Karla Faye Tucker’s execution in February for a grisly double homicide turned into a circus, complete with roaring helicopters with searchlights, live broadcasts via satellite, throngs of death penalty supporters and protesters, and scores of reporters (including disapproving “enlightened” Europeans). Why such a frenzy?

As detailed endlessly in the month before her death by such divergent entities as the 700 Club and CNN, iMs. Tucker was a “changed” woman, a born-again Christian who had been “rehabilitated,” and therefore deserving of clemency. She desired life without parole so that she could continue to spread the Gospel to other inmates and be a living example of the redemptive work of Christ. To her credit, she stated that she was not afraid to die. However, she was praying to be spared. She compared herself to Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane pleading with God that He take away the cup of death: if Jesus Himself could ask for clemency, she felt she could as well. All of the interviews with Ms. Tucker were the standard, super-sensational bombshells, achieving their intended purpose of leaving the public wondering, “How can this poor woman be put to death?”

The whole sad episode was summed up in this misguided woman’s Christian analogy. While I was not surprised that CNN’s nominally Jewish, actually agnostic Larry King did not refute it, where was the instruction from the 700 Club and Pat Robertson? Jesus Christ was without sin in the Garden when He asked His Father to do away with the inevitable, while Karla Faye was on death row for pick-axing to death an ex-lover and his new woman. While it is understandable that someone destined for execution would grasp at any straw to stay alive, and that her husband would want to keep her alive as well, the Pop Christianity of Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson et al., was unconscionable.

Jerry, Pat, and friends refused to remind Karla of St. Paul’s admonition in Romans 13, that Christians be subject to righteous law, as it is from God. (“Rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. . . . If thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for [the ruler] beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil”) Nor did they refer her to C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity, in which he states, “If one had committed a murder, the right Christian thing to do would be to give yourself up to the police and be hanged.” Lewis then describes the difference in the Greek and Hebrew between the words “kill” and “murder” and points out that Christ uses the word “murder” when quoting the Sixth Commandment. This material difference has been lost not only on Hollywood—in such anti-death penalty films as The Chamber—but on Pop Christians as well.

Pick-ax murderers forfeit their right to live when they obliterate the lives of their victims. While this woman may have found Christ’s love and humbly submitted her soul to His will, as things stand now, there is no way Robertson, Falwell et al., cannot rush to the aid of every murderer who claims Christian conversion.

Since Karla Faye Tucker was in her infancy as a Christian, wiser counsel could have made her a sterling model of the true peace that one is given by Christ, a modern-day example of the 23rd Psalm. Instead, Pop Christianity has lined up with those dedicated to the eradication of true Christianity, villainized government officials for doing one of the few jobs for which people actually don’t mind paying taxes, and weakened the Faith they claim to profess.