Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Child Murderers as Adults

One of the contacts between Obama and terrorist William Ayers was their joint participation in a university forum on whether children who murder should be treated as adults.

I've already commented on another murder case, suggesting a reconsideration of the 13th Amendment's provision for indentured servitude in criminal cases. I oppose capital punishment.

The question, then, is not whether child murderers should be treated as adults, but whether adult murderers should be treated as children. Galatians 4:1 says a slave is like a child. A murderer is like a slave, or even an animal, and should be treated with at least the same level of personal responsibility. If you have an ox that you know has a tendency to gore people, you are responsible to keep the ox fenced away from human beings. If your son has violent tendencies, you are responsible to keep him away from potential victims. Get help if you need it. If your neighbor has a violent child, you are responsible to help your neighbor with his "ox" (Exodus 23:4). Perhaps you can form a non-profit agency to help low-income parents with their ox-kids. But if your ox gores, or your child murders, capital punishment (a.k.a. "treating him like an adult") is not the answer.

Obviously it's ironic that a bomb-throwing assassin like William Ayers would be opposed to capital punishment for murderers. But the question raised in the article above is whether Obama should have joined Ayers on the same side of a debate on any issue.

Call me conceited enough -- having participated in a few public forums as a candidate -- to believe that I can dominate any program. If I had an opportunity to debate with an admitted terrorist against capital punishment, I would probably accept the invitation, believing that the terrorist is advancing an issue I support, and that I would not be seen as supporting or endorsing his terrorism. In fact, I would like to imagine that Ayers would not want to debate with me -- even though we both oppose the government's criminal system -- because he wouldn't want to be tainted by my defense of Christian Theocracy!

In the Old Testament, Israel was commanded not to touch unclean things, because Israel would become unclean (Leviticus 5:2). But in the New Testament, the power of Christ goes out, and the unclean are made clean by their contact with believers. This is why there was a conflict between Israel's religious leaders and Jesus: the Pharisees objected to Jesus having contacts with unclean terrorists and other sinners (Matthew 9:9-13). But Satan's power has been bound. Our job as Christians is to create connections with the William Ayers and Colin Powells of the world; to bring healing to terrorists -- without being co-opted into their unclean agenda.

I suspect criticism of Obama from Christians is based partly on the belief of most Christians in the myth that "Satan is Alive and Well on Planet Earth." But it also stems from their belief that Obama shares the evil beliefs of terrorists like Ayers -- which I too suspect he does. I hope that if I ever share a platform with a terrorist, that it will be abundantly clear that I do not share his beliefs. But I would not reject the possibility of sharing a platform with a terrorist.

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