Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Have Mercy O Lord

This morning a caught a bit of the BBC World News as I was eating breakfast. As I watched, one of the news streams that was running across the bottom of the screen caught my attention: "Somali boy executes dad's killer." Incredible I thought as I went to my computer to find out more. But as unbelievable as the news trailer seemed, according to the BBC, this is exactly what took place as part of a public execution in Mogadishu under the rule of Sharia law.

Apparently a large crowd gathered at a Koranic school in Somalia's capital to watch a 16 year old boy stab in the head and throat a man who was convicted of killing his father in a dispute over the boy's schooling. Afterward the boy expressed satisfaction that his father's killer was dead. "I am happy now because I killed the man who killed my father," he told the Reuters news agency.

What barbarism! How far from the law of God and the standards of the Bible! If this is justice, no wonder there is so much confusion and hatred in the world and feuds that go back generations and continue to be fought today. While this kind of judgment may have the semblance of tangible justice, it only assaults and traumatizes more people. What is so desperately needed is the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ that humanizes those it touches. The brutality and inhumanity of this world will never be solved by more of the same. Only the grace and mercy of God can make people new and give hope to those enslaved in the darkness of sin and false religion.


Trish said...

What's so wrong with this? If it's a matter of capital punishment and not personal retaliation all the more power to him.

Kirk M. Wellum said...

I will tell you what is wrong with it Trish. First of all, this seems to have been a case of second degree murder or manslaughter since the killing was the result of a disagreement. Capital punishment, which may be invoked in the case of premeditated murder, is therefore out of the question. And besides that, to have the 16 year old son of the murdered man do the killing is cruel and heartless. If capital punishment were in order, that should be carried out by the appropriate governing authorities, not the son of the victim. This only continues the process of victimization which is all too common in this perverted world.

Bilbo Baggins said...

Capital punishment should not be carried out for personal vengeance. God gives the “state” civil authority so that it may maintain order and carry out justice. Murder is an offence against God first and foremost; it is the state’s responsibility, using the authority given to it by God, to carry out justice in society. Our legal system still operates under this principle. A suspected murderer is accused by the Crown, not the victim’s family. Punishment is handed down by the Judicial Branch of government, the courts, not the victim's family. In this village in Somalia, will the executed man’s son avenge his father? This sort of justice would wreak havoc in society and go against God's design for justice and order in a fallen world.

I am reminded of the infamous Auca Tribe in Ecuador, who in 1956 murdered five missionaries. Anthropologists state that the tribe had a 60% murder rate, mostly due to feuds and revenge killings within the tribe itself. Elizabeth Eliot, the wife of one of the martyred missionaries, eventually brought the gospel to the Auca. Within two years of the presence of the Gospel among the Auca, the murder rate dropped by 90%. I agree with you wholeheartedly, Kirk, when you write, “What is so desperately needed is the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ that humanizes those it touches.”

See Washington Post review of the recent Auca documentary:

Kirk M. Wellum said...

Thanks for your comments Jeremy. That is a very interesting study that you reference. The history of the world provides us with many sad examples of the chaos that ensues when human beings do what is right in their own eyes. They forget that there is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death.