It might be an assumption on the part of Charles Davenport Jr. (“Time to dust off the death chamber,” Aug. 4) that “most of us” agree with lex talionis, the concept of justice being retributive.

“An eye for an eye,” found in the books of Exodus and Leviticus, derives from the Code of Hammurabi and was a guiding principle for restorative justice: application of and knowledge of the law tempered with mercy. “An eye for an eye” not only leaves the whole world blind,” as Gandhi has said, but is also a tempering of previous policies of “a life for an eye.”

Retributive justice, which Davenport says most of us support, teaches that making someone else feel a measure of our pain will make everyone feel satisfied; we will feel that justice has been served. I believe that Jesus calls us to embrace restorative justice, which seeks healing and wholeness.

Yes, I have lost loved ones to violence. Retributive “justice” would, I believe, leave me blinded in my relationships, both with God and with others.

The Rev. Beth Woodard


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