David Gushee’s attempt to define and defend the concept of the sacredness of life is a welcome reminder of why it is so important that we not take for granted the protections that surround our lives and the lives of others.
Here's some good news: despite our short collective attention span, despite the fiscal-cliff debacle dominating the headlines shortly after the Newtown shooting, the U.S. scourge of gun violence is still part of the national conversation.
Though the number of death row inmates executed in 2012 remained unchanged from 2011 at 43, death penalty opponents say that capital punishment is on the wane.
Last year Connecticut upped to 17 the number of states to repeal the death penalty. And some states that have had relatively high numbers of executions in the past executed no one in 2012 or issued no new death sentences.
"The politics of death is a bottomless pit that sucks everybody in.” This judgment, offered by a California attorney who has tried more than 100 capital cases, aptly summarizes the complicated arguments for and against the death penalty in American culture. After all, who can deny the horrors of a Ted Bundy or a Jeffrey Dahmer?
It took Richard Nixon, a fervent anticommunist, to begin a new era of relations with communist China, and perhaps it takes a Republican supporter of capital punishment to launch a new era of opposition to the death penalty.
After 30 years of directing funerals, I’ve come to believe in open caskets. A service to which everybody but the deceased is invited, like a wedding without the bride or a baptism without the baby, denies the essential reality of the occasion, misses the focal point. It is why we comb wreckage, drag rivers and bring our war dead home.