Oh, how times have changed when it comes to the execution of a criminal. Continue reading . . .
Oh, how times have changed when it comes to the execution of a criminal.
When the Supreme Court of the United States first banned capital punishment, part of the reason for that decision was that it was deemed to be “cruel and unusual.” The crucifixion of a condemned man in the first century, under Roman law, on the other hand, was deliberately cruel and unusual. It was intentionally both torturous and humiliating. Crucifixion was chosen as punishment for slaves and social outcasts not because it was a quick and efficient way to dispose of unwanted persons or threats to the peace of the state. Crucifixion was chosen because it did more than crush and destroy a man’s body. It also brought shame, ridicule, and public humiliation to his name.
One might think, then, that the death of a crucified victim terminated his humiliation. Unfortunately, this was not the case. Roman law demanded that the victim be deprived of any and all honors in death: he was allowed no funeral, no eulogy, no public mourning or expressions of sorrow on the part of friends or family.
Today, thousands of dollars are often spent to provide the deceased with a beautiful casket, made of the most expensive of materials and lined with soft linen or even silk. Following the death of an important or influential figure, the flag of the United States is lowered to half-staff. If you are attending a sporting event or concert, they may pause for a moment of silence in honor of the deceased. The picture of the individual appears in the newspaper together with an often lengthy biography and account of his/her accomplishments in life. And of course the funeral procession can extend for miles with dozens of vehicles, driving with headlights on and under the supervision of a police e