Sunday, April 1, 2012

Justice with Mercy

Occupy justice with mercy.

There are seven “classical” sources cited in the video “Historical Evidence for the Existence of Christ and the Resurrection” that affirm the existence of Jesus as someone who had been crucified and had started the Christian religion.

(The video shows good skill in research but suffers from problems with the audio)

The sources were using the account of the crucifixion to explain the persecution of the Christians by the Roman empire.
Despite claims to the contrary regarding the pax Romana, there was no freedom of religion for monotheists. Polytheism was only tolerated insofar as it contributed to emperor worship. Emperor worship was being used to justify the use of war for imperial expansion and the use of the death penalty for genocide to eliminate social groups that did not agree with emperor worship.
Christians proclaim Jesus as the Christ despite the fact that he was neither an emperor nor a king. Jesus had taught belief in the love of God during the imperial celebration of the cult of death. This expression of faith continued the anticipation for freedom of religion that had started with Cyrus.
Constantine had actually favored Arius and the Aryan priesthood when he was baptized on his deathbed. Constantine is regarded as the emperor who had made Christianity the religion for the empire. While there are those who see Constantine’s contribution as a celebration of Christianity, it only used the religion as a cloak for emperor worship. Constantine opened the door to the ‘third reich’ for Hitler.
Freedom of religion doesn't rule out participation in a democratic society. It rules out Christianity or any other religion as the sect for the state. People choose their own religion. Citizens need to participate in democracy to communicate representation to the leadership of the government.
Justice with Mercy (Fm Ps.118)

Give thanks.
God is good.
Let your mercy endure.

Let the people say,
“The mercy of Christ will endure forever.”

Open for me the gates of paradise.
I will enter. I will give thanks.
This is the gateway to justice.
The righteous will enter and be satisfied.
The stone that the builders had rejected
has become the chief cornerstone.
This is the LORD’s doing.
It is marvelous in our eyes.
The divine will has been fulfilled.
We will rejoice and be glad in it.
Please save us, God. Have mercy on us!
Blessed are those who come in the name of the LORD.
We will bless you in the assembly of holiness.
We will form a procession with palms that reach
to heaven.
We will shine forth as rays from the sun.
God is the LORD!
You are the LORD, God. We thank you.
You are God, Lord Christ. We exalt you.
Give thanks.
The mercy of Christ
will endure forever.
Having mercy does not mean that we are to turn a blind eye to the truth. It means that we are to look at the evidence to form a judgment about what happened. Then we want to correct the offense.
The recorded police call from George Zimmerman on the night that Trayvon Martin was killed shows that TM had run from GZ.  Z. was the aggressor. Martin weighed much less than Z. (80 lbs) GZ was wearing a light colored t-shirt under his red jacket.
TM's girlfriend reports that TM pulled up his “hoodie” to avoid conflict with GZ; TM ran; he was pushed so his headset fell off.
Another 911 call records the voice of a young male crying for help. Numerous pops were heard before a gunshot put an end to the yelling. (see "Mother Jones" mag. for a full report)
The video at the police station shows that GZ had no blood on his face; no visible damage to the back of his head, but there was blood on the lower part of his jacket (consistent with a man shooting someone under him).

ABC News
GZ on Police Video
The Zimmerman's would have us believe that GZ had pursued a smaller male, then found himself on the ground being beaten. He was about to have his head bashed onto concrete when he pulled his gun and shot TM in self-defense. Unbelievable!
Self-defense has been ruled out. GZ was the aggressor. He is guilty for killing TM. He needs to be put on trial for murder.

Trial in a constitutional democracy with a bill of rights is a merciful act. GZ has not been shot to take a life for a life. He has to stand trial for the murder of a young man. Jail provides protective custody from vigilante retaliation. A court of law evaluates the charge with a jury of citizens.

Arguments have to be expressed by lawyers in a way that is clear enough for a non-professional to understand. When the jury has made a decision, the judge determines what the sentencing will be if the accused is convicted on a charge. There are those who say that it is only cruel to take the murderer’s life when there is a shadow of doubt regarding the conviction. There are others who assert that taking life is the sole province of God. If only the murderer had believed that assertion.
A crime that is not as serious as murder can be corrected with reparations. Retribution is often affected with prison under the provision that it keeps the convicted offender from offending again for the duration of the sentence. When monetary retribution is possible, it is rendered as restitution. When community service is affective, it is used for correction.

The purpose of justice is to achieve correction for an offense. Murder is a capital offense because it takes correction with reparation off the table. How is the murderer to give life back to those from whom the life had been taken?
How are we to counter a murderer’s rule of death? Is it life in prison or is it the death penalty? We want justice with mercy, but those who decided that life can be taken from another or others have already decided that life is a prison that can only be ruled by the oppression of others.

How is life in prison in the ‘prison of life’ to prove tolerable to one who would claim power over life and death? How is a murderer in prison to be punished if he takes the life of another prisoner?
These are important questions to consider when looking at the death penalty. Is humane execution the form that is required by belief in merciful justice? Humane execution is only just if it is imposed on someone who has been proven to be guilty of murder beyond the shadow of a doubt.

This is a time when many of us are remembering that the crucifixion of Jesus stands as a reminder that the death penalty has been used to kill many who were not guilty of a capital offense. Proving guilt beyond the shadow of a doubt is not as easy as it has been taken to be historically.
Civil Twilight – On the Surface (with lyrics)

“If life is an ocean then we are only on the surface.”
Please reflect upon the depth of consequence associated with belief and behavior.
Occupy justice with mercy,

Steve K.

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