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The Abolishment of Capital Punishment

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The Abolishment of Capital Punishment

Capital punishment has been part of the criminal justice system since the earliest of times. But opponents have argued that the death penalty is racist, economically unjustified, and in violation of the United States Constitution as "...cruel and unusual punishment" (“Chronology”). However, today much of the debate over capital punishment is about whether it is morally right to sentence a person who has committed a serious crime to death. This paper will address the moral issues in the controversy over whether capital punishment should be abolished.

The death penalty has been part of most of the world’s justice system since the beginning of civilization. The Hammed code stated, "an eye for and eye." In the Old Testament there are many cases in which God commands the use of capital punishment. One example is the flood of Noah in Genesis 6-8. God destroyed all human and animal life except that which was on the ark. Another example is Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis 18-19, where God destroys two cities because of the heinous sin of the inhabitants. Although many Christians argue that capital punishment does not apply to the New Testament, there is evidence to show that the New Testament scripts reinforce the principles of capital punishment (Anderson). Romans 13:1-7, for example, teaches that God ordains human government and that civil magistrate is a minister of God (Anderson). Although laws governing the application of the death penalty have undergone many changes since biblical times, the punishment endures.

Common execution methods have included crucifixion, boiling in oil, burning at the stake, stoning, and being thrown from a cliff, among others (“Background”). The methods of execut...

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...es With No Death Penalty Share Lower Homicide Rates”. The New York Times. 22 Sep 2000. Lexis-Nexis. Scarborough-Phillips Lib. 31 Oct 2000.

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“Current situation:States Mull Changes”. CQ Researcher Online. 10 Mar 1995. Scarborough-Phillips Lib. 6 Oct 2000.

“The Issue”. CQ Researcher Online. 10 Mar 1995. Scarborough-Phillips Lib. 6 Oct 2000.

“Methods of Execution Worldwide”. Amnesty International-USA Web Site.03 May 1999. 6 Oct 2000.

Pambianco, Robert V. “Conservative Debate Death Penality: We’er not executing the innocent”. The Denver Post. 23 June 2000. Lexis-Nexis. Scarborough-Phillips Lib. 31 Oct 2000.

Saunders, Debra J. ”Gore and Bush Spar Over Hate Crimes”. 13 Oct 2000. The San Francisco Chronicle. Lexis-Nexis. Scarborough-Phillips Lib. 31 Oct 2000.
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