—Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Gulag Archipelago, 1968
If only it were all so simple! If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?
Joshua, I must disagree with your Christian ethical assessment of the death penalty. You’ve argued first that the Bible does not require it and furthermore that God hates the idea, and secondly that it does not work. The first point is demonstrably incorrect—the Bible in fact commands capital punishment, and thus the second point—it’s efficacy—is somewhat irrelevant; here, however, I also believe your argument suffers from a series of incorrect assumptions. Continue reading The Biblical Mandate for Capital Punishment | A Reply to: (Not) Off With Their Heads
…America is less a place than an idea… It is nothing but the inherent love of freedom in each one of us… It is simply the idea—the basis of this country and of our religion—the idea of the dignity of man, the idea that deep within the heart of each one of us is something so God-like and precious that no individual or group has a right to impose his or its will upon the people, that no group can decide for the people what is good for the people so well as they can decide for themselves.
—Ronald Reagan, Commencement Address at William Woods College, 2 June 1952
—Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, forward to the 1983 abridgement of Gulag Archipelago for the US market
If it were possible for any nation to fathom another people’s bitter experience through a book, how much easier its future fate would become and how many calamities and mistakes it could avoid. But it is very difficult. There always is this fallacious belief: “It would not be the same here; here such things are impossible.”
Alas, all the evil of the twentieth century is possible everywhere on earth.
[14:00] …We need to understand as individuals—as Americans—that freedom only exists within a framework of values…and that values only exist within the context of a religious structure and that comes from a true faith in Christ. We see it every day around the world as we try to establish…democracies in places where there’s not a faith in Christ, it becomes very, very difficult for people to control themselves and to live in a free society. Because they’re so used to being controlled from the outside by dictators and police force and armies, they’re not prepared to live free because they don’t have those inner constraints.…
[19:11] …If we allow faith and the freedom of our religion to be purged not just from our private lives but from our public lives we’ve taken away the underpinnings of freedom itself in this country.
—Congressman Jim DeMint, Chapel message, Bob Jones University, Greenville, South Carolina, 22 April 2004
partial transcript by me | full audio