Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran are about to see their last sunset. If the Indonesian government has it’s way, then these two Australian drug smugglers will be executed by a firing squad in the early hours of tomorrow morning (April 29th, 2015 Indonesian time).
It’s a very sad day for their family and friends. And a very sad day for many, many Australians, who will be quite upset if the execution goes ahead.
A couple of thoughts come to mind as I reflect on this difficult situation:
1) Heaps of Australians are upset that the death penalty will be applied to Chan and Sukumaran within the next 24 hours.
2) Why are they upset? It seems to me the key issue is that the punishment doesn’t seem to fit the crime. For many people, executing Chan and Sukumaran for drug trafficking seems so unjust.
3) However, if the two were convicted pedophiles who raped and murdered their victims in cold blood, would there be the same outcry? I would think not: I would think that people would be satisfied with the death penalty in that instance.
4) Is the death penalty wrong per se? As I understand the Bible’s view of reality, as laid out in Romans 13:1-6, there is a limited place for the State to kill human life, in very limited circumstances, such as:
- During war (e.g. Allied soldiers killing Nazi soldiers on the battlefield);
- In a police action (e.g. NSW Police killing the Lindt Cafe Terrorist last year).
It seems that a State administered death sentence would theoretically have a place, then, as long as the trial was a fair one, and the crime was serious enough. (Of course, what constitutes a ‘serious enough crime’ would be up for debate).
5) Some have argued that we have no business telling another country how to administer its own justice. However, according to the Christian worldview, there are universal moral standards that stand above and over humanity, and thus these moral standards would stand above and over other countries, too. And so, if Christianity is true, we can legitimately appeal to these universal moral standards when judging (and condemning) other countries’ actions.
6) However, if there are no universal moral standards, then we have no business telling other societies what they can/can’t do: how can we condemn another government for breaking universal moral standards that don’t exist? In that case, each society, nay, each individual, is left to make up make up their own ‘morality’.
7) Being part of the drug trade is a serious thing, considering how drugs ruin many people’s lives. And yet, it seems to me that the punishment doesn’t fit the crime: yes, they did the wrong thing, but a life behind bars would be a very adequate punishment, I would think. Why take their lives away from them?
What are your thoughts? Should they be killed by firing squad? Please feel free to leave a comment below.
Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran were executed in the early hours of this morning (April 29th 2015). The ABC news site reports:
Australians Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran have been executed by firing squad on the Indonesian prison island of Nusakambangan in the early hours of this morning.
They were killed along with six other death row prisoners on Nusakambangan prison island just before 3:30am AEST.