CAPITAL PUNISHMENT: THE DEATH PENALTY
Capital punishment is a controversial and perpetual subject of moral and political debate in the United States. There are liberal groups protesting the death penalty, claiming that the civil rights of the convicted party have been violated. As a child advocate, my question is why are the rights of the deceased victim and the victim’s family marginalized? Where are these protesters during the trial when the accused is being tried for the torture, rape, and murder of a child? Why are the Constitutional rights of the victim minimalized?
I have interviewed a few men and women who have been incarcerated for murdering a child. In prison all they have is time; they either use the time to reflect on their heinous acts or justify them. Most claim they feel remorse for their crimes; but, are they truly remorseful and culpable for their acts of terror? Or are they simply sorry because they were ...view middle of the document...
The Bible makes it crystal clear that, “Anyone who strikes a person with a fatal blow is to be put to death” (NIV, Exodus 21:12, Genesis 9:6).
It is true that we are no longer held to the statutes of ancient Israel for “Grace” replaced the Old Testament law; however, human life is very precious to God. In ancient Israel if a person killed another accidentally they could find protection in a city of refuge. “Select some towns to be your cities of refuge, to which a person who has killed someone accidentally may flee” (NIV, Numbers 35:11; Deuteronomy 19:1-13). Today, this would be a sentence of manslaughter as opposed to murder. Presently 32 States carry capital punishment; however, the death penalty was and is never employed arbitrarily or casually. God does not admonish vigilantism (Romans 12: 14-21) and it is for this reason He has employed civil governments as the instrument for imposing sentences, including capital punishment (Romans 13: 1-4); therefore as Christians, we are to abide by the due process of government ( Romans 13:1; Compare 1 Peter 2:13; Acts 25:11; Proverbs 8:15).
The scriptures clearly state that swift justice deters crime (Eccl. 8:11, Deut. 13:5, 17:7, 19:19, 21:21, 22:21; 1 Corinthians 5:13) and God makes it clear how He feels about murderers…they must die (Genesis 9:6; Exodus 21:12:Leviticus 24:17). Violent criminals need to be removed and remain incapacitated from society. Confusion among Christians’ does exist due to scriptural context relating to forgiveness. I advocate capital punishment because I do believe it is a deterrent, however innocent people should not be targeted; the evidence provided would have to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Criminal Justice is not outside the sphere of Christian thinking and in adhering to a Biblical Worldview, God created humans with the ability to declare verdicts and carry out judgments (Genesis 1-3). When humans in the area of law carry out justice, he or she uses their God given role.
Hendrix, N. & Inciardi, J. (2014). Expérience Criminal Justice (1st ed.). Columbus, OH: McGraw-Hill, Chapter 10.