Earlier this week, The Washington Post‘s religion blog, “On Faith,” posed a question regarding Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff’s controversial tweet following the execution of convicted killer Ronnie Lee Gardner:
Was the Utah attorney general wrong to use Twitter, or religious language, to describe an execution? With all our technology, are we losing sight of our humanity? Should matters of life and death be reduced to a tweet?
In response, Ronald Rychlak emphasized the humanity of the executioner:
As a society, we need to be aware of the humanity of both the executed and the executioner. Only in that manner can we truly assess the justness of our decision to have capital punishment
An expression of contempt by Atty. Gen. Shurtleff for someone that society has asked him to kill (or play a big role in having killed) is a mere reflection of Shurtleff’s humanity. He would have to believe that Gardner deserved to be executed or he could not carry out his job.
It seems to me the height of hypocrisy to ask a fellow citizen to kill a convict for us but then to be concerned about what he or she says regarding the convict.
Herb Silverman, on the other hand, seized on the opportunity to lambast the act of state execution itself:
Last week’s questions was about animal rights. Some religions justify killing an animal based on the way they “euthanize” it or the blessing they say before eating it. For me, it’s not about “the how,” but about “the why.” Though I’m inclined toward vegetarianism, I think reasonable people can disagree. But I no longer think that way about capital punishment. No matter what rituals are performed, it’s always wrong and immoral. It is a debasement of the society we call civilized [...]
Follow the entire conversation here.