Dear President Obama – No!

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Amen!

Spread the word. The world needs to watch.

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The above article was posted on May 18, 2009 by Mark Lamprecht.
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{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Nancy May 23, 2009 at 11:16 pm

Do you have a similar spot decrying the government when it sanctions the murders ordered by the death penalty? I don’t remember any addendums in the Ten Commandments that say it’s okay to end life, whether it be for personal convenience or if it disgusts the collective whole. Sure, be outraged by abortion. I think it’s wrong, too. But you better be equally incensed by our nation upholding torture and the death penalty. Consistency inspires confidence from others in your convictions.

2 Mark|HereIBlog May 23, 2009 at 11:38 pm

You’ll have to ask John Piper if he has a similar video about said issues so I can post it. Also, might I suggest a reading of Romans 13.

Have a blessed Lord’s Day.

3 Nancy May 24, 2009 at 5:43 am

I appreciate the response. I am not familiar with John Piper. Would you happen to know how to contact him to ask him his views on ending life in every circumstance (abortion, capital punishment, assisted suicide, withdrawl of life support, etc.)?

Also, I humbly ask you to discuss why you suggested the reading of Romans 13 which advocates submitting to authority. This suggestion seems to hint that it is our duty to submit to the powers and principalities when we agree with their decisions (capital punishment) but not acceptable when we disagree with them (abortion).

Is this, in fact, your belief or was there something else I should have understood from your suggested scriptural reference?

BTW–your new blog layout is very nice. God bless you and keep you!

4 Ken Temple May 24, 2009 at 2:42 pm

John Piper’s website:
http://www.desiringGod.org
Church
http://www.hopeingod.org/

The reference to Romans 13 is probably about the authority and right of the state to punish evil doers with the sword -verse 4; meaning that capital punishment is not murder and is sanctioned by God; as it also says in Genesis 9:6.

I have listened for years, enough to John Piper to know he would be against euthanasia and assisted suicide.

Capital punishment is Biblical, when carried out properly.

Even the Roman Catholic Church officially has never dogmatically been against it; I asked a Roman Catholic friend of mine, because they appear to contradict themselves on this in the last 20 or so years: “then why did John Paul 2 speak out against capital punishment?” He said that that was his opinion that because there are so many mistakes made and that sometimes, innocent people are excecuted, in today’s justice systems; that is why he was against it.

But, most importantly, it is Biblical; and given the USA ideals of due process and our court systems, it should operate most of the time in a just and fair way. Pre-meditated murder – it is just to exececute pre-meditated murder.

5 Nancy May 25, 2009 at 9:19 am

Slavery is also Biblically condoned. Should we also carry that out properly?

I have a good friend who helps defend the rights of the accused in death row cases. Most of these criminals are failed human beings and disgusting to deal with. However, due process and our court systems are not even close to being consistently just and fair in the United States or anywhere else on earth since very fallible people run such institutions. How will you explain condoning the murder of an innocent person to God? Because you indeed bear the guilt of the collective whole when you sanction the government to choose for you, rightly or wrongly.

You wouldn’t have this problem if the state didn’t have power over life and death. Same with abortion. The state does not condone killing by making it legal. It does place the onus on the individual to choose between right and wrong. In this way, (also in assisted suicide, living wills) each individual runs the risk of condemning his or her own soul based on his or her actions. Only God knows our hearts and will judge accordingly.

The only answer is to consistently uphold the sanctity of life in our own lives and teach its worth to those willing to listen. Governments should have no say so in these matters…only God–for He is not always listened to by the powers and principalities of this world.

6 Mark|HereIBlog May 25, 2009 at 10:56 am

Nancy, thanks for the compliments on the new layout. Also, Ken said what I was getting at.

I think the mistake you are making is to take several positions and run them together as if they must stand or fall as a group. For example, one’s position on slavery does not depend on their position on abortion.

I’ll be away the rest of the day with some brothers.

7 Mark|HereIBlog May 25, 2009 at 10:57 am

Ken, thanks. I always appreciate when you stop by.

8 Nancy May 25, 2009 at 7:00 pm

Hi Mark and Ken,
Mark: Hope you had a good day with friends!

I completely agree with the fact that slavery and abortion are categorically different issues in the Bible. I should have explained my position in more detail. I think the two are linked on a more spiritual level.

Even though it sure seems like God condones slavery in the Bible, He in fact does not. When I search the Bible carefully and with my heart, I know that God abhorrs injustice and above all, wants us to love our neighbor as ourselves. This was the Good News of Jesus and the foundation for the New Testament. This Good News reduces the importance of human laws (“an eye for an eye”) and uplifts God’s Laws. This is why I am a Christian.

The same goes with abortion and capital punishment. Jesus never weighed in on these issues that I can recall. It doesn’t really matter, though, because we still have His ultimate commandment: to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. We don’t kill because we don’t want to be killed. We do not judge to death because we are not the ultimate judge.

Jesus explicitly tells us that judgment resides only with the Father. Earthly laws (those of the Pharisees and Sadduces, ancient and modern) are not God’s laws of justice and mercy–we can expect greater in the Kingdom of Heaven. Our system is fatally flawed by our humanity. Although it can be useful to protect the people, it should not be allowed to sit in ultimate judgment.

I, for one, can not have the blood of an innocent on my hands whether that be a baby or someone wronged by our justice system. Would you be Pontius Pilate and send an innocent man to His death because the crowd called for earthly vengeance and you didn’t know how to stand up to it? He might have washed his hands of it but not his soul.

By supporting the death penalty, this is what we do as a people. We wash our hands of it but are souls remained stained.

Please, everyone, support the sanctity of life, even the life that isn’t convenient or innocent. It is what you would want done for you, if you were an unwanted baby, an innocent on death row or even a hardened criminal. God will sort out who is “right” or “wrong” individually in the end.

9 Ken Temple May 26, 2009 at 10:34 am

Thanks Mark !
I have missed a lot on your blog recently. We need to have lunch sometime.
Ken

Nancy,
Glad to know, that you realize the Bible does not really condone slavery, it actually is against it.

Hebrew slavery in the OT, was an economic issue, and it was similar to indentured servitude and many low paying labor jobs, even today are very similar in nature.

Hebrew slavery (indentured servitude, voluntary low labor because of poverty, war, tragedy, famine, etc.) was much different than Roman Slavery or Arab slavery ( they made eunuchs of all males always) or American Black Slavery. These three were unjust and evil and condemned by God. The slave trade is clearly condemned by the Bible – I Timothy 1:10 (kidnapping for slave trading). Rev. 18:13 also speaks against the economic systems that were built upon kidnapping and slave trading.

The American system was build upon that evil; some of the slave owners were trying to be just and respond to something that was already done in the past. (the slave traders who kidnapped them and brought them to the USA and sold then originally in the markets of colonies.)

The NT verses on slaves are responding to the Roman/Greek slavery that already existed (not condoning it, but responding to an evil that is already there) teaching principles of humility and not trying to foment rebellion and insurrection. Philemon and I Cor. 7 and other passages laid down the foundations for the eventual eradication of slavery in western societies.

Anyway, capital punishment is not wrong, as Romans 13 and Genesis 9:6 say; it is not murder. Killing is not always murder. Killing in self-defense is not murder; and a policeman killing a criminal is not murder; and a soldier killing an evil enemy is not murder. Killing Nazis in World War 2 was not murder.

Romans 13 and Genesis 9:6 are both ultimately Jesus’ words, as He is the 2nd person of the Trinity and God the Father and the Spirit do not contradict themselves.Romans 13 and Genesis are just as much God’s word as the red letter’s in the Gospels.

I already admitted that sometimes mistakes are made. That does not over-throw the principle of Romans 13:4 and Genesis 9:6, that capital punishment is not murder and is a just and right thing to execute murderers. (and possibly rapists) Originally, you seemed to take the subject off abortion by throwing in captital punishment and assisted suicide, etc.

I think living wills are a different issue. That is not “killing” but just allowing natural body processes and God’s providence and sovereignty to work, without man trying to prolong life un-necessarily on an artificial machine.

10 Nancy May 26, 2009 at 8:29 pm

Dear Ken,

Your response is well argued and I understand where you are coming from. I respectfully disagree with your interpretation of the Bible because I don’t think you have taken into account the environment/culture in which it was written. I also don’t think you understand that I have not shifted the subject away from abortion. I am trying to illustrate that if someone is incensed by the one, he should be equally outraged by the other as well.

In the end, it comes down to the role of government and God in our modern lives. Simply, I believe:
1. Abortion is wrong. I think it’s murder.
2.Due to differences in opinion about the beginning of life, the government can’t dictate morality in this case. Murder therefore can’t be “proved”.
3.This leaves the moral issue in the hands of the individual involved. It’s her soul, and in relationship with God, she will have to weigh the costs of this sin against it. Modern governments can’t do this because they no longer govern by divine right.
4.Capital punishment is wrong. I think it’s murder.
5.Due to the inadequacy of humans to judge correctly all the time, the government should not dictate morality in this case. Only God justifies perfectly. Modern governments can’t do this because they no longer govern by divine right. If they try to do so, since we are its collective stewards, we share the sin of any error in judgment.

Modern governments are nothing like those of ancient times since they are chosen by the people. Ancient governments believed that they were chosen by God and ruled by divine right. We know this to be false, or we wouldn’t be Protestants. We also know this to be false because modern day principalities (war lords) are the most corrupt governments on earth. They justify their actions (slavery, rape, genocide) most oftentimes by declaring that they are doing the will of God.

Don’t get me wrong. I am no anarchist! Government has its authority, especially in its protective role. But Romans 13 leads with “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities”. Unlike governments in Biblical times, the United States was built on the premise that the people are citizens and stewards of the government, not subjects of it.

Perhaps the premeditated murder of a few (studies show that this number is much higher than that) innocent people on death row could be “justified” by some if we get to kill all the other scum. Perhaps. Although I understand the want for revenge, I still contend that as citizens of this country, we are trying to justify what is only justifiable by God.

Indeed, we are trying to have it both ways: claiming that we do not need government to be our conduit to God but still thinking that our government is infallible and acting from divine right.

The use of Romans 13 as a passage to condone capital punishment is problematic because it is operating from an ancient understanding of government. We no longer allow the government, church or secular, to tell us that it has a unique bond with God over the individual’s relationship to Him. Our breaking free from the constraints of this type of authority allowed us to be individually responsible for our souls. Let’s not allow the government to take back over this role. The government is right in its role to incarcerate murderers for life. That physically protects the citizens while also saving our souls from sin.

In addition, although Romans 13 speaks of obeying government and about executing wrath on the guilty, it never explicitly justifies executing people. Furthermore, the passage is quickly followed by a counterbalance: “Love your neighbor as yourself. Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law.”

Again, I repeat, if we love our neighbor as we ought to, we would not take away the life we cherish from another, whether it be a baby’s or a murderer’s. God, in His perfect understanding, will sort out the innocent and guilty in the end.

11 Ken Temple May 27, 2009 at 9:20 am

I also don’t think you understand that I have not shifted the subject away from abortion.
Good; glad to see that. Most of the political argument from liberals seem to do that when they throw in capital punishment as a response to abortion. Thanks for understanding and your other positive comments.

I am trying to illustrate that if someone is incensed by the one, he should be equally outraged by the other as well.

I would not be incensed by the formal execution of someone like a Hitler or Jeffery Dahmer (he was beaten to death in prison by other prisoners) or Charles Manson (still alive) or Ted Bundy. They justly deserved to be executed.

Yes, I agree if an innocent person is executed; but no; not if a truly guilty person is executed.

it never explicitly justifies executing people.

Yes it does; – “it does not bear the sword in vain” means just that – the executioner’s sword. Romans 13:4; also Genesis 9:6 is still God’s word also.

Thanks Nancy – we will just have to disagree on capital punishment.

A wife who is being raped by someone, would be loved by her husband (or anyone else, they would be acting like a loving neighbor) who discovered this as it happened and got the evil rapists off of her and in the battle killed him. Even killing that “scum” in righteous anger and passion would be a good kind of anger against injustice. He would be a hero. That is a good and manly thing.

Revenge is not the issue in capital punishment; justice is. But God does take vengeance; vengeance is mine, says the LORD.

Romans 13 is still revelation for today; and we should be submissive to the government and obey laws; except those laws that command us to do something that God commands us not to do. (Exodus 2, Daniel 6; Acts 3-5) So, even evil Nero’s regime or Hitler’s Nazi Germany or Saddam’s Iraq or Iran’s current regime, they are “obeying God’s law and authority” when they punish bank robbers, thieves, rapists, and murders. But when they did and do their famous examples of evil and injustice, these actions did not have God’s approval and it is right to fight against those that do evil, such as Hitler; especially since he was killing so many peoples ( Jews, Poles, Gypsies, Slavs) out of racial hatred and trying to conquer the world. But disobeying Hitler and helping Jews and others escape was right and refusing to obey the government in that specific example is right.

12 Ken Temple May 27, 2009 at 9:31 am

The multitude of Prisons and imprisonment for life are more of a modern thing. Tax money is wasted on many violent criminals and rapists and murderers; giving them nice meals and books and rights and mail, etc. One of the reasons for the increase in crime and violence in modern society is because we are too soft on violent criminals.

Ecclesiastes 8:11 (New International Version)

11 When the sentence for a crime is not quickly carried out, the hearts of the people are filled with schemes to do wrong.

The hearts of wicked people are stirred up more to do more evil because execution does indeed act as a deterrent.

Modern “human rights” are good; but they have swung the other way and are out of balance.

13 Nancy May 27, 2009 at 10:05 am

Hi Ken,
You are right on two accounts and I stand corrected: Romans does mention the sword. I overlooked this, thank you for pointing that out graciously. Also, I admit that I was not incensed when Timothy McVeigh was executed. I am from the Oklahoma City area and I will never forget that terrible morning, 4 months pregnant with my first child, seeing the obliterated building and the stunned and bleeding people carrying dead babies. I will never forget his chilling words that the children murdered on the first floor day care were “collateral damage”. It still makes me weep to think of it.

However, I feel like I am sinning when I hate McVeigh and rejoice in his death. The passage before Romans 13 warns, “Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave room for the wrath of God for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord’. No, ‘if your enemies are hungry, feed them; if they are thirsty, give them something to drink; for by doing this you will heap burning coals on their heads.’ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

The passage after Romans 13 is one that I and Mark already quoted about loving one’s neighbor as one’s self. These two passages framing Romans 13 are a strong revelation to me by the Lord that my hatred is understandable but wrong. When fed sour wine, Jesus did not spit on his tormenters. He asked God to forgive them. This is a narrow, difficult path to follow. But it is indubitably the right one. No one will convince me differently.

In the end, it kills me, too, that the Timothy McVeighs of the world live a comfortable life in jail. But I know it will kill my soul if I trade that disgust for a vengeance that is only the Lord’s to exact.

In the end, we must agree to disagree. I respect your conservative outlook although it saddens me. I hope you respect my liberal viewpoint even though it may irritate you.

God bless you and keep you all the days of your life.

14 Ken Temple May 27, 2009 at 1:05 pm

Thank you Nancy !
I wish all the liberals and Democrats in our current government were like you; if they were; we would be able to work together towards a more God-honoring civil government and society.

I had forgotten about Timothy McVeigh ! – excellent example! Thank you very much for bringing that out.

Of course we must personally fight hatred and anger in our hearts. That is why the old saying “hate the sin, but love the sinner” is still for the most part a very good Biblical principle.

God bless you too! You are a neat person to interact with; glad we were able to understand each other in a godly way.

15 Nancy May 28, 2009 at 2:34 am

Dear Ken,
I have very much enjoyed interacting with you, too! The internet is an amazing venue for people when used to further understanding of one another, and indeed, God.

I really wish liberals and conservatives could work together to create more God- centered, rather than self-centered, lives and families. However, I will never agree to mix religion and government for the reasons I have stated before, mainly because I don’t think we should ever give government “divine right” again for any reason. It failed our Lord and, even though we may mean well, I feel strongly that it will fail us as well.

Now, if we could come together, left and right centered Christians, to inspire more people to love our Lord God and His divine creation, that would really be amazing! Lately, I have felt called to start something to this end but am unsure where to start. I think both sides have unique talents to bring to the table; conservatives oftentimes bring tradition and conviction and a strong sense of God’s justice. Liberals generally bring innovation and tolerance and a strong sense of God’s compassion.

Unfortunately, liberals, when vexed by conservative ideology, will sometimes resort to condescension (“you mean idiots just will never ‘understand’ “) to try and “win”. Conservatives, when irritated by liberals, will oftentimes resort to righteousness (“you arrogant intellectuals will surely go to hell”) to advance their ideology. Both approaches are unfair and infuriating.

Neither approach glorifies God or His will for us–to love one another and serve Him with all our hearts. I truly believe that each group’s talents has built our country into a model of strength and compassion. I have lived and traveled all over the world and I can tell you, that’s what other nations think of us when we aren’t acting arrogantly or violently.

What do you think? Is it possible for both groups of Christians to forge a friendship–to create a stronger bond between believers and a stronger social fabric in return? I would value your opinion!

16 Mark|HereIBlog May 29, 2009 at 8:20 am

Thank you both for the thoughtful dialogue. I think friendships can be formed, etc. How these issues would look in a local church? I don’t know. I’m sure we could get along, but we’d have to go back to the Gospel and work forward. 🙂

17 JimC October 28, 2010 at 1:25 pm

‘Glad to know, that you realize the Bible does not really condone slavery, it actually is against it.

Hebrew slavery in the OT, was an economic issue, and it was similar to indentured servitude and many low paying labor jobs, even today are very similar in nature.

My that is posh. Slavery was slavery. You owned them and had total control of them. Not at all like indentured servitude.

‘the liberals and Democrats in our current government ‘

You mean those actually trying to help people?

18 Rhology October 28, 2010 at 1:36 pm

JimC,

Oversimplifications aren’t helpful for anyone. Southern US slavery was not identical to OT slavery. Regardless of what one thinks of either one, they were not identical.

19 JimC October 28, 2010 at 1:40 pm

The difference is minimal and the reality the same.

20 Rhology October 28, 2010 at 1:54 pm

Oh, so in the Southern US, a slave could go free after 7 yrs or CHOOSE to stay with his master if he loved him?
The master had to repay the slave for physical damage done by the master to the slave?
The master was forbidden to have illicit sexual contact with his slaves in the Southern US?

Wow, I never knew all of that! The history books are all wrong!

.

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