Monday, 23 February 2015

The Bali Two

We can’t get away from the impending execution of the Bali Two - Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran. Everyone, it seems, has a view.

The old biblical idea of “an eye for and eye and a tooth for a tooth” was meant to be a principal that stopped people going too far in their anger and desire for “Justice”.  It put limits, even on the state,  on the desire for vengeance – “you can go this far in your punishment of wrong-doing but no further.”
Each nation, and often states within nations, decide what is appropriate when it come to the ultimate punishment.

Drug dealing is a terrible crime. It pushes evil at the expense of lives to make money. (Not a lot of difference with gambling to my mind but that is another issue.)  Those who engage in pushing drugs deserve to be punished. No one disagrees with that.  The issue is whether or not the death penalty is appropriate.

A nation has every right to come up with its own set of penalties and execution does not of itself contradict the Bible’s command not to commit murder.  In the Bible murder is unlawful killing – taking the law into your own hands.  It does not include lawful execution. 

However, it is so final and I for one would not wish to consign a person to God’s final judgment without giving them every opportunity and all the time possible to repent.  And that is not taking into account the fact that a disturbing number of people have been executed over the years who were innocent.  

Furthermore, the death penalty punishes the innocent family.  You could argue that any alternative to the death penalty would do that as well, but the families of these two men seem to be saying very clearly that the death penalty will hurt them far more than life imprisonment. Not being in their shoes I’m in no position to disagree.

In the end we need to be sure that doing something that is “legal” does not diminish us as human beings or as a society.

By Bruce Dingwall, Senior Minister

1 comment:

  1. Thanks Bruce for your comments. It is hard not to have thought about the application of the Death Penalty in these recent days. On the one hand, these guys knowingly broke the law of Indonesia with the penalty being widely published - and they deserve to be punished.

    For me it has raised the issues of the consequence of our law breaking as well as the issue of how justice is applied.

    As a society we have been conditioned to think that if we do the wrong thing, and get caught, then we can say sorry or plead our case and get off the hook. I know that I have written to ask to be let off the hook for a speeding fine (a trivial matter I know but that is our attitude). What parent has not "discussion" with their child about the severity of punishment?

    We don't seem to think that there should be consequences to be faced when we do the wrong thing. Law breaking always costs someone. The ultimate example is of course the cost that God bore when we broke/break his laws.

    Overlaid on all of this are the issues of rehabilitation, forgiveness and mercy, which we as God's people continually experience from his hand. BUT we will still be called to give and account for our deeds, as will all people.

    My biggest issue, however, in the case of these two souls is not the application of the Death Penalty, but the cruelty to these men and their families of the announcement that they will be executed in February but then dragging it out one day at a time on the world stage for political reasons - that is just CRUEL.