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.