My mother and I had to question the wisdom of the New York Times
, which saw "fit to print" way more sordid and salacious details from the Dennis Rader trial than could reasonably fit in anyone's definition of "news." Did we really need to know that one of his eleven year-old victims wore mary jane's when she was murdered? This particular details plays too close to school girl snuff fantasies to deserve an outing in the Times
Reading Rader's testimony was like reading something right out of the Marquis de Sade, only without the sick humor. And with de Sade, we have very little evidence that he actually committed many of the horrid depravities he wrote about and imagined.
But BTK, despite his tears and remorse (which seemed genuine for his own family but did not extend much beyond them) has a similar kind of insouciance, a sneering sense of pride in his own perversity that approaches de Sade's tone and approach to cruelty. "I'm sorry," he remarked. "I know this [his victim] is a human being, but I'm a monster."
He is beyond despicable. He is beyond hatred, although I certainly hate him purely and completely, and I don't intend to give that up for Yom Kippur or for Lent. He is beyond my concept of God's grace, but I'll leave the fate of his soul to the Lord, as it's none of my business (perhaps the Universalists would like to take a shot at it?).
I sincerely hope that he will be tormented in prison, painfully and for a long time. I hope that he will die painfully in prison, but only after long , terrible suffering. Only then may he learn compassion (suffering with)
in its true sense.
I don't much care if that's not very Christian of me. I never claimed to be a good Christian. I claim to be a practicing
Beyond the atrocities committed upon the bodies and personhood of his victims, BTK -- in his monumentally evil egotism -- dared to keep a file he called "Afterlife Concepts," wherein he assigned his victims roles in his fiendish eternity. His eleven year old victim would be his sexual toy. Another would be his personal slave. And so on. I'm not sure that even the Marquis deSade went so far as to defile the eternal soul of his victims, even as de Sade railed in grandiose manner against all the sacraments and ceremony of the Church (so much so that one begins to laugh and enjoy it. Or maybe that's just me appreciating the high drama that approaches farce).
I should think that while the criminal justice system decides BTK's fate as a citizen, religious people might seriously consider his spiritual fate, and certainly that of his victims. Remember Shirley Ceasar, the great and mighty gospel singer, singing ~
"SATAN, we're gonna tear your kingdom down!
SATAN we're gonna tear your kingdom down!
You've been BUILDing your KINGdom all over this land,
SATAN, we're gonna tear your kingdom down (oh glory to God).
The mothers are gonna pray your kingdom down.
The mothers are gonna pray your kingdom down.
You've been building your kingdom
all in the house of God.
SATAN, we're gonna tear your kingdom down!" (And etc.)
Dennis Rader's kind of evil invites spiritual warfare; a concept quite foreign to religious liberals. Sure, yes, absolutely, fix the neurology, fix the chemistry, fix the socio-economic system, fix the Church, fix the schools, fix the society, protest porn, protest repression, protest all you want, however you want. Yes, I know he's still a human. I know he's not Satan. I know he's a product of many factors. I know. I know. And I'm asking for spiritual warfare because not only did he annhilate their bodies, he made claims on their souls.
So, religious people:
Pray, if you will, for the souls of those dead by BTK's hand, who by any animistic religion's definition are sure candidates for "hainthood," and who left their bodies in a state of extreme terror, agony, horror and likely sense of abandonment. Pray for them because he intends to populate his heaven with them.
I know this is hard reading for a snarky little blog, but I think it needs to be said. There is far more to these crimes than what was done to the victims. There is spiritual consequence. There are souls at stake. I am a Christian and I do believe that those souls are beyond pain and that they rest in the peace of God. But while their tormenter still lives and still holds them to him by this terrible, vile intimacy of claiming them for his own afterlife, I think it's well worth it to pray them over, and pray them over, and pray them over again.
These are the names by which they were known in this life:
Julie, Josephine and Joseph Otero.
Dolores E. Davis.
"...neither death nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature
, shall be able to separate us from the love of God..." -- Romans 8:38