In Which Slarti Gets Written Off As A Loon

This discussion a Kat Coble’s place is is wonderful and thought provoking.  I wish I could join it; but I’ve been hesitant because it has been such a logical and intelligent discussion.  I really have nothing to add on that front.  Intellectually, I agree with Kat 100%

But I oppose the death penalty.

Because God told me to.  In a dream.

See what I mean?  How the heck do you respond to THAT? When you’re trying to have an intellectual discussion on an important subject, there’s no better buzzkill than, “I disagree with you because God sent me a message about this in a dream”.  Heck, I’m pretty sure I’m nuts, myself.  I now am on the other side of this issue from most of my friends, family, and brothers and sisters in Christ (but not all).  Because of a dream.  Well, not totally.

So let me back up a bit.  God had been softening my heart for months, with the band’s trips to Riverbend prison.  We Christians say all the time that we are all equal before God, but, at least for me, it was an abstract concept, just words I said to prove my faith.  But, standing beside a man who certainly had committed horrible crimes, looking him in the eye, shaking his hand, putting your arm around him, and kneeling beside him before The Throne as a brother in Christ, makes it real.  You lose your cognitive dissonance.  The distinctions we all make subconsciously (Me=good, him=bad) disappear, and you know that you are just as deserving of death as him.

So, all of this happens over a period of months, and then a couple of months ago, I had the most intense dream I have ever had.  No, I wasn’t on Ambien, or any other substance at the time.  I’ve had those type of dreams before;  they seem more real than reality, but feel less real.  This dream seemed less real, but felt more real, even more “real” than reality itself.  I was shaken to my core.  Here it is as I remember it:

Lintilla and I were visiting my mom and dad.  The three of them were in another room, while Zarniwhoop and I played video games in the living room.  The three of them came into the room, and you could tell that my dad was very, VERY angry with Lintilla.  Not yelling and screaming, but in a reserved kind of way.  My mom seemed not as angry, but resigned to…something. My dad said to Lintilla, “You know what you did.  You have to pay the price.”  Lintilla just nodded.  My dad pointed to an easy chair, and Lintilla sat in it.

My dad told my mom to go to the kitchen to mix the poison.

I grabbed Lintilla’s arm, and said, “No!”  We ran to the garage, it was locked.  My dad quitely walked out to where we were, gently grabbed Lintilla’s arm, and led her back to the living room.  She sat down in the chair again, resigned to her fate.  She looked at me, with tears in her eyes; I was paralyzed.

My mom handed her the poison, and she put it to her lips.

I woke up in a cold sweat.  I breathed a sigh of relief that Lintilla was right there beside me.  I cannot properly describe the wave of feeling that came over me.  I was angry at my parents, angry at Lintilla for just accepting her own death, angry at myself for my impotence.  The dread that accompanied this dream stayed with me for days.

I would have called for my own Joseph, but this dream did not need interpreting.  Nevertheless, being a good conservative, I didn’t want to listen.  But the cloud over my head, the conviction in my heart, would not go away.  I had my own Hound of Heaven on my tail. 

Several days of prayer and random bible verses later, and I finally succumbed.  I prayed to God to forgive me if I was doing the wrong thing, but I felt I had no choice: I would no longer be one of those advocating for the death penalty.  I would listen, finally listen to the arguments of those in opposition.  Now, in the subsequent weeks, my position is clear: I oppose the death penalty, period.

Now, you could say that I’m just overreacting to an emotional ploy from my subconscious, with good reason, but you weren’t there.  I don’t LIKE opening myself for ridicule (anybody remember Reggie White?).  But I have never felt anything so strongly in my life.  It was as strong and real as it was irrational.  And it was a MESSAGE.

So, now both sides can write me off an a lunatic.  I have no doubt most liberals would rather not have someone who claims to have been spoken to by God on their side.   But, it is what it is.

7 Responses to “In Which Slarti Gets Written Off As A Loon”

  1. Katherine Coble Says:

    I don’t think you’re a lunatic. As a Christian mystic I cannot discount the personal experience of dialogue with God under any circumstances.

    However, under the same belief in Christian mysticism and philosophical study I cannot abandon my position based on a revelation made to you.

    Your role may well be to oppose the death penalty, and I do hope God continues to speak to you as you undertake that role at His direction.

  2. Slartibartfast Says:

    So true. I’m still learning the arguments of my new “side”, my opposition is so new that it would be best to let others take up the mantle.

    I probably disclosed this more for friends and family, for whom this change has been quite sudden. It’s not rational, but at least it’s an explaination.

    Funny thing Lintilla is still for the death penalty 😉

    I’m glad you don’t think I’m crazy, though.

  3. newscoma Says:

    Everyone calls me a loon on both sides. I sort of revel in it these days. I haven’t spoken much about the Workman case mainly because I lived through the Robert Glen Coe case and I have really conflicting emotions about it all and the county where I lived in was torn apart during the Coe stuff. I was a kid when he killed the Medlin girl in Greenfield, and then, as an adult, I covered him during his state appeals. I had to go through scores of pictures of Medlin’s corpse. He was brutal and the photos were so gruesome and horrible that I literally had to put them away, process it in my head before I could go back and do more research on it.
    I realize the Workman case is different because of the issue of reasonable doubt, but here’s my thing on it.
    I’m not for the death penalty. I’m just not. That little Presbyterian girl that lurks within me just thinks killing is wrong.
    I realize that people disagree. When I was asked to go to Coe’s execution, I declined.
    I guess that’s all.

  4. Barry Says:

    I find it difficult to reconcile the fact that God may desire for one of your two roles (Slarti’s or Kat’s) to be in opposition to whichever is His divine will.

    In the same way I would find it difficult to believe God was calling me to persecute blacks, simply to provide a foil or opposition in order to bolster the argument against racial discrimination and build support for the opposition.

    There is only one of three possible explanations – either:

    a) Slarti actually had a communication from God in his dream and he interpreted it correctly – which would mean the Death Penalty is not in God’s will and we should not pursue it. This also means Kat’s opinion is mostly inaccurate and invalid since God’s message to Slarti was clear.

    b) Slarti actually had a communication from God in his dream but he interpreted it incorrectly – it could have had nothing to do with the Death Penalty and actually had to do with, I don’t know, maintaining harmony with the ecological balance of the planet. Or something. I’m not saying you’re wrong, Slarti, just that it’s always possible to misinterpret things. In this case God’s not calling Slarti to oppose the Death Penalty, and Kat’s opinion is still as valid as anyone’s.

    c) It was just a dream, not a message from God and simply a manifestation of Slarti’s subconscious. It may be a good manifestation, it may be a bad one. Regardless, it doesn’t confirm anything one war or another.

    So you see, either God tells you to do the right thing or doesn’t tell you do anything at all. He can’t tell you to do the wrong thing, it would be dishonest and totally against His perfection. So you can’t have it both ways…

  5. Barry Says:

    um, “war” in the next to last paragraph should be “way”

  6. Nashville is Talking » Workman’s Execution: A Round-Up Says:

    […] Slartibartfast: I would have called for my own Joseph, but this dream did not need interpreting. Nevertheless, being a good conservative, I didn’t want to listen. But the cloud over my head, the conviction in my heart, would not go away. I had my own Hound of Heaven on my tail. […]

  7. thefreedonian Says:

    When they did Coe, I was standing on the other side of the fence in this issue. It’s only in the last couple of years that I’ve cone down off of the fence in this issue, and my joining the Catholic Church played no small role in it. My first All Saints Day as a Catholic, I skipped the traditional mass to go see Sister Helen Prejean speak on the matter. You wouldn’t expect a middle aged nun to be a rhetorical firebrand, but she is. I would recommend that anyone attend one of her lectures. As it happened, her home parish in Lousisiana was underwater as she spoke, so she strayed from the subject a time or two— But she was still very effective.

    When they executed Sedley Alley, I wrote a time or two about it, though never all that sympathetically. I wrote that Alley was scum, but that it’s not our place to take his life. I believed by then as I believe now— That the state sends a dangerous message when it says “It’s wrong to kill. And to prove it, we’re going to kill you.”

    This one went far beyond my feelings about the death penalty. One place I feel most death penalty opponents go wrong is that they try to portray everyone sentenced to die as an innocent railroaded by an unjust court system. It’s just seldom the case. I seldom show any interest in a single case because of that.

    I wasn’t even all that aware of the facts in this case until a friend of mine was completing a law enforcement degree at the University of Memphis a while back. The case had been a source of discussion in a great many of his classes with the same general consensus reached every time— This was a friendly fire shooting.

    Now… Why did the state not admit that? It could have laid this whole thing to rest years ago had it said “Yes, but Workman is still at fault”.

    The felony murder statutes simply do not extend far enough to cover one policeman inadvertently killing another in the apprehension of a suspect. So the facts of the case were stretched to fit the law.

    None of it does Workman any good now. So I’m back to opposing the general principle of the death penalty.

    However you arrived at the same conclusion, it’s good to have you aboard, Slartibartfast.

    This is actually a prayer that Sister Helen passes out at her speaking engagements. Enjoy.

    God of Compassion
    You let your rain fall on the just and the unjust.
    Expand and deepen our hearts
    so that we may love as You love,
    even those among us
    who have caused the greatest pain by taking life.
    For there is in our land a great cry for vengeance
    as we fill up death row and kill the killers
    in the name of justice, in the name of peace.
    Jesus, our brother,
    you suffered execution at the hands of the state
    but you did not let hatred overcome you
    Help us to reach out to victims of violence
    so that our enduring love may help them heal.
    Holy Spirit of God,
    You strengthen us in the struggle for justice,
    Help us to work tirelessly
    for the abolition of state-sanctioned death
    and to renew our society in its very heart
    so that violence will be no more.

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