Tag Archives: death penalty

[VIDEO] SWE Religious and Political Beliefs: A Conversation with Michael Brooks (@_MichaelBrooks)


Hi, Michael… I wanted to call yesterday, but I lost my voice this weekend. I’m still hoarse today. Sorry about that.

Okay, I’m reading this because I’m nervous, and I want to make sure to get it right and make it quick. I’m an atheist, but I was raised in Texas in the Christian church. Sometimes on the show, you talk about atheism and religion, but I don’t think anyone there has my background, or gets it in quite the way that I do. I want to try to help your listeners understand what’s going on with guns and religious conservatives, particularly here in the south.

Christian evangelicals don’t believe you get to Heaven by being a good person; you get there through the grace of God by accepting Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and savior. The whole turn-the-other-cheek thing isn’t really a thing, because nothing is. No sin matters. No matter what evil you perpetrate, or what atrocity you commit, if you’re saved, it’s all good. You get to go to heaven, end of story.

Another thing that they believe is that everything happens for a reason. You need to understand that they believe that every person who was murdered Sunday night in Vegas, and every person who will be disabled because of the wounds they suffered, and every person who will lose important parts of their life due to their injuries… all of them, every single one, God meant it to happen to. God is mysterious, and he has his reasons, and because he’s God, they’re perfect reasons.

Another thing that you need to understand is that a terrifying number of these people believe that the world is going to end in their lifetime, and they’re thrilled about it. It’s a happy bedtime story they tell their children, how they’re going to be raptured up to heaven to be with Jesus, and all the non-Christians are going to be stuck here, and get tortured during the tribulation.

You need to understand that for people who believe in these things, there is no such thing as an abomination that can’t be fixed. For example, let’s say you keep a gun in the house, and your kid gets a hold of it, and they accidentally kill themselves and their little friends. It doesn’t matter.

  • First of all, if you’re saved, you’re forgiven for being careless.
  • Second of all, your saved kid and their little saved friends get to go to Heaven faster than if it didn’t happen.
  • Third of all, God is going to fix everything up, and straighten everything out, up there.

The Point Is: Justice On Earth Is Not Important.

It’s one of the reasons they’re so in favor of the death penalty, even after the work of The Innocence Project. It doesn’t matter if you execute innocent people, because God is going to fix it in heaven.

I spent this whole weekend in East Texas with my family. They are all Trump. I met their friends, who introduced themselves by saying, “I’m 100% Trump, nice to meet you!” What the fuck am I supposed to say to that? “I’m 100% not, nice to meet you?”

Obamacare has literally saved my life this year. 2017 is the first time I’ve had insurance since I was a military child dependent, and I’m older than dirt.

My family knows all of this. They know I am being cared for now.

They know that I have incurable conditions that are now documented as pre-existing.

They know what’s going on with the Republican repeal efforts.

My 27 year-old niece, a Christian, who loves me, sat at the kitchen table, and told me, “I’m healthy. I shouldn’t have to pay more because of sick people. All I care about is that my insurance is cheap. If that means you don’t get to have any, I’m good with that.”

I need you and your listeners to understand that it never occurred to her that as a Christian, she ought to say something other than that. It may have flashed through her mind that that kind of selfishness is sinful, but it doesn’t matter, because she’s saved.

Anyway… If you guys ever want to talk about southern Christian evangelicals, and you need somebody who knows that world because they grew up in it, and their family is still in it, I’m your man. That’s it.


If I Were Michael Dukakis – The Death Penalty Answer

Perhaps among the dozen most famous Presidential Debate Moments in our national history came in the 1988 race, and was asked of Michael Dukakis, then Massachusetts Governor, a Democrat:

“If Kitty Dukakis were raped and murdered, would you favor an irrevocable death penalty for the killer?”

His response was widely condemned for being dispassionate. I was young then, but my reaction was that he was blindsided, and that the question was unfairly sensational and personal. To this day, I do not fault his response in the moment.

[SIDEBAR: I was on national TV a few times on “Jeopardy.” The first time, I was so damn terrified that they had to move the clip-on mic away from my heart, because they could hear it pounding in the control booth. I don’t judge.]

Having said that, If I were Michael Dukakis, this is what I wish I would have said in that nationally televised moment:

“Kitty is the love of my life. If I lost her, the person I’d want to kill would be myself… But she and I have built a family together. I like to believe I would find my courage, remember my responsibilities to my family, and put them first, before my personal anguish and suffering.

I take my responsibilities as Governor of Massachusetts just as seriously. Fury is a fire that can keep you emotionally warm, but it does NOTHING to protect the citizens you’ve sworn to serve.

The facts on the death penalty are these:

  • There is no evidence the death penalty deters anything.
  • There are better, more effective, and less expensive ways to prevent and punish murder.
  • I oppose it, as do the citizens of my state, who have outlawed it.
  • Without it, Massachusetts has experienced the biggest drop in crime, and the lowest murder rate of any industrial state in America.

These are the FACTS.

Fury may keep you emotionally warm, but facts keep your citizens safe. That is how I have governed Massachusetts, and how I will govern The United States if elected.”


Dear reader, if you have read this far, here is your reward: “The West Wing” on the same subject. You wanna watch the whole clip (because it’s hilarious), but the relevant content starts around two minutes: