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Justice For All

Atheists have our own ideas about what is just and what is unjust.  This group will explore the elusive concept of justice.  Topics include racial injustice, death penalty, imprisonment, crime, and other aspects of justice in modern society and in history.  Without gods, what is the basis for justice?  What do humanists and others say about justice?  What do you think about current controversies and cases regarding justice or injustice?

Members: 43
Latest Activity: 21 hours ago

Welcome!

Troy Davis's photo was chosen as this original icon for this group.  Davis symbolized inequality of justice in the US.  At the time of his execution, 9/21/11, the evidence supporting his conviction was flimsy.  There was known evidence supporting his innocence.  He was executed anyway. Since then the icon is changed to represent justice in general.

 

There are different nontheist points of view about justice, punishment, penalties, death penalty.   There is strong support for retribution and execution in the theist community (in the US).

 

What serves as "justice" is not distributed evenly across communities.  The most egregious injustice has strong racial overtones.  If you would like to read about, and discuss justice, what it is, who gets justice, and who doesn't, and stories relevant to this topic, please join and contribute to the discussions.

 

Resources

www.deathpenalty.org  factsheet.

www.deathpenalty.org  main page

deathpenaltyinfo.org  executed possibly innocent

amnestyUSA death penalty information

death row population (CNN)  sept 2011.

innocence project.  The innocent and the death penalty.

innocence project Wikipedia discussion

California innocence project

Chicago innocence project

Georgia innocence project

ThinkProgress/Justice

Discussion Forum

On Burying the Torture Report

Started by Bertold Brautigan. Last reply by Daniel W Dec 9, 2014. 3 Replies

Black Panic

Started by Daniel W. Last reply by k.h. ky Sep 4, 2014. 7 Replies

Environmental Activist Hit Lists

Started by Ruth Anthony-Gardner. Last reply by Grinning Cat Jun 30, 2014. 2 Replies

Harsher sentences increase crime

Started by Ruth Anthony-Gardner. Last reply by Luara Jun 27, 2014. 4 Replies

Debtors Prison in the US

Started by Ruth Anthony-Gardner. Last reply by Ruth Anthony-Gardner Jun 12, 2014. 4 Replies

Coal Ash contaminated water jail coverup

Started by Ruth Anthony-Gardner May 26, 2014. 0 Replies

"White Guilt" by Shelby Steele

Started by Luara. Last reply by Luara May 16, 2014. 3 Replies

Comment Wall

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Comment by Daniel W on August 12, 2012 at 8:27pm

Re:  Europe, then there's Yugoslavia....  That didn't turn out so good.  I'd hold off before claiming finality on European peacefulness.  They're human just like the rest of us, and their recent civilized behavior is a brief wink in the millennia of that continent's history.

But I do agree with the points about racial inequality / racism in the death penalty.  I was going to post pics of the prior mentally handicapped man on death row, whose death penalty was held (white) vs. the most recent one, who has now been killed (executed) (black), but was concerned I was oversimplifying.  Still, the white mans' crime was more heinous, if anything, and his IQ about the same.

Comment by Donald R Barbera on August 10, 2012 at 6:57am
Sarah, obviouslyh you are on the money. I lived in Germany twice and the entire subject is touchy and with good reason. I f one reviews current European living, it appears the Europeans have succeeded in moving into the 21st century. Not that they don't have issues; they do. They have racial issues as they have the need to import labor which often leads to cultural clashes. Nevertheless, they are miles ahead of the US when it comes to social consciousness and liberty. When centuries of wars, bloodshed and religious strife results in devastation of countries, people and resources, pretty soon the idea occurs that these things are not good. That's why they've gotten out of the arms race and let the United States take on the role of world police so they can spend theit money on making like better for all. It works and sometimes it doesn't but at least it is a major concern--not lip service.
Comment by Sarah on August 9, 2012 at 9:17pm

Riffing on something Sentient said, I was at a death penalty conference last month (being a death penalty defense attorney), and one of the plenary sessions was focused on race and the death penalty.


We're all aware that there is racism in the US death penalty, which is mostly seen in the race of the victims. But the angle he introduced that I'd never heard before related to Germany. He said he'd been in Germany recently and spoken to people in the criminal justice system there. They said that Germans do not discuss the death penalty. They have a deep awareness that having the death penalty is absolutely not an option for them, given their national history.

Our speaker then asked us to consider how we would all view it if Germany DID have the death penalty and disproportionately imposed it on Jews. While almost never imposing it on those who murdered Jews. We would be appalled, wouldn't we? We would not be able to see any real distance between the horrific past and the current practice.


So why do we with our history of slavery and lynchings feel free to have the death penalty? It's really telling when you look at a map of where death sentences are imposed and then also where they are actually carried out. It is a tiny minority of counties in this country that even sentence people to death, let alone execute. And those counties are very heavily located in areas that have an unfortunate history of lynching.


Would that we could have an honest and real discussion about this as a nation.

Comment by Daniel W on August 9, 2012 at 6:41pm

Jesus died for our sins so that we wont have to.  But we make people die for their sins anyway.  So does that mean that christians disagree with Jesus?

Jesus said forgive those who trespass against us.  But in a christian country, we kill those who trespass against us.

On the other hand, many societies have practiced human sacrifice to appease the gods. 

I guess those states that practice human sacrifice are the last bastions of the Aztec empire.   Or the Spanish inquisition - I can't tell the difference. 

Oh wait -the Spanish Inquisition  was catholic too, which is supposedly a form of christianity.  I get so confused.

Comment by Joan Denoo on August 9, 2012 at 2:05pm

Lest we forget: Christianity played a role in pacifying native peoples and assuring imperialists they had god on their side. 

A history of shame. 

Comment by Donald R Barbera on August 9, 2012 at 2:05pm
Note: There is an interesting connection between the scapegoat and the Judas Goat. To long to go into here. I am with you on the scapegoat possibility. Of course, as you said it is a revolving door with little discrimination other than participants be at the edges of society, villianized regularly or mentally inept. The forgiving quality of Christianity is nowhere more apparent than in the prosecutors who despite DNA evidence believe they got the right person.
Comment by Donald R Barbera on August 9, 2012 at 2:00pm
Flying: That is patentedly unfair. Introducing a sensible thought to a problem with loose rugs ends. If thye root causes were explored the findings would indict too many people of the wrong type. I think it is worth the effort, but I bet it would be voted down if proposed in a national forum. Many moons ago a buddy and I made an imanginary bet about a death match. We both belived that if legal sanctions were lifted for a day that we could easily make $10 million with a switchblade fight to the death. I think it won't be long before pay-for-view executions are available. What a negativist I am! I'm wondering how the networks would bid for the rights? Sorry, sarcasm isn't my best tool.
Comment by Joan Denoo on August 9, 2012 at 1:56pm

Sentient Biped, I agree with you and history can verify your statement. I have been looking at religious history and its role in domination of any one who disagreed with their dogmas. I started with reading 

Missionaries or Murderers

and 

Black Death in the Congo (King Leopold II of Belgium) 

because my grandfather came from Belgium and abuse was a part of our family heritage. 

Comment by The Flying Atheist on August 9, 2012 at 10:35am

I think execution has become a psychological way of sweeping a problem under the carpet:  execute the problem and the problem goes away.  Out of sight, out of mind.  But those of us who are rationalists know that the problem keeps coming back and will continue to come back until we finally come to terms, face to face, with the gargantuan and multifaceted social and economic reasons that are causing the problem of crime and incarceration in the first place.  Yes, that's a HUGE problem to deal with, but I'd rather tackle those issues as a society rather than take the lazy and indifferent path of locking people up.  We will always have a certain number of people who deserve to be taken out of the general population and locked up for life, but I truly believe most other current jail inmates would never begin criminal activity in the first place if we came to terms with and took care of the social and economic problems in this country.  And, yes, I think racial bigotry is a big reason as to why we, as a nation, are not addressing this issue.   

Comment by Daniel W on August 9, 2012 at 9:54am

Why do they execute?  No deterrent effect.  Retribution?  Why do the state residents support execution?  Why are the most religious states the ones with the most murders, and the most executions?

Is the same mentality is present as in the old tradition of lynching, only behind closed doors?  I can't help but believe there is a racist aspect.  Exceptions exist, sure, but I can't escape that feeling.  But there is more.

Again, I think it's the scapegoat concept, as old as human society.  Aztecs had captives for human sacrifice.  The inquisition had "witches" and Jews.  The Germans had Jews and Communists.  Today's Republicans have gays who they would like to string up but can't.  The entire concept of Jesus being executed was to wash the Roman-conquered Hebrews clean of "sin", which they were being punish for by conquest.  Somewhere in our psychology is deep need for scapegoating. 

 

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