I strongly believe that neither the bible nor the quran (or any other holy book for that matter) is the infallible, unchangeable, revealed word of some supernatural, omnipotent and benevolent super-dude up in the sky. Holy books are made by men, without any help from above. That is why they are filled with contradicting tales and cruel and arbitrary ‘laws’. As far as I’m concerned, these books aren’t something to live your life by, and they certainly shouldn’t be a touchstone for legislature: muslims don’t recognize the authority of the bible, christians don’t recognize the authority of the quran, infidels and those with a different religious affiliation don’t recognize either claim.
Today, the execution of serial killer John Allen Muhammad got a lot of exposure in the Dutch media. Last week’s execution of Khristian Oliver—sentenced to death in 1999 for a murder committed during a burglary—wasn’t mentioned anywhere.
I believe that the death penalty has no place in a civilized culture, but that’s another discussion.
The reason I bring this all up, is this:
After the trial, evidence emerged that jurors had consulted the Bible during their sentencing deliberations. At a hearing in June 1999, four of the jurors recalled that several Bibles had been present and highlighted passages had been passed around.
One juror had read aloud from the Bible to a group of fellow jurors, including the passage, “And if he smite him with an instrument of iron, so that he die, he is a murderer: the murderer shall surely be put to death“. […]
In 2002, a Danish journalist interviewed a fifth juror. The latter said that “about 80 per cent” of the jurors had “brought scripture into the deliberation”, and that the jurors had consulted the Bible “long before we ever reached a verdict”.
He told the journalist he believed “the Bible is truth from page 1 to the last page”, and that if civil law and biblical law were in conflict, the latter should prevail. He said that if he had been told he could not consult the Bible, “I would have left the courtroom”. He described himself as a death penalty supporter, saying life imprisonment was a “burden” on the taxpayer.
This kind of disgustingly hypocritical, brainwashed cherry picking from a holy book of choice makes a joke of the legal system, and it makes me glad we don’t have juries and death penalties in The Netherlands.