Dhlazare at Dhlazare at
Thu Jun 11 06:05:58 PDT 1998

According to Christopher Hill, it all began during the English Civil War when Cromwell's soldiers would go into a battle with a Bible strapped to their breast. Whenever a Bible stopped a royalist bullet (as they sometimes did), it would be taken as a sign that the Big Guy Upstairs was truly on the parliamentary side. n addition, he says it was around this time that the habit began of opening the Bible at random and basing one's actions on the first verse that caught one's eye.

Dan Lazare

In a message dated 98-06-11 08:32:02 EDT, you write:

<< of a tough new U.S. bankruptcy bill, which was literally written by a

credit industry law firm (a point the NYT doesn't report), say they want to

tighten the code to impose a sense of responsibility among profligate


And, responsibility of another sort, too. From a profile of Eleanore L.

Walker, a juoror who voted the other day to condemn Darrel K. Harris to

death for a triple murder, the first death sentence in New York State in


"She found the answer the following morning. When she awoke on Saturday,

Ms. Walker said, she opened her Bible and came to the Book of Galatians.

'It said something about how the wicked must be destroyed,' she recalled.

'Everything I read pointed to wickedness, destruction, reaping and

repenting. I took it as a strong sign of what my decision should be.

It helped me.


That Ms. Walker, who cast the criticl final vite, traced her change of

heart to a religious epiphany is not unusual, experts say. WIlliam Bowers,

who heads the Capital Jury Project, which since 1991 has interviewed 1,000

death penalty jurors in 15 states, said that jurors burdened by their

responsibility will on occasion invoke what they perceive as the will of


'It's mostly that it relieves them of a measure of personal

responsibility for the decision.'"

In other words, God made 'em do it.

If only Ms. Walker's bible had fallen open to the "let him who is without

sin cast the first stone" passage.


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