Capital Punishment Essay: Christians and Capital Punishment

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Christians and the Capital Punishment

The restoration of the death penalty by the Supreme Court prompted statements of opposition by some Christians around the country. This essay reflects on these statements and draws the conclusion of their suitability and correctness in light of our Christian heritage and other secular, practical reasons.

These statements acknowledge that Christians of equally serious moral concern can and do disagree on the issue of capital punishment. We must honor the personal freedom in Christ for different people to exercise moral discernment and come to different conclusions on this issue. Still, many Christians feel compelled to bear witness to our views and ask the people of America to give us heed.

The death penalty might be justified as the lesser of two evils if it could be shown conclusively that, by inhibiting violent crime, it served as a significant protection to society. However, the weight of sociological research strongly suggests the reverse - that lawful violence may actually encourage criminal violence. Since the sociology of...

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... Its actual use in our state demeans us all. It reduces our shared dignity as human persons and violates our professed respect for human life.

That there should be punishment of crime, we hold to be self-evident. That the punishment should fit both the crime and the criminal we hold to be the steadfast aim of our courts of law. If the law of the land should mature to the point of forbidding the retaliatory violence of punishing crime by killing the criminal, we would hold this to be a triumph of God's redemptive sovereignty in human affairs.
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