Culture · Culture & Society · Death · Justice

Will Justice Be Served?

“Those who deny freedom to others, deserve it not for themselves; and, under a just God, cannot long retain it.” – Abraham Lincoln

“Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.” – The Apostle John

On May 15, 2015, the world was informed. “After 10 weeks of heart-wrenching and often gruesome testimony from more than 150 witnesses, including survivors with missing limbs, and an anguished father who spoke of watching his young son die on the sidewalk in front of him, a jury sentenced Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to the death penalty for his role in the deadly 2013 Boston Marathon bombing” (Holly Bailey).

The question that the world now waits to discover is this, “Will justice be served?” A just verdict has been rendered. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev deserves to be executed for his crimes against humanity. So said seven women and five men after considering the mountain of evidence provided by the prosecutor and victims.

The defense attorney, Judy Clarke, asked for the jurors to spare the life of this young man in spite of the “senseless and catastrophic acts” he committed. What the defense attorney fails to grasp is that evil is not “senseless”. Evil is militant. Evil has an agenda. Evil has its own frame of reference. Evil makes perfect sense to those who are engaged in hurting others. Because evil has its own rationale, Tsarnaev offered no visible reaction while the verdict was being read. A Biblical commentary on this non-reaction might be that Tsarnaev has a seared conscience (1 Tim. 4:2), of which the Scriptures warn. Like scar tissue over a wound, the soul of a person can become so calloused it is without feeling, and without remorse. Still, it thinks and acts.

There will be individuals who will not want Tsarnaev to be executed. They will argue that putting this man to death will do nothing to bring the victims back to life, nor will his death deter crime. The first observation is correct. Those who were killed by the actions of this madman have gone to kiss the face of God. The second observation misses the issue. If capital punishment does deter someone in the future from committing murder and acts of terrorism, that is good. But even if others are not deterred, innate justice cries out for capital punishment, because such an execution shows the value placed on those lives taken by an act of terrorism.

As a Christian nation, national leaders have looked to the Scriptures for guidance on moral issues. Clearly the Bible supports capital punishment in both the Old Testament and in the New Testament. Under the Mosaic Law the death penalty was administered for at least twenty-one reasons, including premediated murder (Gen. 9:5, 6). The modes of execution varied, and some were brutal.

Article Eight in the Bill of Rights of our US Constitution instructs the federal government not to impose excessive bail, excessive fines, or cruel and unusual punishments, including torture. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that this amendment’s Cruel and Unusual Punishment Clause also applies to the states. Therefore, the government, if justice is served, will find a humane way to put to death an inhumane individual. That should satisfy the “mercy” Judy Clarke plead for her client. The physical limbs of Tsarnaev will not be suddenly ripped from his body without warning, as many of the 264 people were injured in the Boston bombing. No, no.

After many years lingering on death row, and being allowed to appeal his sentencing, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev will die quietly, if justice is served, but die he should, for the primary purpose of punishment is to secure righteous obedience, and administer a just penalty in payment for personal transgressions.

If justice is served, then a spiritual lesson can also be learned. There will be no escape from divine justice. We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ one day. “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad” (2 Cor. 5:10). This is a sobering moment in the social and spiritual life of our nation. It is meant to be.

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