[Buddha-l] Ethical Dilemmas
donnab at hawaii.edu
Mon Jun 14 17:36:53 MDT 2010
The equation of Aztec sacrifice and the entire current U.S. legal system
is unfortunate. However, when reading the description of Aztec sacrifice
I couldn't help but recall a painting of people (including children, as I
recall) having a picnic around the bodies of African-Americans who had
been lynched and were still hanging from the trees.
I'm not sure we Americans still can make a claim to having totally
civilized legal system. We have had great difficulty seeing the barbarity
of executing children or persons with severe learning disabilities, let
alone incongruity of our celebration of "right to life" while still
extinguishing life in the name of the state, something our European
cousins appear to have figured out awhile back.
I attended a law forum awhile back that included Supreme Court Justice
Ruth Bader Ginsburg and John Yoo (the person who thinks torture if done by
Americans is not in violation of the Geneva conventions). The discussion
was on the concept of _jus cogens_, which Black's Dictionary defines as:
"A mandatory norm of general international law from which no two
or more nations may exempt themselves or release one another."
In layperson's terms, a concept that would compel us to take into account
an international legal norm such as abandoning the death penalty.
Not surprisingly, the conservatives were adamant that the U.S. should
not be influenced by anything other countries say or do.
How does this relate to Buddhism? I realize that I'm one of those
knee-jerk, bleeding-heart liberal, vegetarian former flower children
Buddhists that have been referred to with some disdain in the past on
Buddha-l. But I will hold to my image of the Buddha as a man who would
not have been enthusiastic about watching someone be lynched, especially
for the crime of having a different skin color and whistling at a woman
with paler skin.
Have a safe and joyful day,
donna Bair-Mundy, Ph.D.
Instructor, LIS Program
Information & Computer Sci. Dept.
POST Bldg., Room 314-D
University of Hawai`i at Manoa
1680 East-West Road
Honolulu, HI 96822
Voice: 808-956-3973 Fax: 808-956-3548
<donnab at hawaii.edu>
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