th century onward, the church's opposition to the death penalty declined - after Christianity became the state religion of the Roman Empire under Theodsius - since it got wrapped up in the affairs of state, and so capital punishment was recognized as a means of deterring the wicked and protecting the innocent.
However the Church later returned to its "roots" and re-affirmed the consistent doctrine of the Fathers, which opposed unequivocally the death penalty.
I can usually always find the answer to even contemporary moral questions from the Writings of the Fathers from 90 AD to the 6th or 7th centuries. These men never fail to amaze me with their wisdom and depth of knowledge. They proclaimed religious liberty, freedom of conscience, separation of religion from politics, pacifism and so forth...
But that's only my opinion (and the Church Fathers).
Last edited by Yeshua; 10-26-2011 at 02:51 PM.
|10-26-2011, 03:21 PM||#6|
Joined: Mar 2011
From: san diego
In my opinion it shows a need for social teachings for this age and as time passes for progressive teachings. All of it leading me back to the Baha'i faith!
|10-26-2011, 03:26 PM||#7|
Joined: Aug 2010
From: Leiden, the Netherlands
Abdu'l-Baha is reported to have said,
""Human conditions and exigencies are such that even the question of capital punishment -- the one penalty which most nations have continued to enforce for murder -- is now under discussion by wise men who are debating its advisability. In fact, laws for the ordinary conditions of life are only valid temporarily. The exigencies of the time of Moses justified cutting off a man's hand for theft, but such a penalty is not allowable now. Time changes conditions, and laws change to suit conditions."
(The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 365)
I would agree with the Catholic catechism, and the Fathers, that the situations in which capital punishment is necessary are very very rare today, given that imprisonment is quite practicable, in reasonably affluent societies.
… let no soul slay another; this, verily, is that which was forbidden you in a Book that hath lain concealed within the Tabernacle of glory. What! Would ye kill him whom God hath quickened, whom He hath endowed with spirit through a breath from Him? Grievous then would be your trespass before His throne! Fear God, and lift not the hand of injustice and oppression to destroy what He hath Himself raised up; (Kitab-e Aqdas para 73)
|10-26-2011, 04:05 PM||#8|
Joined: Sep 2010
From: United Kingdom
|10-26-2011, 05:29 PM||#10|
Joined: Jun 2006
Incarceration in the United States - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
There are rampant issues of racial inequality through out the system which need review and study..and this also suggests there are systemic problems in the general society related to educational opportunities, employment and housing issues..
In California there was an execution about six years ago
Capital punishment in California - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
As far as the Baha'i Faith is concerned capital punishment is allowed.. but bear in mind we do not have a Baha'i society as yet operating according to Baha'i law ...and given that I would think that many of the issues of racial equality and justice would have to be dealt before a Baha'i state or one influenced by Baha'i laws would enact a death penalty.
There is an interesting series of questions that were posed and responded to by Baha'is. I quote the one about Capital Punishment:
23. Is capital punishment acceptable; if so, for what offenses?
As an act of justice, capital punishment for murder is permitted, though life imprisonment is an acceptable alternative: "The law of Bahá'u'lláh prescribes the death penalty for murder and arson, with the alternative of life imprisonment." (Anonymous: The Kitáb-i-Aqdas, note 86, page 203-204).
The reason for such punishment must be understood to be corrective, not retributive. It is understood to have a cathartic result on the soul of the criminal and in taking away his life he will not have to pay for his crime in the next world. The above note continues:
In His Tablets Abdu'l-Bahá explains the difference between revenge and punishment. He affirms that individuals do not have the right to take revenge, that revenge is despised in the eyes of God, and that the motive for punishment is not vengeance, but the imposition of a penalty for the committed offence. In Some Answered Questions, He confirms that it is the right of society to impose punishments on criminals for the purpose of protecting its members and defending its existence."
Having said this, capital punishment will only be enforced in a future Bahá'í society when humanity has "reached a much higher point of evolution," not in the society that we are living in now. It cannot be said in advance how a future Bahá'í society will apply which punishments to which types of offenses:
The details of the Baha'i law of punishment for murder and arson, a law designed for a future state of society, were not specified by Baha'u'llah. The various details of the law, such as degrees of offence, whether extenuating circumstances are to be taken into account, and which of the two prescribed punishments is to be the norm are left to the Universal House of Justice to decide in light of prevailing conditions when the law is to be in operation. The manner in which the punishment is to be carried out is also left to the Universal House of Justice to decide.
Fifty-five Questions on Bahá'í Ethics
Answers to questions submitted by Arthur Dobrin in preparation for a sourcebook in religious ethics
for a college course at Hofstra University, New York
Compiled and edited by Jonah Winters from
answers and quotations provided by Dianne Bradford and Fiona Missaghian
with input from Bill Garlington, Jason Sandlin, Robert Stauffer, Robert Stockman
prefaced with introduction by Udo Schaefer
Fifty-five Questions on Bahá'í Ethics
|10-27-2011, 02:29 AM||#12|
Joined: Jun 2006
I look on it as when I'm going to graduate from this plane of existence to the next..the worlds of God.
Baha'u'llah revealed in the Hidden Words:
O SON OF THE SUPREME!
I have made death a messenger of joy to thee. Wherefore dost thou grieve? I made the light to shed on thee its splendor. Why dost thou veil thyself therefrom?
~ Baha'u'llah, The Arabic Hidden Words
Also this from Abdul-Baha:
O thou spiritual friend! This world is a prison for heavenly souls, and this earthly world is but a cage, and not a nest, unto the divine birds. A prisoner who is awake and conscious will certainly seek for freedom, and mindful bird will certainly wish for deliverance from the cage. When the heart becometh free from attachment unto this world, it will crave for the world of the Kingdom and seek for eternal life.
~ Abdu'l-Baha, Tablets of Abdu'l-Baha v1, p. 109
|10-30-2011, 10:57 AM||#13|
Joined: Oct 2011
Thank you for those quotes Arthra.
To me it is quite simple, death is not something to be feared.
I see most people fear death, and they see death as a punishment when in fact it is a blessing.
So Aiden says it is better for 100 guilty to go free than one innocent be put to death.
Let me remind all that laws are for the protection of society as a whole, how many times we see the guilty released and they go out and inflict more suffering upon society? That one innocent should go to the next life where they will receive their reward from God for so suffering, is this not realy a blessing.
I think instead of getting hooked up in the emotional thinking we should explore the Writings and learn to see things clearly.