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June 18, 2010


Can somebody point out where 'some are suggesting' that murder be 'excused'?



"Some" appear to be a defense lawyer in Toronto. I was not able to learn if this is the defense lawyer for this particular case, or just some defense lawyer. I haven't seen direct quotes of what he said, but the decidedly unfavorable report says he believes the cultural differences should be taken into consideration (perhaps as mitigating circumstances in the sentencing phase?) by judges. From the third and fourth-hand reports I was able to get to, I can't figure out what the guy really said. I didn't see anything that looked like "excusing murder".

All that aside, I'm comfortable saying that I don't think cultural considerations should come into the legal handling of a murder. Murder is wrong, even if you think God wants you to do it.

(I'm starting my stopwatch to see how long it takes for someone to tell me that I have no basis for saying anything is "wrong".)

Someone is suggesting that someone (Lawrence Ben-Eliezer) is suggesting that.

Eric, you have no basis for saying anything is wrong.

I didn't see anything that looked like "excusing murder".
If the reports are accurate, then you did. If cultural differences make it so that murder is no longer murder then blame (for murder) has been removed. It has been excused.

1a: to make apology for
1b: to try to remove blame from

>>”Can somebody point out where 'some are suggesting' that
murder be 'excused?”

Oh, come on.

Taking something into account at sentencing is not the same as excusing the crime. That's what my comment was about.

Nor is saying Taking culture into account at sentencing is not the same as excusing the crime. the same as saying we ought to take culture into account in sentencing.


I chuckled at your timer comment. (14 minutes.) Of course, not all here would chuckle but it's hard to resist making digs 100% of the time. Thanks to you and all those on both sides who usually resist the temptation. Makes the place worth the time. The occasional exception is understandable in an imperfect world whatever the reasons for its imperfection.



If cultural beliefs can be a mitigating factor in murder (e.g. honor killings) and decrease punishment, one could argue a portion of the crime or sentence was excused.

KWM, You are exactly right. The argument the defense lawyer can make is that some degree of the "blame" has to be excused because of the cultural beliefs. That removes a portion of blame from the murderers, thus making acts of murder "cost less" so to speak.

I wonder if this would work for a speeding ticket: "Officer, you have to reduce the fine for me because I come from a culture of speeders..."

Hi Eric,
That was pretty funny.
Do you also set your watch every time a Christian blog posts as you await the first gratuitous, though groundless criticism and the first swipe at belief?
That would probably make more sense.

Yes KWM, a portion. No argument there.

Some would sometimes, in this sense, excuse a portion of a killing or a sentence (indirectly) because the victim committed adultery against the killer. When would they do that? In cases where the killing took place while the killer was in a state of mind that 1) was brought on by the adultery and 2) entailed diminished responsibly.

It is not the adultery that might excuse a portion of a killing or sentence in those cases but the state of mind. Likewise, in the honor killings it is not the offense to honor that might excuse a portion of a killing or sentence but the state of mind.

I haven't been able to find much primary source data on this kerfuffle. (See my original question.) Does anyone know what Lawrence Ben-Eliezer actually said and about which case? And was it his case or was he advocating policy in general?


Where did the get this idea anyway?

Lev 21.9



A death sentence cast down upon a woman for the crime of having been raped - which brings shame upon the family. There should be no mitigating factor for the killer in such a case.

A person may have been raised in the KKK and killed as a result. So? What qualifies as mitigating when dealing with plain old evil and evil with extra cheese?

One more thing:

This (honor killing) is the ultimate premeditation. Your death is determined on paper in advance. In other words, if this event X takes place (being raped) I kill you. It's just how we operate, no hard feelings.

In gang life: you cross me, you die. Maybe being part of a gang should be a mitigating factor?

I think that cultural considerations should be used in the way that they were used in the Nuremberg trials.

It seems to me that part of a citizenship process should include a pledge to renounce honor killings. That way, there is no question as to the requirements of citizenship. This should send a signal to the barbaric part of the world that we have standards appropriate to civilized human beings. When you have a virtue, you should advertise it, not hide it.

As usual, I find much to agree with in your point - here about renouncing honor killings. Freedom of religion would allow those unwilling to forswear honor killings to choose to practice their beliefs in another country.

Can you give a brief encapsulation of your point about the Nuremburg trials? I have to betray my ignorance on this issue to try to assuage it.

Sorry for being a little off-topic but this is something that many of the readers of this blog are probably interested in.

Mary Jo Sharp was interviewed by Greg about a year ago on STR's radio program and the events at the Arab Festival in Dearborn, Michigan came up at one point in the interview. Christians were treated as second class citizens, Muslim security guards assaulted them, etc.

Well, this year things got even worse and the same Christians apologetics group was arrested on a very questionable basis and the video cameras that documented their innocence were confiscated. See for details. (There are some other relevant posts on the blog about these events as well.) In fact, I'd recommend Greg to have either Dr. Nabeel Qureshi or David Wood (who are the co-founders of this Christian apologetics organization) as a guest in his program so that they could tell in detail what happened. Though you can also get a good idea of what happened by viewing this TV interview:

The good thing is that the Thomas More Law Center will be representing them in court.

Sorry, the other link in my previous post doesn't work. Here's a direct URL for the program where these events are discussed: Sharia in the U.S. Again

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