December 6th, 2005


Looking ahead

I'm looking forward to having everybody home for a few days around Christmas. I'm caught up with most of the parish work (barring sick calls), so I'm planning on taking the whole time off that they're home. I want to bake goodies. And play games. And talk.

On clemency

I would be loth to sound bloodthirsty, so I will refrain from calling for Tookie Williams's execution with too much glee; nevertheless, I think this is a slam-dunk (though who knows which way Gov. Schwarzenegger's moral compass will point out in la-la land).

The key point in all this is not whether Williams is a bad man or a reformed man or of value to society as an author or role model. The thing to keep in mind is the people he murdered. He wasn't condemned for being a bad man, generally -- he was condemned for murdering these four people. His claims to be reformed are silly, unless he accepts responsibility for murdering these four people. His value to society as an author or role model is irrelevant against the claims of justice for the people he murdered and their families.

Williams has insisted upon his innocence in this matter. He has also distorted the facts of his case (such as saying he was condemned by an "all-white" jury, which was not true). He wants to make the discussion on clemency about everything except the people he murdered.

Until and unless he admits his guilt and takes responsibility and shows remorse for the specific crimes for which he has been condemned, it seems to me there is nothing to review in a clemency hearing. All other questions of mercy or redemption or value to society must come AFTER the felon admits the justice of the verdict against himself.

Snark attack

I got climbed all over today over on the methodism community. There was a thread that had petered out concerning the Judicial Council reversing Bishop Kammerer's decisions of law and reinstating the Virginia pastor who got railroaded out of his appointment. Naturally, most of the folks were a-twitter about the horror of the Judicial Council recognizing that the decision about when and under what circumstances to admit persons to membership in The UMC is within the pastor's discretion.

Much high-mindedness and moral outrage. And me, pointing out that the case wasn't actually about homosexuality, but about how the pastor's rights had been trampled. Well, as I say, the comments had petered out, and that was fine. We all had had our say.

Comes now a lady at me with a "Shame on you" opener. Well, she got small change out of me. I tried to be reasonable, but she was into grand denunciation. So I told her that there's an old courtroom maxim, "When you've got the facts on your side, argue the facts; when the facts are against you, argue the law." And then I asked (rhetorically), whaddya do when both the facts and the law are against you? The answer: I guess you make speeches to the galleries.

Really, do these people ever actually read what you say before replying? I feel bad about being snarky, but then what I felt like saying was a lot worse. Part of me says, Don't go there. God has called us to peace. The other part of me says, After thirty years of pastoral ministry, I'll be hanged before I'll be run out of a "Methodism" site by ideology-driven wackoids chanting slogans at me.

There. I'm better now.

Move along; nothing to see.

Thank you.

Oh, yeah, how the day went

My big achievement today was making a batch of plum pudding. Yum! This is for the Progressive Dinner Saturday. And for anything else we can think of (mostly to give away).

And weather and so forth forced a cancelation of our quarterly Pastor-Parish Relations Committee (O frabjous day! Calloo! Callay! He chortled in his joy!). We will handle the business Sunday after church.