Reader takes issue with previous letter
Editor’s note: The following letter is a response to a recent letter to the editor by the Rev. Cameron Swain in support of the death penalty.
Rev. Cameron Swain: Is the death penalty, as a fragment of historical practice, a Christian duty?
The following religious exploration was taken from the book “American Holocaust: The Conquest of the New World” by Dr. David E. Stannard.
Let’s go back to the invasion of our newly discovered land for religious liberty.
“As is often the case, it was New England’s religious elite who made the point more graphically than anyone. Referring to some Indians who had given offense to the colonists, the Reverend Cotton Mather wrote: Once you have but got the Track of those Ravenous howling Wolves, then pursue them vigourously; … Turn back till they are consumed… Beat them small as the dust before the wind.”
Lest this be regarded as mere rhetoric, empty of literal intent, consider that another of New England’s most esteemed religious leaders, the Rev. Solomon Stoddard, as late as 1703, formally proposed to the Massachusetts governor that the colonists be given the financial wherewithal to purchase and train large packs of dogs “to hunt Indians as they do bears.”
There were relatively few Indians remaining alive in New England by this time, but those few were too many for the likes of Mather and Stoddard.
“The dogs would be an extreme terror to the Indians,” Stoddard wrote, adding such “dogs would do a great deal of execution upon the enemy and catch many an Indian that would be too light of foot for us.”
Then, turning from his equating of native men and women and children with bears deserving to be hunted down and destroyed, Stoddard became more conventional in his imagery. “If the Indians were wolves, he said, “and are to be dealt withal as wolves.”
For 200 years to come, Washington, Jefferson, Jackson and other leaders, representing the wishes of virtually the entire white nation, followed these minister’s genocidal instructions with great care. It was their Christian duty, as well as their destiny.”
100 million “Indians” were killed by the European invaders across the “Americas” by violence and disease (the European invaders had at least a 100 years of European experience with smallpox and more diseases prior to the “discovery” of the New World). What was the “religion” of the European invaders? It was Christianity.
Rev. Cameron Swain, would you have followed the Rev. Cotton Mather or Rev. Solomon Stoddard in their “religious liberty”? Would you apply the death penalty to Columbus, Mather, Solomon, Washington, Jackson and many others for their murder of “Indians”? Has not history shown us the horror of killing for one’s god that permeates our lands still today?
I do not support the death penalty in the State of Delaware. Killing is killing. I see no difference in the crime of murder and the action of the State to murder. Yes to life in prison with no chance of parole.
Lloyd E. Elling
Keenwick group thankful for support
The Keenwick Sound Homeowners Association expresses our thanks to the following generous business who donated to our 22nd annual fair raffle table: Boardwalk Fries, Tropicana Swim Ware, Tidepool Toys & Games, Wear It Out, All About the Beach, Sea Shirts, The Palms at Bethany, Rita’s Italian Water Ice, The Penguin, Sea Needles, Maureen’s Ice Cream & Desserts, Bethany Diner, Frog House Family Restaurant, Capriotti’s Sandwich Shop, China Express, Ocean View Family Restaurant, Giant Foods, Fishers Popcorn, Jimmy’s Kitchen, Float-Ors, Twinings Lobster Shanty, Ken’s Bayside Pizza, Mancini’s Restaurant, Lady Fenwick, Warren’s Station Family Restaurant, Holly’s Treasure Chest, Fenwick Island Surf Shop, Fenwick Bait & Tackle, Carolina Street Garden & Home, Sea Shell City, Viking Golf, Crab Cake Factory, Hair Designs By Iris, Mike’s Carpet Connection, Windsor Teak, Bayville Liquors, Dirty Harry’s, North Bay Marina, Rippon’s Seafood, Hit the Deck, X-Squad Dancers, Sweet Disposition Bakery, New Face in Town, the Georgia House restaurant, Rommel’s Ace Hardware, Tri-State Equipment Services, Hoban Service Center, Doyle’s Restaurant, Brasure’s Pest Control, Energy Gym, the Toy Corner, Brasure’s Carpet Care, Selbyville Pet & Garden, Frankford Family Diner, All Out Sports, BJ’s Wholesale Club, Dagsboro Paint & Wallpaper, Denney Lighting & Design, Cromeworld, Dennis Treasure House, Giant Foods, Harris Teeter, Roy’s Place, Em-ings, King Kone, Creative Day Spa, Phillips Seafood, Higgins Crab House, Ocean Resort Golf Club, Golf Down Under, Lombardi’s Restaurant, Sam’s Ocean City Hair Cutters, the Abby Burger Bistro, Ocean City 360 restaurant, Green Turtle, Turkey Hill Ice Cream Plant, Fox Theaters, Olive Garden, Carl M. Freeman Golf Facilities, Winterthur Museum & Gardens, Perrones Barbershop, Rena and Richard Jackson Hershey, Pete and Laila Skofteland Hand-Crafted Pizza Cutter, East View Farms, Herr’s Chips, Scott Shockley, Longwood Gardens, Milt & Geri Warren and Delmarva Two Way Radio.
Keenwick Sound Homeowners Association