June 12th, 2012
By Francesca Pantangelo -- Sorry about that headline - a real mouthful. But when you talk of the arc of progress bending toward justice -- stay away from the idea that justice delayed is justice denied.
Wisconsin banned the death penalty in 1852 -- justice arrived early in the badger state. And in order to be admitted as a member of the European Union -- your country may not have laws permitting or mandating "Capital Punishment". Take heart! There are small, scattered pockets of enlightenment and goodness in the world. May the plague spread!
I think it fair to say that Christ would probably have a hard time recognizing many of the people who claim to proudly -- and devoutly --
uphold his traditions and values. Most evangelicals champion right wing republicans and their extremist and prohibitory views on same-sex marriage (even those based on love, mutual respect and consideration, and caring for one another), abortion (even in the case of rape or incest), and contraception ( the claim to be pro-life, but as Barney Frank said once, "The Pro-Life crowd are pro-life from conception until birth).
From the pro-lifers point of view -- the human being is sacred and must be protected and nurtured at all costs -- from the moment of
conception until birth. After that, they are pretty much on their own. That is when social-darwinism really kicks in. They believe that we shouldn't have food stamps, aid-to-dependent children, without the mother contracting to be an indentured servant for life -- in exchange for the free ride. They want to get ride of Medicaid, so the child won't have heathcare. They want to abolish the education department, and public schools -- and voucherize charter schools, so rich kids can have part of the cost of their education paid by the government, even though their parents abhor the thought of their "special" children mingling with ordinary people. They want to repeal the prohibition against child labor, repeal the minimum wage and the forty hour work week. They want healthcare to be left up to the individual -- "fending for themselves" can only make them stronger people. Yeah, right.
Right wing evangelicals and the Republican soul-mates want to get ride of government, cut taxes on the rich and super rich,
and make the middle class and working poor pay for the tax cuts and the wars. In other words -- Republicans and evangelicals today would be working hand in glove with the people who crucified Christ -- only today they would make damn sure that there would be no resurrection -- because they don't believe in it. We know that or they would be working furiously to get rid of the death penalty and implement programs and procedures to humanize the rehabilitation programs and potential of our legal and justice system. The reason they don't is that they believe arresting and imprisoning the people who believe differently than they do is a good thing. What else are you going to do with the "losers" in the free market capitalism war. The "neer-do-wells", the unambitious, and the insufficiently pious and non-believing riff-raff. Prisons are the best answer -- and think of it -- if you are enterprising -- you can get these "non-performers" off the streets and into prison -- and through prison privatization -- you can make a pretty penny doing it. Or -- as they like to call it -- a win - win!
My guess is -- Jesus Christ would be very disappointed with what we have manged to accomplish with all this advancement and sophistication we've achieved -- in this most civilized society of ours. Mass mental illness and predatory derangement, anyone? He may have envisioned a kinder gentler world in his dream of dreams for humanity. But then he always was a bit of a softy -- by my neighborhood's standards!