We have previously discussed how some insanity defense cases raise actions that are identical to those of religious figures in the Bible. What is considered a divine act in the Bible remains a heinous act in the criminal code. That is the paradox involved in the case of Kimberly Lucas, 40, who killed her former partner’s two-year-old daughter after listening to a sermon of Metropolitan Community Church Pastor Lea Brown on Genesis 22 where God asks Abraham to kill his son Isaac.
The MCC boasts “over 40 years of ministry to the GLBT community and beyond” in the “worship and celebrate God’s all-inclusive love.” Brown is quoted as saying later that the sermon on obeying the wishes of God to kill a child was meant to make another point: “The message of that sermon was the message of every sermon we have here which is about the redemption and the healing that we can find in God’s love even in the face of things we don’t understand. And that’s what the message was and whatever happened in her mind, only god knows.”
Lucas was arrested for allegedly killing Elliana Lucas-Jamason and attempting to kill her 10-year-old brother of the girl before trying to kill herself. In a suicide note, she refers to the sermon of Genesis 22 and said “Lea’s sermon really, really touched me yesterday, but God never told me to stop!”
The note also reportedly blames Lucas former lesbian partner, the mother of the slain girl. The note states “In YOUR WORDS ‘WHEN YOU ARE LAYING IN BED AT NIGHT REMEMBER YOU (expletive) DID THIS TOO YOURSELF!'”
We previously discussed how acts heralded in the Bible are viewed as manifestly insane in actual cases. For a prior column, click here. For those who are mentally unbalanced, stories like that of Abraham can resonate in a dangerous way as shown in this case. The fact that such individuals may believe that they are acting under orders of God is obviously no defense and prosecutors often oppose its use as part of an insanity defense.
Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!”
“Here I am,” he replied.
Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.”
Early the next morning Abraham got up and loaded his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. When he had cut enough wood for the burnt offering, he set out for the place God had told him about.
On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. He said to his servants, “Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you.”
Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them went on together, Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, “Father?”
“Yes, my son?” Abraham replied.
“The fire and wood are here,” Isaac said, “but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?”
Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” And the two of them went on together.
When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. But the angel of the Lord called out to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!”
“Here I am,” he replied.
“Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.”
Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram[a] caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called that place The Lord Will Provide. And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.”
The angel of the Lord called to Abraham from heaven a second time and said, “I swear by myself, declares the Lord, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, and through your offspring[b] all nations on earth will be blessed,[c] because you have obeyed me.”