Back when we were having the debate over Capital Punishment one of the areas that always comes up is whether it is just, and the fact that God has a bunch of rules in the Old Testament that have, as their sentence, death.
At that point, I hadn’t even realized that up until yesterday six states had the death penalty as the result of the rape of a minor.
What I think is interesting about this ruling is that, up until yesterday, states could declare that things other than murder could result in the death penalty. Which struck me as interesting when we are supposed to be so enlightened in this day and age, and the Old Testament so backwards.
But I think the more interesting bit to think about is the whole concept of “finding things” in documents—finding rights, finding new truths, and the whole concept of a living document.
It’s said that you can find passages in the Bible passages to make the Bible back any argument. In fact, that’s one of the things leveled against Christianity by Atheists and Agnostics—the varying interpretations of the Bible.
However, what the Justices showed us yesterday, is that you’re also able to find anything you want in the Constitution. They can take an Amendment about Cruel and Unusual Punishment and apply it, nearly at will, to what the states decide—what the people decide—and that is the end of the discussion.
Certainly, the Constitution had nothing to say about what deserved the death penalty, and the Supreme Court just recently ruled that the Death Penalty was Constitutional. So what gave these Justices the right to decide for the state what heinous crimes deserved the Death Penalty? Where did the Congress and President declare that the Death Penalty could only be used for cases of murder? The other branches certainly could have done that—but they had not.
We cross a fine line when we move from saying what the law says to saying what we think the law should say. And this is the same admonition to Christians. We must say what God says about something, and refrain from saying what we think God says about a thing. Because we often have the tendency to mistake our thoughts for His thoughts—when His thoughts are far greater.