Thursday, September 06, 2007

And now… an EU day against the death penalty

The European Commission has proposed the creation of a 'European day against the death Penalty', to be commemorated annually on 10th October. It is intended that this day should fuse with the 'World Day against the Death Penalty', which has taken place on 10th October every year since 2003.

Cranmer has no idea of the significance of the date, which appears to have been arbitrarily plucked out of the air. Unless, that is, the date has been selected by the European Commission because it coincides with the German annexation of Czechoslovakia's Sudetenland in 1938, or the annexation of Western Poland by the Third Reich in 1939.

However, the ‘justice experts’ who met in Brussels to decree our new commemorative day have clashed with Poland, which is increasingly supplanting the United Kingdom as the nation most likely to save Europe from herself. Poland argues that the issue ‘should form part of a broader discussion on life and death – including abortion and euthanasia’. It is admirable indeed that Roman Catholic Poland should seek to raise the temperature on the whole Sanctity of Life issue: why, indeed, should society tolerate the termination of the lives of millions of unborn, yet protest at the ‘infinite worth’ of the ‘human dignity’ of murderers, paedophiles or rapists?

Poland argues that the idea of the right to life cannot be reduced to the death penalty problem alone: ‘We think that when anybody wants to discuss a problem of death in the context of the law it is also worth to discuss on euthanasia and abortion in this context’.

But the European Commission rejects any such link between the death penalty and other ‘right to life’ issues, saying: ‘In our view the context of the discussion is limited and clear. The subject of the debate is the death penalty’.

Why? On what authority? By whose limitation?

If the right to life is violated and the moral order offended by capital punishment, then a fortiori are they violated and offended by the termination of life in the womb. If the dignity due to every individual is sufficient to end the death penalty, then a fortiori might it be used to make the case against abortion or euthanasia. After all, the one who is under sentence of death is an aggressor against society: he or she has already violated the dignity of others, and might therefore justly forfeit their own in retribution. But a child in its mother's womb is innocent of any wrongdoing, and the termination of the defenceless is infinitely more barbarous than the execution of the guilty.

The scriptures are replete with vast sections which may be used to justify the power of the state to enact a sentence of death; but there is nothing, not so much as a single word, which may be used to justify abortion. Yet the Godless European Union turns this on its head, outlawing altogether the sovereign right of any free and virtuous member nation to reintroduce capital punishment, should it so wish, yet simultaneously advocating and, indeed, promoting practices that devalue and violate human life.

Ultimately, for all its violence and offence, capital punishment may be justified both for its deterrence and its retributive effect. Just very occasionally, the defence of the realm may be better served by the elimination of an individual who seeks to corrupt, contaminate, or destroy it. If, as the EU asserts, the dignity of human life means that life must never be taken away, even in the case of someone who has done great evil, then society surrenders the ultimate penalty from its criminal justice system.

Capital punishment might offend the European Commission, but abortion offends God. If human life belongs only to God, then whoever violates that life must surely violate God.


Anonymous Henry said...

Capital punishment was instituted by God - Gen. 9:6 "Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man". In addition, since we are all sinners, we will all suffer death, which is the "wages of sin" - Rom. 6:23.

It is remarkable just how upside-down the European Commission's view of right-to-life issues is. They are against the death penalty which was instituted by God and are in favour of killing defenceless human beings at either end of their lives - before birth or in old age, which is condemmed by God.

6 September 2007 at 08:07  
Blogger Laban said...

It's true that the EU seem to have an issue with killing murderers, but are cool with millions of unborn children (and increasingly with elderly patients) being topped.

There are about 140,000 divorces each year in England and Wales, and about 190,000 abortions.

I know a pretty large number of divorced people. Just think, for every three divorced people you now, there have been four abortions.

6 September 2007 at 09:39  
Anonymous Sir HM said...

I, at least, am not a hypocrite: I support capital punishment for certain crimes; I also support the right of a woman to terminate an unwanted pregnancy; and also support VOLUNTARY euthenasia on demand without having to argue a case.

Indeed, for this latter I hope the necessary legislation has been enacted by the time I come to think I've had enough.

I am, of course, atheist to the core ... but not a hypocrite like those who, for instance, support capital punishment but oppose abortion and euthenasia, or vice-versa, or any combination of the three.

To avoid hypocrisy either support all three or oppose all three.

Give me a moment while I get to my bomb shelter.

6 September 2007 at 10:34  
Anonymous The Recusant said...

As a previously committed supporter of the Death Penalty, the corruption in the Police Force, which came to light during the imprisonment and release of the Birmingham Six and others subsequently made me reconsider my position. Since its abolition murder rates have steadily risen in the UK, figures from the Home Office confirm this, and on empirical evidence alone it would suggest that the reintroduction of the Death Penalty would reduce murder. However then we come to the thorny question of “Is it acceptable to despatch a few innocent people (due to accident, incompetence or deliberate tampering with evidence [see B6]) if the overall benefit to society is to reduce crime?” It is a moral argument and on much reflection I came to the conclusion that it was not and I could not countenance an ‘end justifying the means’ line of reasoning.

From a Christian perspective this has the benefit of giving individuals the opportunity to repent right up to their natural death, no one we are taught however corrupt is beyond the mercy of God if only they seek it. Of course in the meantime we have to pay to keep these creatures locked up and I am not alone in thinking Prisons should be self supporting institutions. It is also fully consistent with opposition to euthanasia and abortion; in fact it is a more coherent opinion than supporting one and rejecting the other.

That being said it is the sovereign right of every nation to pass just laws to protect its citizens and the duty of each citizen to uphold those laws.

6 September 2007 at 12:06  
Anonymous Abandon Ship! said...

His Grace is in an excellent position to comment upon the experience of capital punishment, is he not? As with our Lord and Saviour, His Grace has returned and can now share his experiences.

Or, to put it in the modern vernacular of Monty Python's "nudge nudge" sketch:
"What's it like then?"

6 September 2007 at 12:12  
Blogger Thomas B said...

Sir Hm writes:

I am, of course, atheist to the core ... but not a hypocrite like those who, for instance, support capital punishment but oppose abortion and euthenasia, or vice-versa, or any combination of the three

I am opposed to all three, but it does seem to me that those who condemn those who support capital punishment and oppose abortion have either failed to understand the argument on abortion, on capital punishment, or both.

It's not just about the sancity of life - it's also about guilt and innocence.

6 September 2007 at 12:22  
Anonymous Sir HM said...

If Life is sacred, why do we all die - the innocent along with the guilty?

6 September 2007 at 12:30  
Anonymous oiznop said...

"From a Christian perspective this has the benefit of giving individuals the opportunity to repent right up to their natural death,"

Actually, statistics from the US indicate that 99% of those facing death 'repent' to prepare to meet their Maker. There's something in the certainty that induces a change of heart. I don't have UK stats, but I'd guess that prison largely causes a hardening of attitudes, and a pride/arrogance at being able to carry on with life.

It would seem that capital punishment makes more Christians!!

6 September 2007 at 13:21  
Anonymous Alexandrian said...

sir hm manages to use the word "hypocrite" twice in his brief post, and the word "hypocrisy" once, to refer to those who believe that capital punishment is legitimate but that abortion is not.

He fails to give any explanation as to why he believes that their position is hypocritical.

I, for one, am baffled.

6 September 2007 at 15:15  
Anonymous Sir HM said...

Abortion is generally opposed on the grounds of sanctity of life; shouldn't executions be opposed on the same grounds?

Personally I don't oppose either because I don't believe in the sanctity of life. If one person murders another (not accidental killing), then he or she should forfeit their own life. Simple vengeance really.

A foetus is not yet a human - the time it takes to become human is debatable, and I don't really have a position on that. Mainly because I don't care that much.

I've never claimed to be nice.

6 September 2007 at 15:36  
Blogger Dr.D said...

It is not too surprising that Poland is leading the way in this matter. The Christian faith seems to be much more alive in Poland that it is in England or in the rest of Continental Europe.

Sir HM is a case in point: he identifies himself clearly as an atheist and is proud of it, and he seems to be typical of many Englishmen. He thinks himself enlightened, when he is only deluded, having failed to understand the power of God. This will come to him eventually, perhaps too late for the good of his soul, but it will come.

6 September 2007 at 17:09  
Anonymous Sir HM said...


There is no such thing as a deity outside the human imagination.

I'm with Dawkins on that.

God didn't create Man: Man created God.

6 September 2007 at 17:11  
Blogger Greg said...

Sir HM said...

God didn't create Man: Man created God.

It is sad, but so understandable, that some of us are such poor representatives that Sir HM has formed this view. I do hope that you come to know Him soon as He is, rather than as the version portrayed by Dawk and others.

God told us to appoint judges and to give them power over others: an awesome responsibility, but society shouldn't shirk from that responsibility. At times it is necessary to pass the ultimate judgement on those few that deserve it. To fail to do so is failing in our duty, IMO. Hopefully it will be on very few, so that the number of mistakes will be almost nil.

6 September 2007 at 17:37  
Anonymous Sir HM said...

greg, others

Don't get me wrong - I don't think Christianity is a BAD thing. As philosophies of life go it is one of the better amongst a bewildering crowd.

But the deity stuff is entirely beyond my comprehension.

One thing I am confident of: after stepping off into eternity, you wont be disappointed.

And I won't be surprised.

6 September 2007 at 17:52  
Anonymous Giles said...

I've never understood the "a foetus is not a human" argument.

At what point does the "foetus" become a "human"? When its mother's contractions start? Half-way during delivery, when it's little head is peeping out? I wonder how often doctors say to people whose child has died in the last stages of pregnancy "don't worry, it wasn't a human really."

Perhaps a foetus isn't properly human until it leaves home and starts paying it's own way.....

6 September 2007 at 17:58  
Anonymous Sir HM said...


The gradual development of the nervous system comes into it somewhere. The point at which the foetus bcomes capable of independent existence does too.

Would you think it wrong to abort a rat foetus?

How did we get here from discussion of capital punishment? If it was my fault, I apologise. I didn't intend it.

6 September 2007 at 18:09  
Blogger Snuffleupagus said...

Sir HM
You do make me laugh. I think your position sound. It is rather unfair the way everyone is attacking you. Thank you for mentioning the point about independent existence. If a foetus cannot exist independently, then it could be argued that this is not 'life' which is taken in the same way as it is with executions.

While His Grace is his usual clever self with this post, he fails to acknowledge this very profound difference.

This does not mean necessarily that abortion is morally right. But it does mean that it cannot be equated with execution.

The recusant - It seems to me that you are still very much for the death penalty in theory. You simply believe that in practice it is flawed. This is a very different position from those who are against the death penalty for ethical reasons.

6 September 2007 at 20:35  
Blogger Dr.D said...

Sir HM says that Christians will not be disappointed at death and he will not be surprised. In point of fact, he is going to be a lot more than surprised when that time comes and he finds himself sent off to Hell with all the others who have rejected Christ out of hand. He will have all eternity to reconsider his position after that, but there will be no opportunity to change anything then.

7 September 2007 at 00:24  
Anonymous Sir HM said...

Ah dr.d - but I don't reject Jesus of Nazareth out of hand, just as I don't reject Socrates out of hand. Two rather good social philosophers, in my opinion, and both murdered by the authorities of their respective days because their philosophies threatened the status quo and they wouldn't shut up.

It's the deity nonsense, along with the life after death nonsense, that I reject out of hand.

7 September 2007 at 01:00  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know God. He lives in my pants. I worship him everyday.

7 September 2007 at 02:13  
Blogger El Draque said...

Surely if a foetus cannot live outside the womb, that is an excellent argument that it should be left there.
I simply ask, does it have a face? If so, it is human.
Late abortions are an abomination and repugnant to God and man.

7 September 2007 at 16:15  
Anonymous Sir HM said...

Sir Henry Morgan LIKES the name el Draque. One of my best students.

7 September 2007 at 21:23  
Anonymous Sir HM said...

Apologies - I was one of HIS best students.... but progressed beyond the lessons learned.

7 September 2007 at 21:31  
Blogger El Draque said...

sir hm is clearly another of the maritime barbarians that emerged from these islands. Saints and sinners abound here, like everywhere.

7 September 2007 at 22:45  
Anonymous Voyager said...

There are several strands to this....there is the European delight in capital punishment for the Unborn, but horror at capital punishment for those guilty of Capital Crimes. They wish redemption for those who Kill, but absolution for those who terminate the Unborn.

Then there is the use of taxpayer funds to finance Abortion. Although most abortions (75%) are carried out in the private sector they are paid for by the NHS even though the NHS provides free contraception to females but not to males.

So a rough estimate of 200,000 abortions a year at £600 each runs in at £120 million plus extras or £2.5 million a week of taxpayer funds.

Thus not only does the State permit abortion but it even pays for it from taxes while denying life saving treatments to other adults on grounmds of cost.

A high proportion of those undergoing abortions do so on multiple occasions.

The removal of Capital Punishment for Capital Crime decapitates the Justice system and by degrees undermines every subordinate sentence until the actual time served for murder is broadly similar to that for armed robbery; or with 5 years for possession of a handgun jostling alongside 10 for murder/manslaughter the system becomes simply a game of tariffs with a risk/reward trade-off rather than a game of forfeit.

So the whole basis becomes one of cost-benefit rather tha any absolute moral scale of horror and society becomes inured to what would have horrified previous generations.

8 September 2007 at 13:16  
Blogger Snuffleupagus said...

Your contribution is as usual interesting, but surely you cannot be saying that the absence of Capital Punishment is the reason the system has become a game of tariffs? The United States has Capital Punishment, but the legal system is far more of a game, not only because of cost-benefit, but because of how it is fundamentally set up.

8 September 2007 at 14:27  
Anonymous G Eagle Esq said...

His Grace the ArchBishop Cranmer

Your Grace

What self-deluding hypocrites the European Commissioners are

They pay themselves vast salaries & expenses - they are now taking over this Country and indeed the rest of Europe, regardless of what the People think

Every time the People are given a chance to express a view (as in France & Holland), they vote against European Integration, but the Euro-Archs blatantly ignore these votes

and What Hyprocrisy to suggest that Capital Punishment has been abolished in the UK or anywhere else in Europe

In the last 200 years, Capital Punishment in the UK has not flourished so much as it is flourishing now

... only it is Criminals who are carrying out Capital {Punishments in ever greater numbers, in the secure knowledge that, whoever is at risk from their murderous activities, it is not the Murderers

I remain your Grace's obedient servant etc

G Eagle

8 September 2007 at 14:37  
Anonymous Voyager said...

The United States has Capital Punishment, but the legal system is far more of a game, not only because of cost-benefit, but because of how it is fundamentally set up.

The United States as such does NOT have Capital Punishment.

some States have Capital Punishments - others such as Massachusetts do NOT. Your premiss is therefore about as valid as asserting that ALL Europeans each Yorkshire Pudding

8 September 2007 at 18:26  
Anonymous Voyager said...

ALL Europeans eat Yorkshire Pudding

8 September 2007 at 18:27  
Anonymous CCTV said...

What self-deluding hypocrites the European Commissioners are

Untrue...they are "The Guardians" from Plato's Republic. that is how they see themselves - others see them as harbingers of Euro-Fascism.

8 September 2007 at 18:34  
Blogger Andrew Jewell said...

A most interesting post your Grace.
This is indeed a great dilemma from a Christian perspective and I would agree that the bible seems to advocate a capital sentence against those guilty of certain heinous crimes. As to the comparison with abortion and the uproar that the subject causes amongst those who like to uphold the right to terminate a pregnancy, for whatever reason, it seems to me that the hub of the matter rests in the fact that it is now us, mankind, that decide what is a sin and what is not. We make our own rules about what is morally acceptable and what is not. It is this personalisation of morality and the move away from a notion of a moral absolute, such as is found in scripture, that is creating such dilemmas and debates.
I do believe that there are some actions, such as the vast numbers of aborted babies, that are bringing and will bring something of the judgement of an absolute and holy God upon our society.

8 September 2007 at 21:37  
Blogger Snuffleupagus said...

Does it matter that a minority of the states do not have it? Is the legal system in any of the states, irrespective of whether the state has CP, not a game?

Hmm... and MOST Europeans do not eat Yorkshire pudding. It might have been more accurate to compare my statement to something like 'Cranmer's communicants are pedantic'... What do you think?

8 September 2007 at 22:46  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am rapidly reaching the stage where I believe that direct action such as assination of a European Commissioner is justifiable. In 194, we British initiated the assination of a European Commissioner namely one Rheinhard Heydrich, Reichs-protector of Bohemia and Moravia.

Now like the gallant Czechs of 1942. we find our nation being controlled against our will by a foreign oppressor such as Rheichskanzellor Merkel. Our political leaders refuse to take a stance against this evil.
I'll bet if someone was bold and courageous enough to snuff out a European Commissioner, the the EU would suddenly argue that the death penalty is justified

9 September 2007 at 00:09  
Anonymous Voyager said...

'Cranmer's communicants are pedantic'... What do you think?

That you can only speak for yourself, but if the cap fits...

9 September 2007 at 07:29  
Blogger Snuffleupagus said...

What a shame I missed your birthday on Wednesday! I got you the most fantastic hat.

9 September 2007 at 11:29  
Anonymous Voyager said...

What a shame I missed your birthday on Wednesday! I got you the most fantastic hat.

Your aberrations do not end with the date, month, or gift....but aberrant you most certainly are

9 September 2007 at 13:15  
Blogger Snuffleupagus said...

But your birthday was on Sept 5th, wasn't it? I will take the hat back then, and ask for directions. Happy Birthday Voyager!

9 September 2007 at 18:50  
Anonymous Voyager said...

But your birthday was on Sept 5th, wasn't it? I will take the hat back then, and ask for directions. Happy Birthday Voyager!

Your GP should lower the dosage...

10 September 2007 at 07:57  
Anonymous 4micah said...

Recent studies confirm that the death penalty is a deterrent. The absence of such a penalty for the crime of murder is gross negligence. How many more people will have to die before our leaders will be convinced?

10 September 2007 at 19:52  

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