1 204228 1 5 Like a million other viewers, I watched the video of Saddam’s pre-execution on YouTube. I was listening for what some of the Arabs are complaining about but did not hear it. I’m talking about the reports of anger and the “God damn you” taunt from the guard, apparently recorded on a cell phone. If this is true, its very upsetting to me and probably to a lot of Arabs. Check out the story on Aljazeera. Justice is one thing and i am not against the death penalty when it is warranted, but there may have been something off base about this execution.

Others: Aljazeera, Steve Camp

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Andrew Jones launched his first internet space in 1997 and has been teaching on related issues for the past 20 years. He travels all the time but lives between Wellington, San Francisco and a hobbit home in Prague.


  • Matt Tew says:

    Well, it suprises me that “Justice is one thing and (you are) not against the death penalty when it is warranted”
    I’d be interested on hearing more behind your thinking on this?
    Isn’t this the same way that exhibitions, er.. executions have always taken place? Crowds looking on and jeering at the spectacle while the powers that be prove themselves ultimate victors over the executionee?

  • I think jeering is disgusting and dehumanizing. If courtrooms do not allow it during sentencing, why would an execution allow it?

  • Edward Pillar says:

    Just like to register my belief that the death penalty is not warranted – under any circumstances.
    Sure, Saddam Hussein was a bad man (so are loads of other people), but I do not believe that any human has the right to kill another…methinks the 10 commandments has something to say about that…
    I cannot see that justice and the death penalty can possibly go together..
    Theologically speaking, I think that as a follower of Jesus, I must live and act today in such a way as I believe will be true in the Kingdom of jesus when it is revealed.
    i do not believe that in the Kingdom…people will be put to death.
    Happy New Year

  • JG says:

    Why do you quote the 10 commandments?
    If they are relevant then why not other passages in the Old Testament which do refer to putting people to death?
    If passages in the Old Testament are not relevant to the question of the death penalty then why quote it>

  • Truth Seeker says:

    Even though this is not a popular view to have these days, I for one actually agree with the hanging. Saddam was put to trial, something that he denied his victims, in a court of his peers. According to Iraqi law, which is based on Muslim law mind you, dictates that those convicted of murder, which Saddam was, are to be killed in 30 days. This is the law of Iraq.
    I refer back to the Nuremberg Trials of post-WWII where many of the Nazi members who participated in genocide and many were hanged for their cruel acts.
    I also refer to the Old Testament where God called for the killing of those who committed murder (murder and participating in war are two different things). Leviticus 24:17, which is the commandment of God mind you, calls for the life of person to be taken if they commit murder. Some may argue and say that Jesus did away with the Law, but Jesus himself said “I have not come to abolish the Law, but to fulfill the law” or to complete it. What the Law could not do, Jesus did. In fact, we live under a harsher “law” than the previous. So now, even hate inthe heart is wrong, whereas before all you had to do was kill.
    But if anything it is justice to the law of Iraq. That is my take on it!
    May be unpopular, but oh well! I stand by what I say!
    Blessings, and Happy New Years!

  • actually, support for the death penalty is the majority view globally, 52% support it worldwide, according to wikipedia, but the number in America who support it is much higher.
    But if a country does not support it (like the one i am currently living in) then thats fine with me also – I am for justice, not certain methods of achieving it.
    I also support restoration justice, based on the tribal models (Maori, Aboriginal) and now being implemented in many countries.

  • Chris says:

    What is “restoration justice”?

  • Timothy Wright says:

    I am all for the death penalty and having people watch it. What I find unacceptable is the comments directed toward Saddam. I believe that we should treat all such executions as very solemn. Saddam should have been offered times alone to prepare his heart and sould before he enters eternity.
    I think if people are for the death penalty they should also be ready to watch it.

  • Truth Seeker says:

    I am all for capital punishment, but I also wished (and I didnt state this earlier) that they would have waited to execute Saddam so that he would have faced trial for the gassings of the Kurds. By having him face trial many of those involved (personally and corporately) would have been found out. Now, justice may not be done for the Kurds and this incident may pass into history with no justice.

  • Ben Edson says:

    I’m kinda disturbed by this conversation. I’m alway’s shocked when Christian support the death penatly. I believe in restorative justice rather than retributative justice. Have a look at the first few chapters on Walter Wink’s book Engaging the Powers he talks about the myth of redemptive violence…

  • interesting how our country’s stance on the issue is also that of the believers . ..
    but Ben, i really havent taken a good look at the issue for a while and am quite teachable.
    as for restoration justice, it is a means of getting the communities of offender and offended together to discuss appropriate punishments. its is linked to the maori system of tribal justice from new zealand and also wiht native peoples in various countries. its good to see the churches getting involved in it also.

  • Truth Seeker says:

    But what if the community decides that the appropriate punishment is death for the offense that occured?
    That is what happens when a criminal goes to court. He goes before a jury of his peers who find him either guilty or not guilty and make a recommendation of the punishment. The “community” of the jury can ask for the death penalty or life in jail. The judge, who is a part of the “community” of peers makes the ruling based on the recommendations and decision by the jury, the offendants “community”.
    So what do you do when the community as a whole calls for the death of an offender? Our “community”, our society has called for the death of murders in the past. Its a form of restoration justice. It restores justice when it was taken from the victim.
    I am interested in what others think.

  • Truth Seeker says:

    Any thoughts anyone?

  • andrew jones says:

    i think one of the questions here is
    “which community?”
    and whether one community on one side of the planet should determine yea or nay for another.
    one reason why i have a relatively weak (or flexible) view on this is that my job takes me to dozens of countries and they will all see it differently. I need to respect that and respect the judicial processes in each country before giving my own opinion.

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