Popescu introduced himself with a public prayer, blaming environmental damage and economic unrest on the wickedness of society. His comments were met with silence as some students grimaced and shifted in their seats.
Near the end of the more than two-hour event, students were invited to ask the candidates questions. As a long line of pupils waited to speak, Popescu told a young female student who asked about stem cell research that, "God would hurt" those who had an abortion.
The crowd jeered and many rose to their feet in protest after Popescu answered another teenager's question on gay marriage.
During a telephone interview later in the day, Popescu reasserted his view. "A young man asked me what I think of homosexual marriages and I said I think homosexuals should be executed," he said. "My whole reason for running is the Bible and the Bible couldn't be more clear on that point."
Source: The Sudbury Star
Other Christians have naturally been quick to distance themselves from David Popescu and condemn his ideas, but his case here raises an interesting question which conservative Christians should be pressed on: if biblical condemnations of some behavior should be adopted, why shouldn't the corresponding biblical punishments for that behavior be adopted as well?
Conservative Christians find ways to wiggle out of accepting all biblical rules on an equal basis, dividing them up into "moral" and "non-moral" categories that seem to have no basis outside their own personal, non-biblical values. The same rationalizations can't work when it comes to the punishments, though, and the only option that seems open to them is to state plainly that the biblical punishments would be immoral today — that they may have been appropriate in primitive societies several thousand years ago, but that we've grown up and grown beyond that.
Once such a move is made, though, I don't think it would be possible to maintain that the prohibitions in question are somehow still appropriate in modern society. If executing gays is immoral, why is the prohibition on homosexuality still acceptable? If it's appropriate for modern society to prohibit homosexuality, why isn't it appropriate to simply execute gays as is prescribed in the same source that is telling us to prohibit homosexuality in the first place?
Paul Camillo, principal of Sudbury Secondary, emphasized the school's inclusiveness in his closing remarks but did not condemn the statement.
"We're here today to hear what the candidates have to say," he said in an interview. "As an inclusive school, we respect all other opinion although we may not agree with them -- and I know there were definitely some things said today that we don't agree with."
People like Paul Camillo are almost as bad as people like David Popescu. No, Mr. Camillo, you do not have to respect all other opinions and in fact no moral, rational, sensible person should respect all opinions. You should not respect the opinion that gays should be killed. You should not respect the opinion that Jews should be killed. You should not respect the opinion that blacks are inferior and should be enslaved. You should not respect the opinion that white Christians should rule society. Respecting such opinions is itself immoral and nearly as bad as holding those opinions.
You should respect a person's right to hold such opinions, no matter how noxious, evil, and immoral they are. You should respect a person's right to express such opinions, though you are not necessarily obligated to give them a platform from which they can do so alongside every other opinion as if all opinions were perfectly equal. You should respect the possibility that a person probably holds such opinions for what they are convinced are good reasons and not simply because they want to be evil. You should also try to respect the person themselves, however little they respect others.
None of this, however, is even remotely close to respecting the opinions of anyone. Opinions do not deserve any automatic respect in the way that fellow human beings do. Opinions have to earn respect based on their intellectual and moral qualities. Not all opinions are equal: some are more moral and some are more immoral; some are intellectually sound while others are completely nonsense. Opinions that are immoral and/or nonsensical should not be respected or treated as the equals of opinions that are moral and reasonable; anyone who does so ultimately denies the value of both morality and reason.