The Death Penalty: Calling All Comments

A friend of mine who is in the process of moving from a vague atheism/agnosticism to Christianity of some sort (it remains to be seen), asks the following:

Do you know of some Christian pro/con arguments on the Death Penalty?

I am against the death penalty myself, at least in the First World (or anywhere else where penal institutions can successfully prevent recidivism, even if they often don’t). But if anyone wants to provide good reasons, either for or against, it might make for a more dynamic answer. Here’s what I’m looking for:

  • Your own views on the death penalty
  • Arguments pro and con
  • Answers to said arguments
  • Biblical justification (he asked for “Christian pro/con arguments,” after all)

Anyways, feel free to either e-mail them to me or post them in the comment box. I’ll take whatever anyone says and try to incorporate it into the answer (as well as linking him to this post, if there are comments).

He’s in a transitional state right now, and he’s more open-minded on his views on things than most people usually are: I think his realization that there really is a God has opened him up to rethinking a lot of his earlier conclusions. So anything you say or write, please do it with a spirit of charity and evangelism!

2 Comments

  1. I’ve never been comfortable with supporting the death penalty, but as my faith expanded I became firmly against it.

    1) Although not the same thing (innocence v. guilt for one thing) I cannot in good conscience be both anti-abortion and pro-death penalty…for all the seemingly logical reasons I won’t reiterate.

    2) The death penalty doesn’t work to reduce crime or keep the population safe. We execute more people in this country than any other democratic nation on earth, yet our violent crime rates remain steadily higher.

    3) The law may be blind and objective, but those administering the law are not and never have been. The law may successfully declare in as objective way possible whether someone is guilty or not, but people (with all their personal sin, bias, prejudice, baggage) are the ones declaring sentencing. I don’t think anyone would like their “ultimate fate” put in the hands of such broken people.

    4) Mandatory sentencing is really no better if it includes ultimate punishments of life in prison or death. Simply put, every situation and person is unique, and every human life (even those of harden criminals) was made to reflect the image of God. That must be respected and honored. Mandatory sentencing devalues / denies the unique reality of every situation and the image of God present in every person. It objectifies life.

    4) The death penalty in this country has been used to execute innocent people. That is fact. I’m not talking about people guilty of other crimes just not the one they were killed for, either. I’m talking about people who never before committed a crime, let alone the one they were executed for. There isn’t a number of guilty executions high enough to justify even one execution of an innocent…expecially given the alternatives that a wealthy society such as ours can offer.

    5) Following through on death penalties costs our state and fedearl governments more money than if those same people were simply sentanced to life in prison…even life in solitary prison.

    6) The death penalty is not only violence agaisnt the criminal but also against those who administer it. What sane, healthy, loving, caring, and otherwise centered individual can inject a healthy person with poison, drop gas pellots into acid under a person’s chair, or throw an elctrical switch to litterally cook someone’s brain without themselves being tortured in the process, too.

    I have more and will also comment on reasons I can appreciate for those who advocate support of the death penalty…but I need to run…

    DJ|AMDG

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