As you already know, Saddam Hussein was executed at 10:00PM ET today. I will not argue the merits of Saddam's life. Was he an evil man? Was he good for Iraq? What would either matter to me? What matters to me is man imposing his will above that of God.
Of course, I am always grabbed by the heart strings when someone is accused and proven guilty of mass murder. In the United States, I have always been in support of the death penalty for a variety of reasons - The family deserves justice. It is less expensive than housing a monster for twenty years. in America, we seem closer to the crime and closer to the victim. Our mass media intentionally tries to grab us and show us the evil nature of the worst of criminals. We buy into it readily and are satisfied when someone such as Timothy McVeigh is removed from the face of this earth. We feel safer somehow.
But perhaps the distance from America to Iraq has tainted the impassioned pull for me. We have known for decades that Saddam was an evil person. Yet we have never cried for his execution before now. Is it the distance that makes the difference? Is it a sudden strength of public conscience that we readily accept it with glee? How can we be happy over this development? Did it make the world a better place?
I suppose an argument could be made that a threat existed and needed to be eliminated. But what threat was he when he was sitting and rotting in a prison cell?
I turned back on my innermost thoughts and asked myself, "Am I happy that Saddam was executed" rather than relying on the latest opinion poll to make a decision for me. The answer that came back was a still small voice that told me to never rejoice at the death of another. This was not an act of God's will, but that of man. If it was God's will, he would have taken him before he murdered an estimated two million innocents. God must have had a purpose in his existence.
I recited kaddish for Saddam immediately upon hearing of his death. He was no friend to Jews, Christians or Muslims. But don't those major three religions teach us in one form or another to love their enemy? My belief is that Saddam has a reckoning for his actions before God. Perhaps God knew that he was not ready to see the error of his ways and was giving him time to come around to it. God does not want us to come to him until we are willing to accept him and our actions. He knew Saddam would get there eventually.
But the philosophy that "God is love" seems to be lost in our modern age. God is now vengeful, wrathful, prejudiced. He hates the sinner and loves the righteous. We teach that he loves Christians, but despises Jews for not accepting Christ. He loves the Jews but hates the muslims as enemies of His people. That is not the God I know. God loves all of us in his own way. It does not matter whether you are a sinner or a saint. Don't you love your children the same whether they follow your guidance or fail miserably? God is that type of parent.
Life is a timed test for which only God is the timekeeper. By executing an individual before it is God's will to take him, we are not only cheating the test taker, but God as well. We all have a lesson to learn and only one life in which to learn it. By usurping God, who are we really serving?
And with that, I discovered that I am opposed to the death penalty. Thank God.