Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Bible Thumped...

Bidisha Banerjee reports in Slate magazine on a debate going on in the Blogosphere:

Bible thumped: Yesterday, the Colorado Supreme Court preserved "a lower court's decision throwing out the sentence of a man who was given the death penalty after jurors consulted the Bible in reaching a verdict." The court said that jurors should have decided the fate of Robert Harvey, who raped and murdered a woman 10 years ago, "without the aid or distraction of extraneous texts."

On Reason.com's Hit & Run, Jacob Sullum writes, "Unless there is evidence of corruption or bad faith, respect for jurors' independence should preclude an inquiry into the source of the moral values they bring to bear in making their decisions. (Surely biblical wisdom often plays a role--acknowledged or not, read from the text or recalled from memory--in death penalty deliberations.)" Anti-death-penalty Christian blog WalloWorld.com agrees: "Excluding religious texts - which really relate to a philosophical perspective or worldview - seems to be an arbitrary exclusion. Do we likewise exclude non-religious philosophical debate over the death penalty?"

"Hey, sorry. Rules are rules. Just because you're a bible-thumper doesn't mean you're exempt. 'No outside materials' includes the bible, just as it'd cover any other collection of ancient parables and myths," shrugs stickler Cableshow.blogthing.com. "This decision shows that the Consitution, not the Bible, rules in criminal court," crows liberal crime blog TalkLeft.com. Noting that jurors consulted the "eye for eye" sections from Exodus 21 and Leviticus 24, liberal DedSpace.blogspot.com claims, "The purpose of the ancient Hebrew texts was to restrain retaliation, not encourage it. But let's not ever let fake fundamentalism interfere with scholarship." Pro-jury Elborak.blog-city.com insists that "the courts more and more are overturning the work of juries" because "juries get in the way of what the court wants to do."


jbv's Competitive Edge 


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