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1.30.2005    |    "Duty bound"
...to enforce the law." This is the position of Virginia's Lt. Gov. Tim Kaine, who is running for Governor. Oh, and Mr. Kaine is a Democrat. He is a Catholic. And, according to this political analysis in the Washington Post,
The Harvard-trained lawyer's quick mind, fluent oratory and unscripted command of policy have excited his party's faithful. But as a Democrat running in Virginia, he starts out in a four- to six-point hole. He is a devout Catholic whose adherence to church doctrine on the sanctity of life has informed a long record of active opposition to capital punishment, including having once backed a moratorium on executions. (He's also against abortion, except to safeguard the mother's health.)
So far, so good. This man sounds like a Democrat I could vote for -- were he not running against Jerry Kilgore, Virginia's Attorney General and a rock-ribbed Republican. But this isn't about Mr. Kilgore. It's about faith, the death penalty, and the extent to which one's faith should dictate one's politics.

The Post story goes on to tell us that Mr. Kaine, the "devout Catholic", who is against capital punishment and abortion (correct on both, in my opinion) has softened his stance on capital punishment, in order that he might win election in Virginia, a true-blue red state. From the story:
So Kaine's line on capital punishment has morphed -- he still opposes it for reasons of faith, but says he would be duty-bound to enforce the law as governor. Of course, he's being a little disingenuous; as governor he would be legally authorized to commute the sentences of convicts on death row, or declare a moratorium on executions. But Kaine won't go there. "I take an oath; I'm not crossing my fingers," he said. "I'm going to uphold the law."
So, Tim Kaine's faith is trumped by the civic office he hopes to attain. A couple of questions for those who might congratulate Mr. Kaine for his "realism", or, worse, "compromise", as though either of these were more worthy than following Jesus' example of loving all sinners, hating all sin, and letting judgment wait until, well, Judgement Day.

First question: Can any oath of office supercede what you believe God wishes you to do?

Second question: Do you put your faith in princes (Psalm 146:3-4) rather than God Almighty?

Third, and last question: Do you consider the law of men to supercede our Lord's second commandment to love thy neighbor as thyself?

Disclaimer: My beliefs on the death penalty are not because I am a devout anything. They are because I believe that judgment is the Lord's, not ours. Once a criminal is rendered harmless and behind bars, the better path is to attempt his repentance and salvation -- as unlikely of success as this may seem in most cases. As a Calivinist-leaning Baptist (getting in touch with my inner Arminian), I believe most criminals are born that way -- men depraved in body, mind, and spirit, incapable of saving themselves. But then, God knows whether even they, the worst sinners, will be saved. We mortals can never be sure.

Take the chance; don't kill those under your power who can no longer harm the innocent.

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About this site and the author

Welcome. My name is John Luke Rich, (very) struggling Christian. The focus here is Christianity in its many varieties, its fussing and feuding, how it impacts our lives and our society, with detours to consider it with other faiths (or lack thereof).

Call this blog my way of evangelizing on the internet.

Putting it differently, we're only here on this earth a short time. It's the rest of eternity that we should be most concerned about. Call it the care and feeding of our souls.

I was born Jewish, and born again in Christ Jesus over thirty years ago. First as a Roman Catholic; now a Calvinist by persuasion and a Baptist by denomination. But I'm hardly a poster boy for doctrinal rigidity.

I believe that Scripture is the rock on which all Christian churches must stand -- or sink if they are not so grounded. I believe that we are saved by faith, but hardly in a vacuum. That faith is a gift from God, through no agency on our part -- although we sometimes turn a deaf ear and choose to ignore God's knocking on the door.

To be Christian is to evangelize. Those who think it not their part to evangelize perhaps haven't truly understood what our Lord told us in Matthew 28. We must preach the Gospel as best we are able. Using words if necessary.

Though my faith waxes and wanes, it never seems to go away. Sometimes I wish it would, to give me some peace of mind. But then, Jesus never said that walking with Him was going to be easy...

Final note: I also blog as Jack Rich on cultural, political and other things over at Wrong Side of the Tracks

Thanks for stopping by.