That’s the former gangbanger Tookie Williams, now the flavor of the month for guilty white (and black) liberal celebs, and others with far too much time on their hands. Williams is a stone killer, and, just as is written in Exodus 21:12, is scheduled to be executed for his crimes: “Whoever strikes a man so that he dies shall be put to death.”
But wait, some people say: didn’t Jesus overturn this Law? Well, yes, and no. What he did do was tell us to love our enemies, and that he would be back to do the final judging. As for the Law, including Exodus 21, he if anything reaffirmed it: “until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished.” (Matthew 5:18).
Ah, but there’s always another hand: On that other hand, Jesus made a counter example of the sinful woman the crowd was about to execute for adultery in accordance with Leviticus 20:10. The morality tale unfolds in John 8:2-11, and the essence of the message is this: “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her” (John 8:7).
Does this apply to those who would execute Tookie Williams? If not, what makes his crimes different as regards the Law in Exodus and Leviticus? Yet we wouldn’t think of, for example, executing a child convicted of striking his father (Exodust 21:15). Well, some of you might, but most of us would think this to be, oh, to coin a phrase, cruel and unusual punishment. But from a theological point of view, these cases are not different — if one views the Bible’s truths as unchanging as unchangeable.
So, what might Jesus have done with Tookie Williams? First, he likely wouldn’t stop the execution, since Williams has not repented — i.e. has not confessed publically (he did to a fellow prisoner) nor requested forgiveness for his crimes. The only data we have as to what Jesus would have done is when he was on the cross, between two others condemned to die. Jesus let them die, with a promise to the faithful “thief” (actually a rebel and likely killer) that he would be with Jesus later that day in paradise.
Jesus lived in Roman times, and he was not a political revolutionary. He was content to let the Romans hold sway over the secular world. But we are not Roman pagans. We are a Christian nation, and I’d come down on the side of mercy, albeit unearned, for Williams. Let him live, and continue to do a little good. Keep him locked away, and let God judge him.