Pro-capital punishment = pro-life

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I received a comment on this old post so I thought I would re-run it.

First, the comment.

I could only get through about the first few paragraphs before getting bored of the same old hypocrisy.  If killing people is wrong, then killing anyone is wrong. And that includes killing those that kill.

My reply:

Can you see the difference between A and B?

A. Innocent but unwanted human being crushed and dismembered in the womb with no appeals.

B. Convicted rapist / murderer put to death in least painless way possible after surviving 10+ years of appeals.

If you can’t, then rational dialog here will be impossible.

Too many people confuse the principle of capital punishment and the practice. There is nothing wrong with capital punishment in principle: A life for a life. There can be things worth debating about CP in practice.

There are 20,000+ abortions in the U.S. per week and one capital punishment. If anyone thinks CP is unfairly applied then they are welcome to oppose it. But if they are pro-legalized abortion then I will mock them until my fingertips are raw.

The original post

Huh?  How can a pro-capital punishment position be considered pro-life?  OK, I’ll concede that it isn’t particularly pro-life for the one receiving the death penalty.  But it is pro-life for the rest of us.  For what it is worth, I do prison ministry and know more murderers than most people do.  I’m not all hot-blooded about killing people, I just don’t like to see bad arguments on either side of the issue.

I realize that the media, pro-choice people and comedians like to mock the alleged inconsistency of pro-lifers who are also pro-capital punishment (“They oppose killing in the womb but don’t mind it for those outside the womb!  Ha!”).    I’ve heard many Christians poke fun at it as well.

But that argument is just a foolish sound bite, as it assumes that killing an innocent unborn human being is morally equivalent to killing a convicted murderer.   One is innocent, the other guilty.  If they want to argue against capital punishment then they need better reasoning than that.

Capital punishment is pro-life in that it regards the taking of innocent human life as the greatest crime, and thus deserving of the greatest punishment.  It also recognizes the deterrent effect as well as the prevention of future murders (executed criminals hardly ever kill again).  Therefore, it seeks to preserve additional innocent lives.  This is consistent with the pro-life view that abortions are permissible if the life of the mother is at stake.

If people want to make jokes about inconsistencies, a better example would be those who don’t mind the crushing and dismemberment of innocent human beings (without anesthetic) but protest when a convicted murderer is to be executed and who want to ensure he dies as painlessly as possible.

As always, I am pro-choice provided that the unborn get the same 10 years of appeals that convicted murderers do.

Perhaps we should just call capital punishment “123rd trimester abortions.”  Then the pro-choicers would support it.

Finally, consider how many pro-legalized abortionists wax philosophical about how we just don’t know when life begins.  Aside from the scientific fact that life begins at conception, they never consider erring on the side of caution.  If you aren’t sure where life begins, wouldn’t it be prudent to err on the side of life?  But here’s the bigger irony: While they ignore that rather obvious point, they have no problem saying we should never use capital punishment because we might be executing someone who is innocent.

I realize that there can be legitimate concerns about whether capital punishment is always applied fairly, but that is a topic for another day.  Just for the record I do have concerns about how it is applied in the U.S. If we used a Biblical model for justice (i.e., two eye witnesses and punishments for perjury equivalent to the crime in question) then I’d be more comfortable with it.

Also see ineffective arguments against capital punishment and somewhat effective arguments against capital punishment.

51 thoughts on “Pro-capital punishment = pro-life

  1. Neil–

    I know we’re dealing with a minute segment of the population when it comes to c.p., but shouldn’t there be a consideration that capital punishment also denies an individual the fullest opportunity for repentance and acceptance of Jesus Christ? With the imposition of a state sanctioned execution, I think an argument can be made that this human institution of justice and retribution falls short of God’s intentions, especially when that system is woefully flawed (and, in a sense, anti-evangelical). Just some quick thoughts for consideration.

    • but shouldn’t there be a consideration that capital punishment also denies an individual the fullest opportunity for repentance and acceptance of Jesus Christ?

      Jeff, I don’t think so. After all, from the moment the crime is committed, the criminal has an opportunity to repent until he breathes his last breath — people arent executed for decades after trial, there is plenty of time. But aside from capital punishment, natural death also doesnt afford the fullest opportunity in the same way.

  2. Hi Jeff – That is the best and toughest argument (from a Christian worldview) against c.p. that I am aware of. For example, David Berkowitz (the “Son of Sam” who killed 6 or so in NY in the 70′s) has been a powerful and (apparently) authentic convert. Had he received the death penalty he might have missed out on his conversion. (Yet with our appeals process, perhaps not.)

    To the same point, wouldn’t that make the original crimes that much more serious since the killers may have denied others the opportunity to repent and believe? I know the short answer is that God is sovereign over such things, but those are interesting hypotheticals.

    Even though I live in Texas I’m really not a “Woo-hoo! Capital punishment rocks!” kind of person. I’ve just been thinking through some of the classic Biblical and secular arguments each way.

    What you brought up is good food for thought. I’ll take a shot at addressing those points in a future post!

    • I don’t think keeping people alive in prison/death row on the grounds that they [I]might[/I] convert to Christianity….is a good argument for keeping them there for decades at taxpayer expense.

      Really, the fact that there is such a long delay between sentencing and actual punishment (peppered with endless appeals at taxpayer expense) undermines much of the deterrent value of capital punishment. (This in fact is one of the reasons used by those who oppose the death penalty.) The answer, though, lies in correcting this problem, not in throwing out the death penalty. It’s time to put a limit on the number of appeals, as well as adopt legislation stating that these people are to be put to death immediately as soon as those are exhausted. The initial trial might drag on for months, and even that is too long.

      [I]“Even though I live in Texas I’m really not a “Woo-hoo! Capital punishment rocks!” kind of person.”[/I]

      I live in California, and I am that kind of person. The relatives of the victim deserve no less. I also do not understand why our society is so squeamish about using the old-fashioned execution methods like hanging or firing squads.

      • Hmm…what’s the secret to embedding HTML tags around here? Seems different on every blog I visit….

      • Okay, so the symbols didn’t come through. Use the greater-than and less-than signs (above the comma and period) to open and close html instead of the brackets. So [i]italics[/i] becomes italics.

    • If you are anti abortion and pro execution,then,you are pro birth not pro life. If life is sacred then,ALL life is. You do not get to decide who is worthy of life,and who is not. That is Gods job,and He need no help from mere mortals.

      • Hi Dave,

        Capital punishment was God’s idea and He gave guidelines on how to administer it. He reiterated it in Romans 13. Nothing in the Bible overturns that.

  3. I think you’re right Neil, innocence is what makes the difference. However, we have no absolute guarantee that innocent people have not and will not be put to death accidentally, through failures of the legal system. (Not even the most pro-death advocate could argue that the system is perfect, right?) Recent revelations about innocent people on death row being aquitted due to new evidence shows us, in fact, that the system is far from perfect. There are plenty of other concerns about fairness, racial equality, etc. but my argument is about innocent people being put to death.

    So it is indeed comparing the innocent death of an unborn baby with the innocent death of a born person.

    In my mind arguing that we’ll have to kill a few innocent people on death row in order to make us all safer is about as silly as arguing that killing babies conceived via rape or incest is OK. It’s just situational ethics, which I don’t buy for a second, and neither did Christ.

    So, this argument combined with Jeff’s, and the fact that the death penalty is not applied fairly, is not a deterrent, does not save money, etc. are all why I’m not pro-death. I’m not pro-death when it comes to babies, and I’m not pro-death when it comes to adults.

  4. Hi Alan – You hold the same position as my wife, which means you are probably right.

    I have serious concerns about how the death penalty is currently applied, which, as I noted, I’ll address later. Given where our justice system is relative to God’s model for justice, I think I can make a pretty solid argument against the death penalty. But the ACLU won’t know whether to love it (it supports their position) or hate it (it involves God).

    Seems like either side could use the acquittal of innocent people argument. Yes, innocent people are sometimes found guilty, but the appeals process works at least some of the time.

    Yet my argument above assumes that it is fairly applied. If anyone has verses they would use to support an anti-death penalty position under any circumstances, let me know. Things to avoid: “Jesus would forgive” and “turn the other cheek.” I’ve got those covered. Also, remember that the whole concept was God’s idea (Genesis 9:6) and Jesus doesn’t appear to be squeamish about eventually consigning people to Hell for eternity. And while God set up lots of guidelines on how to administer justice, He did appear to accept the risk that it wouldn’t always be perfectly applied.

    I think the “it’s not a perfect” system argument falls apart, though, because it proves too much. Life without parole in a maximum security prison might not be as bad as an execution, but it is pretty darn bad. Since it is possible that an innocent person might be convicted to life without parole, or that guilty people are convicted but not without perfect racial balance, do we do away with that penalty? How far does it go? (Ironically, if you are innocent and convicted you are more likely to have it discovered if you get the death penalty, because the appeals process is more robust and there is a greater sense of urgency).

    I think the “save money” argument is irrelevant regardless of which side uses it. We don’t choose forms of justice just to save a few bucks.

  5. I think it is irrefutable that the death penalty is a deterrent and makes us safer. One could cite countless examples of where penalties of any sort are a deterrent, and where stronger penalties are stronger deterrents.

  6. Pingback: Peter's Attic

  7. There is absolutely NO deterrent effect because of capital punishment! Check the facts and compare murder rates between USA and any other Western country. The reason why it is no deterrent is that nearly all murders are impulsive acts of sudden rage.

    • Maybe today.

      But back in the 1930s, people avoided killing each other in fits of rage for fear of “getting the chair.” Ask your grandparents what justice was like back then.

  8. Well, if I were going to argue against the death penalty, I would not look at the Levitical code. I’m sure you know where I’m going with this already. But, for the sake of our viewers at home: There are ceremonial codes, moral codes, and juridical codes. We’ve been freed from the ceremonial codes and the juridical codes, but not the moral ones, which are contained in the 10 commandments and the great commandment, etc. It’s easy to spot the juridical codes: they usually involve a punishment, often death.

    You’re right Neil, Jesus did indeed consign people to hell, but I can’t help but notice he didn’t send them there immediately — ever! He didn’t even kill those who unjustly tried, convicted, mocked, and ultimately killed him. In fact, Good Friday is the ultimate example of what happens when unjust people are put to death. Even though it was the only way, Jesus obviously didn’t like the idea of being killed. Of course, we aren’t Jesus. We’re the thief next to him, who was saved before he died (Jeff’s point above.) Maybe if the other thief had a little more time?

    God lists many punishments in the Bible which we no longer use. Have you stoned your children lately for being rebellious? Fortunately my parents didn’t take that one seriously either. LOL So yes, Genesis 9:6 may give us permission to kill people who are murderers (BTW, what about rapists? Can we kill only murderers, based on Genesis 9:6?) but it doesn’t *command* us to do so.

    “I think the “it’s not a perfect” system argument falls apart, though, because it proves too much….”

    Sorry…you know how I feel about slippery slope arguments. We’re talking about the specific example of the death penalty being meted out to innocent people, not a zillion other possibilites. As long as an innocent person has life without parole, there is still a chance that verdict could be overturned. The second we electrocute them, the chance that they might go free is over. The seond we electrocute a guilty person, the chance that they might repent is over. Imprisoning someone unjustly because we need to keep real criminals off the street is, though horrible, acceptable in order to keep us safe. It is easy to draw the line. Punishment ends at death, just as life begins at conception. We can argue about the gray areas of life without parole, etc., but the issues of life and death are pretty black and white. The second you cause someone’s heart to stop beating you cross that line. And we’re virtually guaranteed by our imperfect justice system that killing the innocent will happen.

    When it comes to dealing out death to people, I like to remember God’s tirade against Job in Chapter 38-42. Who are we, indeed? I wasn’t there when the Earth was formed, and I wasn’t there when God breathed life into Adam. I don’t question His justice, but I certainly question our ability to dole it out, particularly life and death.

    “I think it is irrefutable that the death penalty is a deterrent and makes us safer. ”

    States without the death penalty have fewer murders than states with the death penalty. Police Chiefs in this country say that the death penalty is the least effective deterrent to violent crime. Murder rates in California after the death penalty was re-established are nearly double what they were before. So, yeah…it’s certainly debatable, if not refutable that the death penalty is a deterrent that makes us safer.

    BTW, your wife must be a wise woman. ;)

  9. Really, I’m open to being swayed here but those arguments aren’t working for me. I’m still open to verses that indicate Jesus changed his mind about the death penalty. Perhaps administering the death penalty is optional for us. But I can’t find anything that says it is un-Biblical by design. Jesus and Paul, for example, never debated that the death penalty was innappropriate for the crimes they were accused of. They just proclaimed their innocence.

    Remember, God thought that the death penalty was ok as some point in time. Romans 13 sure seems to give governments that right should they opt to use it. I’m merely asking when and why that went away. I certainly wasn’t referring to the Levitical law.
    I agree that doling out justice is a big responsibility, but for his good purpose He gave governments that responsibility.

    Using broad statistics to assess the deterrent effect of the death penalty isn’t very productive. There are just a couple other differences between the U.S. and other Western countries besides the death penalty. If your state vs. state statistics are true, does that imply a correlation, and are you saying that the death penalty increases the number of murders? What could possibly cause that to happen? (“Gee, I wasn’t going to murder, but hey, now I can get the death penalty for it” ) It seems to me that at worst it would have no impact.

    My premise is simple: If there are zero penalties for speeding, people will speed a lot. If you start giving tickets, they’ll speed somewhat less. If the punishment was the death penalty, they’ll speed a lot less.

    If anything, one could argue that the seemingly endless appeals processes have reduced the deterrent effect.

    And of course, there are the jailed murderers that have been released and kill again, or kill others in prison, or kill others trying to escape.

    Peter – not all acts of murder yield the death penalty in the U.S.. It is typically not used for crimes of passion, but is used more often for premediated murder.

    Yes, other than the temporary insanity of agreeing to marry me, my wife is quite wise.

  10. “I’m still open to verses that indicate Jesus changed his mind about the death penalty. Perhaps administering the death penalty is optional for us. But I can’t find anything that says it is un-Biblical by design. Jesus and Paul, for example, never debated that the death penalty was innappropriate for the crimes they were accused of. They just proclaimed their innocence.”

    And Jesus never said, “Thou shalt not marry your sister” either, right? It is a little inconsistent to demand specific verses for some issues, and realize that on other issues we either have to take a look at the entirity of Scripture and/or we just have to use our God-given common sense. The fact that Jesus never said that the death penalty is bad is not evidence that killing people is OK. That’s just an argument from silence. If I were to … oh, I don’t know … say that Jesus never said homosexuality is bad, and therefore it’s OK, I don’t think you’d agree with me, eh? ;)

    Again, the fact that the death penalty may be allowed by God, does not command that we use it.

    I don’t find Romans 13 compelling at all. It simply says “Obey the ruling authorities.” So then if the ruling authorities say that killing people is OK, I guess we have to go with that. However, who are the ruling authorities in the US? We are! So then, it seems to me that we are free to make a judgement about the death penalty, and I’d hope that we’re a bit more enlightened than say, Caesar. Again, the fact that the death penalty is permitted, doesn’t mean we *have* to use it if we have good reasons to have reservations.

    Paul writes in 1st Corinthians, “31So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. 32Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God— 33even as I try to please everybody in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved.”

    He’s speaking about the specific example of food, but the last part…. “For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved” is, I think, the general rule there. I think that verse applies here. We should be seeking the good of many, so that they may be saved, including those guilty individuals who might repent of their sins.

    As for the statistics, I didn’t not imply correlation. I didn’t say that the death penalty *causes* murders. I said that it didn’t *deter* people from murdering. Those are very different assertions. I didn’t mention other western countries (as Peter did) precisely so that I could make the most accurate comparison possible. With other western countries there are too many confounding variables (poverty, racial/ethnic make up, gun laws, etc.) to make a good comparison. But California before the death penalty and California after doesn’t suffer from those confounding variables.

    My question to you would simply be reversing your question. If there is no specific command to kill people, particularly in the Gospels, why should we? If we’re going to err, shouldn’t it be on the side of life?

  11. Good conversation. I really don’t have much to add other than I think as disciples of Christ we should seek to be restorers of justice, allowing mercy to prevail and seek forgiveness as best as we possibly can. I believe we live in a culture that accepts violence as a too-easy solution for difficult problems, a self-perpetuating cycle. Since the predominant cultural worldview is soaked in violence, there is a tendency, no matter how much we abhor it, to have our decisions influenced by that saturation. As Christians, we are called to be counter-cultural, to reverse trends and expand God’s kingdom. I think Matthew 5:21-24 (as well as the Sermon on the Mount as a whole) provides a glimpse into how we should respond to God’s ultimate plan for restoration.

    I understand I’m grossly generalizing, leaving out a lot of the messiness of life itself. I just wanted to add a few more general (emphasis on general) thoughts for consideration and engagement. Thanks for the post, Neil.

  12. Thanks, Jeff. Good insights.

    Alan – I’m not arguing from silence. At a point in time God clearly sanctioned capital punishment for those who murder. Those who claim Jesus is anti-death penalty have the burden of proof, and they appear to be arguing from silence.

    Keep reading Romans 13. When Paul said that governments do “not bear the sword for nothing” I don’t think the context here is war.

    I agree that we may not have to use it, but I submit that it isn’t inherently wrong.

    I’ll post separately on how I would argue against c.p. as well as why I think the “give them more time to repent” is hard to justify Biblically.

    I answered your last question in the original post.

  13. I wonder how much positions would change, or if solutions other than death could be found if we instituted the death penalty across the board, then made it mandatory that everyone’s name be put in a lottery that would draw names to be executioner as sentences were carried out.

    A dad, mom & a couple of kids populated the earth. One kid kills the other in a jealous rage. GOD decides to let him live. In other instances GOD decreed death. If we only had His wisdom the answer would be easier. But maybe since we don’t have, & never will have His wisdom we should error on the side of life.

    I remember when I was a kid there was a sci-fi show (I’m talking 40+ years ago) that was about an alien space craft that landed on earth. To make a long story short, The humans killed all the aliens that came off the ship. They were then afraid that the aliens would seek revenge for what they did so they tried to send an apology back to the planet from which the aliens came. They we received this reply (paraphase): We thank you for what you did. As we monitored your planet we knew this is how you’d respond. Those on the ship we sent to earth were criminals on our plant but our society does not allow the killing of our own kind so we knew you’d do it for us……

    Death penalty, war, abortion, terrorism-I wonder if there will ever be a time when life is discussed as much as death. I also wonder what the Amish think of the death penalty……

    Just some Friday morning ramblings.

    God Bless,

    Woz

  14. It occured to me after I submitted that last post that one comment I made could be terribly misconstrued. The one about the Amish & the death penalty.

    To be very clear, I meant that in the context of all of us looking to them as an example of love & forgiveness & not revenge. They represent, to me at least, the best example of putting what you believe into the way you live. I wish I could be one tenth as devoted to my beliefs as they are.

    My apologies if anyone was offended before I could explain.

    Woz

  15. Neil, I thought this was a great post and evidently it was a thought provoking one considering the responses you’ve gotten. I have not seen any Scripture that would convince me that the death penalty should be abolished. There are some despicable, horrible and evil individuals out there who have committed horrific crimes who I believe the government has not only a right, but a duty, to destroy. And I believe Scripture backs that up. Is the DP always fairly administered? Probably not. But nothing on earth that contains a human element to it is going to be without flaws.

    I am suprised that many who support abortion do not support the DP. They would have a rape victim kill her baby and spare the rapist. I just don’t understand that logic at all.

  16. Well the death penalty itself is not right, if Hitler were to be executed, the proper torture techniques should be used in order to count for millions of Jews before death. But I don’t believe in God so frankly, once you die you just start over again. The death penalty is minute to me, and frankly if I were a murderer, I wouldn’t mind being put to death instead of life in prison.

  17. Hi Jonny T,

    Thanks for stopping by. That is an interesting comment about Hitler. I suppose no punishment in this life would be severe enough for someone like him.

    May I ask how you came to your conclusions re. God and the afterlife?

    Thanks,
    Neil

  18. Pro-choicers see the “right to life” as something that you gain through being born (or being conceived in the womb of a mother who wants you), or, in the case of Peter Singer, though being smart enough to be an Ivy Leauge professor. Pro-lifers see the right to life as something that is inherent in being human, but can be lost only through denying the same to another.

  19. One of Neil’s comments above reminds me of Steve Martin’s “Death penalty for traffic violations” bit. :D

    I’m reminded of being in another country awhile back, and seeing teenage girls waiting to board an airplane. They were headed to another country, ostensibly to work as “babysitters,” but the sad reality was that they would become sex slaves when they would subsequently find out that their salary from babysitting would not pay their room & board. The families sold their daughters in this way, and could (from what I later found out from locals) feed the rest of their family for the price of this one child.

    When I expressed my moral outrage at the girls being sold, the response back was “Would it be better for the entire family to starve to death? They sacrifice one so that the others may live.” I was still aghast.

    A variation of this seems to be the core argument for anyone with a “pro-life” worldview to support capital punishment. The criminal has, by their own actions, forfeited their right to live. The remainder of society is the beneficiary (this one dies but the rest of us live, which we might not if we allowed him/her to continue to kill people).

    One could argue that in the former case, selling the child might be unnecessary, but is done preemptively to deal with unknown financial issues in the future, based on past history. In the latter case, killing the criminal might be unnecessary, but is done preemptively to deal with unknown behaviors that he/she may exhibit in the future, based on their past history. I’m sure a bigger brain than mine will somehow see the difference here, but it’s a bit muddy for me.

    I suppose some extreme and simplistic forms of Calvinism would negate the position in Jeff P’s original comment, as God would have already made provision for the criminal to have been exposed to the Gospel, but rejected it. That seems a bit of a stretch for me. Nevertheless, an interesting discussion. – Tim

    P.S. This discussion also reminds me of a corporate truism that a friend of mine used to state: “The sacrifices of the many pay for the credenzas of the few.”

  20. When I expressed my moral outrage at the girls being sold, the response back was “Would it be better for the entire family to starve to death? They sacrifice one so that the others may live.” I was still aghast.

    Agreed. That is the ethic of the pro-abortion movement in a nutshell.

    I disagree that it applies to capital punishment, because, by that logic, it applies to the entire penal code. We aren’t “sacrificing” anyone by executing them; we are carrying out a punishment for a crime committed. When we imprison a repeat felon, we aren’t “sacrificing” him for the sake of everyone else.

    In short, there is a difference between harming innocent people out of supposed “necessity” (inherently evil) and carrying out the just punishment of a moral society (inherently not evil, and, in fact, good and necessary for the functioning of EVERY society).

  21. I was responding more to the justification for CP being that it benefits the larger society at the expense of the individual. And yes, I think you can argue that it applies to the penal code in general, because you can make a good case for “punishment” only hardening someone further in that lifestyle, in the same way that some argue that the war against terror has in fact increased terrorism. Granted, both the war on terror and punishing criminals makes us feel better, but I don’t think you’ll find conclusive evidence that a society that imprisons more people or exerts more punishment is somehow inherently a “better society.”

    Another interesting observation is that all of us deserve death, because none of us are innocent. But while you and I may proclaim that we deserve death, we don’t really mean it. What we mean is, “we kinda deserve death, in the theoretical sense, but not in the sense of me actually losing my life… that’s for people whose sins are worse than mine.”

    Yes, I think we ARE sacrificing the repeat felon for the sake of everyone else, but also to feel a sense of moral balance. Ultimately, we don’t really care whether or not doing so helps the felon. All we really care about is feeling safer or more secure, and feeling that “justice was done.” I think in general, it’s all about how it makes us feel, and not what it really accomplishes.

    BTW, using the “harming innocent people = inherent evil” guide is a bit of a slippery slope. Were innocent people harmed in Hiroshima or Nagasaki? Without question. Did that make our action there inherently evil?

  22. The Death Penalty: More Protection for Innocents
    Dudley Sharp, Justice Matters, contact info below
     
    Often, the death penalty dialogue gravitates to the subject of innocents at risk of execution. Seldom is a more common problem reviewed. That is, how innocents are more at risk without the death penalty.
     
    Living murderers, in prison, after release or escape or after our failures to incarcerate them, are much more likely to harm and murder, again, than are executed murderers.
     
    Although this is, obviously a truism, it is surprising how often  folks overlook the enhanced incapacitation benefits of the death penalty over incarceration.
     
    No knowledgeable and honest party questions that the death penalty has the most extensive due process protections in US criminal law.
     
    Therefore, actual innocents are more likely to be sentenced to life imprisonment and more likely to die in prison serving under that sentence, that it is that an actual innocent will be executed.
     
    That is. logically, conclusive.
     
    16 recent studies, inclusive of their defenses, find for death penalty deterrence.
     
    A surprise? No.
     
    Life is preferred over death. Death is feared more than life.
     
    Some believe that all studies with contrary findings negate those 16 studies. They don’t. Studies which don’t find for deterrence don’t say no one is deterred, but that they couldn’t measure those deterred.
     
    What prospect of a negative outcome doesn’t deter some? There isn’t one . . . although committed anti death penalty folk may say the death penalty is the only one.
     
    However, the premier anti death penalty scholar accepts it as a given that the death penalty is a deterrent, but does not believe it to be a greater deterrent than a life sentence. Yet, the evidence is compelling and un refuted that death is feared more than life.
     
    Some death penalty opponents argue against death penalty deterrence, stating that it’s a harsher penalty to be locked up without any possibility of getting out.
     
    Reality paints a very different picture.
     
    What percentage of capital murderers seek a plea bargain to a death sentence? Zero or close to it. They prefer long term imprisonment.
     
    What percentage of convicted capital??murderers argue for execution in the penalty phase of their capital trial? Zero or close to it. They prefer long term imprisonment.
     
    What percentage of death row inmates waive their appeals and speed up the execution process? Nearly zero. They prefer long term imprisonment.
     
    This is not, even remotely, in dispute.
     
    Life is preferred over death. Death is feared more than life.
     
    Furthermore, history tells us that lifers have many ways to get out: Pardon, commutation, escape, clerical error, change in the law, etc.
     
    In choosing to end the death penalty, or in choosing not implement it, some have chosen to spare murderers at the cost of sacrificing more innocent lives.
     
    Furthermore, possibly we have sentenced 20-25 actually innocent people to death since 1973, or 0.3% of those so sentenced. Those have all been released upon post conviction review. The anti death penalty claims, that the numbers are significantly higher,are a fraud, easily discoverable by fact checking.
     
    6 inmates have been released from death row because of DNA evidence. An additional 9 were released from prison, because of DNA exclusion, who had previously been sentenced to death.
     
    The innocents deception of death penalty opponents has been getting exposure for many years. Even the behemoth of anti death penalty newspapers, The New York Times,  has recognized that deception.
     
    To be sure, 30 or 40 categorically innocent people have been released from death row . . . (1) This when death penalty opponents were claiming the release of 119 “innocents” from death row. Death penalty opponents never required actual innocence in order for cases to be added to their “exonerated” or “innocents” list. They simply invented their own definitions for exonerated and innocent and deceptively shoe horned large numbers of inmates into those definitions – something easily discovered with fact checking.
     
    There is no proof of an innocent executed in the US, at least since 1900.
     
    If we accept that the best predictor of future performance is past performance, we can reasonable conclude that the DNA cases will be excluded prior to trial, and that for the next 8000 death sentences, that we will experience a 99.8% accuracy rate in actual guilt convictions. This improved accuracy rate does not include the many additional safeguards that have been added to the system, over and above DNA testing.
     
    Of all the government programs in the world, that put innocents at risk, is there one with a safer record and with greater protections than the US death penalty?
     
    Unlikely.
     
    Full report -All Innocence Issues: The Death Penalty, upon request.
     
    Full report – The Death Penalty as a Deterrent, upon request
     
    (1) The Death of Innocents: A Reasonable Doubt,
    New York Times Book Review, p 29, 1/23/05, Adam Liptak,
    national legal correspondent for The NY Times
     
    Dudley Sharp, Justice Matters
    e-mail sharpjfa@aol.com 713-622-5491,
    Houston, Texas
     
    Mr. Sharp has appeared on ABC, BBC, CBS, CNN, C-SPAN, FOX, NBC, NPR, PBS, VOA and many other TV and radio networks, on such programs as Nightline, The News Hour with Jim Lehrer, The O’Reilly Factor, etc., has been quoted in newspapers throughout the world and is a published author.
     
    A former opponent of capital punishment, he has written and granted interviews about, testified on and debated the subject of the death penalty, extensively and internationally.
     
    Pro death penalty sites 

    homicidesurvivors(dot)com/categories/Dudley%20Sharp%20-%20Justice%20Matters.aspx

    www(dot)dpinfo.com
    www(dot)cjlf.org/deathpenalty/DPinformation.htm
    www(dot)clarkprosecutor.org/html/links/dplinks.htm
    www(dot)coastda.com/archives.html
    www(dot)lexingtonprosecutor.com/death_penalty_debate.htm
    www(dot)prodeathpenalty.com
    www(dot)yesdeathpenalty.com/deathpenalty_com
    yesdeathpenalty.googlepages.com/home2 (Sweden)
    www(dot)wesleylowe.com/cp.html

    Permission for distribution of this document, in whole or in part,  is approved with proper attribution.

  23. As a former corrections worker and someone keenly interested in criminal justice, I can tell you that the Death Penalty serves as a detriment to 21st century America, for six reasons.

    1. The Death Penalty is a punishment that violates contemporary “standards of decency” held in the Western industrialized world. The worldwide trend for several decades has been to abolish the death penalty. The Vatican also consistently opposes capital punishment. Most of the nations who maintain and use the death penalty have extensive human rights problems. The US joins China, Vietnam, Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and Iraq as one of a few nations that continues to regularly execute people. Japan (which hanged nine people in 2007) is the only other Western industrialized nation to carry out capital punishment.

    The abolition of the US death penalty would not be unique. Executions were prohibited in the US from 1972 to 1976 after the Furman v. Georgia decision. In the last decade, the Supreme Court has determined that executions of mentally retarded individuals (2002) and juveniles (2005) violated the 8th Amendment and were unconstitutional. The number of executions has been decreasing since its peak in 1999, as further questions about the nature of capital punishment are examined. In 2003, Illinois Governor George Ryan commuted sentences of all Death Row inmates after finding that the Chicago Police had used torture to exact confessions.

    2. The US Death penalty is inconsistent and arbitrary. After conducting an eight state study of the Death Penalty, the American Bar Association concluded that the administration of capitol punishment is “a haphazard maze of unfair practices with no internal consistency,” and called for a moratorium on the Death Penalty (ABA, 2006). The primary method of distinguishing those who receive the death penalty from those who do not is a state-by-state system of aggravating and mitigating factors (Kirchmeier, 2006).

    The chance a person charged with a capital crime lives or dies depends on where the crime was committed. Capital punishment is not permitted in the District of Columbia and 13 states: Alaska, Hawaii, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, North Dakota, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. Although 37 states allow the Death Penalty, few actually practice executions more than once every two years. New York, Kansas, and New Hampshire have not executed anyone since the 1973 moratorium. About half of all recent executions occur in only four counties in the state of Texas. In 2007, Texas had 26 of the 42 US executions, where the amount of money spent on appeals is miniscule.

    Although pro-death penalty advocates claim the death penalty is imposed on society’s most heinous criminals, few scholars would argue that crimes are adjudicated in proportion to the damage they cause society (Reiman). If the Death Penalty were applied fairly, white collar criminals would also receive the death penalty.

    3. The Death Penalty is unfairly and disproportionately meted out on poor people and people of color. Pro-death penalty researchers do not deny that application of capital punishment is racist (Shepherd, 2004).

    In McCleskey v. Georgia (1987), the Supreme Court ruled that state death penalty laws are constitutional even when statistics indicate they had been applied in racially biased ways.

    The General Accounting Office (1990) reviewed more than 50 studies of race and punishment and found “a pattern of evidence indicating racial disparities in the charging, sentencing and imposition of the death penalty.” The victim’s race is also important in whether one gets the death penalty. Juries are six times more likely to give the death penalty to those who have been accused of killing a White person. Thirty-four percent (34%) of all people executed in America since 1976 have been Black.

    Pro-death penalty advocates even agree that a viable defense is expensive and that it pays to be rich if you have been accused of killing someone. Eighty to 95% of all people on death row cannot afford a private lawyer.

    Robbery and burglary are the most common “aggravating factors” for earning a death sentence from a homicide; people from lower economic strata are much more likely to commit such a crime for economic reasons.

    The Death Penalty allows racists to participate in the process while eliminating or minimizing others from the process. Cases of judicial and prosecutorial racial animus are well documented (Cockburn). Texas has an infamous history of racist district attorneys and judges. In Texas, no White person has ever been executed for killing a Black person. In Harris County, Texas, the District Attorney pursued the death sentence against black and white defendants at the same rate even though black defendants committed less heinous murders (Phillips, 2008). No white person has been executed for the murder of a black in Georgia, nor has the death penalty ever been sought in such a case. Of the 12 blacks executed in Georgia since 1983, six were sentenced in cases where prosecutors succeeded in removing all potential black jurors.

    4. Studies suggesting that capital punishment serves as a deterrent are seriously flawed. UCLA researcher Richard A. Berk (2005) reports that studies showing the death penalty as a deterrent are have a limited number of observations (executions are rare in most states). Berk suggests that Texas is the only state where the death penalty may serve as a deterrent. Sorenson et al (1999) questioned the deterrence value of executions even in Texas, finding no relationship between execution rates and murder rates. Beecause of these limitations, pro-death penalty researchers can only “suggest” that the Death Penalty may be a deterrent (Keckler, 2006).

    Death Penalty states have higher murder rates than states without the Death Penalty. Few criminologists or police administrators believe the Death Penalty has much, if any, deterrent value. If pro-death penalty advocates wanted fewer violent deaths, they would work to reduce the underlying causes of violence in America.

    5. The Death Penalty is costly. New Jersey, which repealed its Death Penalty, estimated that it could have saved more than $200 million if it had not reinstated the Death Penalty. Recent studies in Tennessee, Kansas, Indiana, Florida, North Carolina, and Maryland have all concluded that costs associated with death penalty cases are significantly higher than those associated with life without parole cases. Other states are currently considering repeals of their death penalties. The costs are even greater when the cost of capital punishment is weighed against the opportunity costs of using scarce resources on prevention.

    Pro-death penalty adherents can only strongly argue that the Death Penalty is cost effective in a few states such as Texas and Oklahoma, though they continue to fight against the Death Penalty in places like North Carolina.

    6. A number of Death Row inmates have been exonerated. The number exonerated has been estimated between 34 and 133. Pro-death penalty experts, however, accept innocent casualties and expect people to be proven innocent rather than beyond a reasonable doubt. Many exonerees have spent more than a decade on Death Row. After reviewing the death penalty in Oklahoma for his book “Death and Justice,” former LAPD detective Mark Furman stated “I no longer believe in the death penalty. I no longer have faith that it is administered fairly or justly. I fear that innocent people have been executed. That’s why I’m calling for the abolition of the death penalty, not only in Oklahoma, but in every state.”

  24. VQ,

    The death penalty is not a human rights violation and the majority of the population in Western Europe supported the execution of Saddam Hussein.

    The Catholic Church has nearly 2000 years of biblical, theological and traditional support of the death penalty. There current opposition to the death penalty is based upon secular and error filled reasoning based upon defense of society and the current state of the criminal justice system, which, varies widely throughout the world. The death penalty offers greater protection of society and more protection for innocents.

    Illionois Gov. Ryan, now an imprisoned felon, commuted all death penalty cases, not because of torture, which was not alleged in the overwhelming majority of cases, but because Gov Ryan had no constituency left – he had been rejected by Illinois, his Republican party and was under indictment for serious crimes, therefore, he had to create a new constituency, with the hope of some legacy besides incompetence and illgal activity, so he picked death row inmates and anti death penalty activists and comuted all murderers on death row.

    Racial issues

    White murderers are twice as likely to be executed in the US as are black murderers and are executed, on average, 12 months more quickly than are black death row inmates.

    It is often stated that it is the race of the victim which decides who is prosecuted in death penalty cases. Although blacks and whites make up about an equal number of murder victims, capital cases are 6 times more likely to involve white victim murders than black victim murders. This, so the logic goes, is proof that the US only cares about white victims.

    Hardly. Only capital murders, not all murders, are subject to a capital indictment. Generally, a capital murder is limited to murders plus secondary aggravating factors, such as murders involving burglary, carjacking, rape, and additional murders, such as police murders, serial and multiple murders. White victims are, overwhelmingly, the victims under those circumstances, in ratios nearly identical to the cases found on death row.

    Any other racial combinations of defendants and/or their victims in death penalty cases, is a reflection of the crimes committed and not any racial bias within the system, as confirmed by studies from the Rand Corporation (1991), Smith College (1994), U of Maryland (2002), New Jersey Supreme Court (2003) and by a view of criminal justice statistics, within a framework of the secondary aggravating factors necessary for capital indictments.

    Class issues

    No one disputes that wealthier defendants can hire better lawyers and, therefore, should have a legal advantage over their poorer counterparts. The US has executed about 0.15% of all murderers since new death penalty statutes were enacted in 1973. Is there evidence that wealthier capital murderers are less likely to be executed than their poorer ilk, based upon the proportion of capital murders committed by different those different economic groups? Not to my knowledge.

    16 recent studies, inclusive of their defenses, find for death penalty deterrence. Not surprising, life is preferred over death, death is feared more than life. All prospects for a negative outcome deter some. There is no exception. VQ dosn’t understand how to measure deterrence, that is why he wrongly compares murder rates in jurisdictions with and without the death penalty. Deterrence works in all jurisdictions, as all prospects of a negative outcome deter some, regardless of location.

    The New Jersey review actually found that they could not determine the cost differntials. Life cases can be more expensive than death cases and visa versa.

    Innocents are more at risk without the death penalty.

  25. I could only get through about the first few paragraphs before getting bored of the same old hypocrisy.

    If killing people is wrong, then killing anyone is wrong. And that includes killing those that kill.

    Though this then brings up another paradox, like the pro-lifers only being pro-life up to 18 years old (though authoritarians also like to punish children as adults, so that 18 is hardly concrete), the paradox that those who support the death penalty are often very vocally critical of government. Yet they are willing to stake their own life on the fact that courts will not make a mistake convicting an accused murderer. If you are pro-death penalty and accused of murder (even falsely), and the court makes a miscarriage of justice, I take it you would not have a problem with the sentence? Or if that happened to a friend or family member.

    Courts frequently make mistakes and lock up innocent people, and appeals are part of the right to a fair trial (and “victims rights”, if you like to sling about another loaded term). The Birmingham 6 in the UK were convicted of multiple murders, yet it turned out that the police had beaten confessions out of them. Had our state been even more barbaric (than hiding what the pigs did for years, plus everything else) then those innocent men would have died: a tragedy no less than those killed in the pub bombings they were falsely imprisoned for.

    • If killing people is wrong, then killing anyone is wrong. And that includes killing those that kill.

      Can you see the difference between A and B?

      A. Innocent but unwanted human being crushed and dismembered in the womb with no appeals.

      B. Convicted rapist / murderer put to death in least painless way possible after surviving 10+ years of appeals.

      If you can’t, then rational dialog here will be impossible.

      Too many people confuse the principle of capital punishment and the practice. There is nothing wrong with capital punishment in principle: A life for a life. There can be things worth debating about CP in practice.

      There are 20,000+ abortions in the U.S. per week and one capital punishment. If anyone thinks CP is unfairly applied then they are welcome to oppose it. But if they are pro-legalized abortion then I will mock them until my fingertips are raw.

  26. Isn’t it funny that those who are hardline opposed to the death penalty are typically in favor of murdering babies in the womb? The complaint is “If killing people is wrong, then killing anyone is wrong.” But … if killing innocent babies is right, why is killing convicted murderers wrong? I frankly don’t get it.

    Innocence and guilt may be part of the answer, but the biblical reason that “pro-life” favors capital punishment is not “pro-life”, but “made in the image of God”. (That, by the way, clears up a couple of things. First, no, we are not “pro-life” in a purely generic sense. We don’t seek to defend the lives of cats, ants, or the local tree farm. It’s human life. Second, it gives the <i.reason to be pro-human-life: God has placed a high value on it.) The biblical reason for the death penalty is God’s value system. “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in His own image” (Gen 9:6). The person suffering the death penalty does so on the basis of the demands of justice wherein a person made in the image of God was unjustly killed, so the person who did that killing must bear the payment of that death. It is a method of valuing two things: 1) Human life, and 2) the God who made it.

    Oh, and on the deterrent effect of capital punishment, statistics indicate that there is almost no deterrent effect from the death penalty. However, the reason isn’t that it doesn’t deter. It is a legal maxim that justice delayed is justice denied. On a simpler platform, everyone knows that if you don’t discipline the dog immediately after the dog does the deed, the discipline won’t be effective. When we wait 15 years to carry out a death sentence, everyone forgot what it was for and the deterrence effect is lost. On the other hand, a swift, public punishment for a crime does indeed have the effect of warning others not to do the deed. (See, for instance, 1 Tim 5:20.) Our justice system doesn’t have the will or ability to do it. You can’t catch a killer, prove his guilt, and then sequester him away for over a decade before you execute him in complete isolation and then wonder, “Why didn’t that have any deterrent effect?” Why would it? Solomon wrote, “Because the sentence against an evil deed is not executed speedily, the heart of the children of man is fully set to do evil” (Ecc 8:11). Solomon was a pretty wise fellow.

    • http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,280215,00.html

      Actually, executions are a deterant for homicides, and when states prohibit it, murder rates rise. What people like to cite is having the death penalty on the books does not deter crime, but it is not the presence of the law, it is the implimentation of it. Its like saying speed limits dont make people not speed. But if the streets were never patrolled, then speeding increases. When the cops crack down in certain areas and it is known that tickets are abounding, the traffic slows down for fear of getting a ticket. Same with capital punishment. If its never enforced, no one thinks about it. When someone is put to death, people think twice before pulling the trigger.

      • How about “Statistics may indicate that there is almost no deterrent effect from the death penalty”? My point in that is 1) deterrence is not the point; justice is, and 2) the Bible explains that justice delayed steels some to sin.

  27. A. Innocent but unwanted human being crushed and dismembered in the womb with no appeals.

    B. Convicted rapist / murderer put to death in least painless way possible after surviving 10+ years of appeals.

    The Roxeanne trilemma on the death penalty and capital punishment:
    1. You can be anti-abortion and agnostic/pro-capital punishment (pro-innocent life)
    2. You can be for abortion, for capital punishment (not pro-life)
    3. You can be against both abortion and the death penalty (pro-life in all circumstances).

    What you cannot be is pro-abortion and anti-capital punishment. For those who question us on our support of, or at least lack of opposition to, the death penalty, this is an important reminder.

    By the way, thanks for siccing Michael Hawkins on me. He’s devoted half of his postings to talk about what a stupid, inarticulate, reading-comprehension-impaired, illogical little twit I am. Sigh.

    • Actually, most pro-abort/anti-capital punishment would deny the personhood of the unborn, so they think it within the pregnant woman’s rights to “terminate her pregnancy”, without believing it to be ending the life of a human person, though capital punishment definitely does that. And that is where and how they can call themselves consistent in promoting death for the innocent unborn while decrying death for the convicted murderer. Obviously, I don’t agree with them on this, but if their starting premise is so removed from, well, reality, then they still can see nothing wrong with ending a human life before birth while maintaining it is wrong to end the life of a person who doesn’t want to die after birth — it’s two different things, see? — non-person clump of cells or human life vs. person.

      • Really? Hmm, I had them pegged differently — that they would be pro- “keeping convicted criminals alive no matter how heinous their crimes” but also pro-assisted suicide and even pro-euthanasia [the difference being that one wants to live, while the other wants to die, or that it is assumed that the affected person wants to die, or would want to die if s/he could make his/her wishes known].

        That makes it even more convoluted, though — the fetus’s “personhood” depends on wantedness, with nothing stable and/or intrinsic about it.

  28. The greatest betrayal any government can commit….is to refuse to execute someone who won’t stop killing other people.

  29. Pingback: Submission to the Red, White, and Blue | Resting in His Grace

  30. In response to, and out of genuine respect for, the reply at the very top, I submit the following agreement and request:

    [paraphrased -
    comment: i could only stand to read a small portion of this rather long thread, but wish to offer my civilized disagreement to the main article. you can't be both pro-life & pro-death.

    reply: yes you can. if you truly & honestly want a rational discussion, please first acknowledge there is a difference between A & B.
    A - innocent, unwanted human killed without appeal.
    B - convicted, unwanted human killed after appeal.
    - end paraphrasing]

    I humbly acknowledge that my summary may not accurately reflect the intent of the original version, but if so, I fully agree on its premise.
    I do, as said, also have a request, fully seated in a desire for rational discussion. Do you compare apples to oranges on qualitative differences or scientific similarities? I ask, not out of sarcasm, but because I don’t see how a rational discussion can proceed without knowing which direction to expect it to go. I believe it can effectively go either way, but trying to simultaneously argue both gets confusing. For example:

    A – Innocent vs Convicted is, while somewhat subjective, generally agreed to be a situation where both sides concur that no crime has been committed by an unborn person. Taken to the extreme, to remove for the moment, disputes about defining “person”, it is easily (even universally agreed) that it is impossible to be both un-conceived and guilty as a person. The moot nature of this should even preclude its mention. Similarly moot, is the fact of being convicted of a crime. Conversely, the guilt of the convicted, being the actual opposite of innocence, is widely disputed. This is where rationale begins. I sincerely hope, because I want to understand, I want to not offend, & I want to find common ground because I value life, that reason and righteousness can be addressed equally & distinctly. The Bible says that judgement is ultimately for God to do. Erring on the side of caution would be to not commit what He might consider murder, due to our limited capacity, authority withstanding, to make that judgement. Who among us knows all?

    B – Unwanted…by who? We are living in a time neither side is satisfied with, so we’re trying to change the future. It seems one side says the wants of the mother & the convict matter most. The other side says the wants of a significant portion of society matter, as well as the future opinions of those yet to be born. If you are a true innocent, born or not, there is no argument on either side as to whether you should die. Considering our progress, to make the future better, should we continue to be as certain of guilt based on the legal system, as the certainty of life based on the definition given in a book written and revised over the course of centuries? When even Biblical proponents claim some science as fact, recognizing that much of our current understanding of the world and humanity is incredibly different from that of Biblical times, WHY is it so hard to be open to more of that?

    C – Human is barely, universally agreed upon when regarding those already born. “Inhumane” is literally meant to characterize something or someone as less than human and it is just a word. Slavery is literally treating humans as less than such. Actions speak louder than words and although slavery is no longer legal, under the original U.S. Constitution, it was. By both words & actions, our founding fathers proved themselves fallible. We strive today, to preserve those rules that preserve us, and correct those that do not. I have never met a pro-abortion person. I sincerely believe that all pro-choice people would not feel a choice existed, if the evidence proved BOTH sentient life AND reasonable alternatives, when that life was not wanted in the way society might not want a convicted rapist. A raped woman would be devastated to see herself as equally violent and violative against another innocent, sentient human. This is not disputed by truly pro-life/anti-abortion, impregnated, rape victims. They sometimes choose to give the child up for adoption after, but if they oppose at their core, any & every abortion, they suffer the emotional & physical pain to go full term. They are brave. Not everyone can be as strong as another. Babies, elderly, sick, & more, are unable to fight for themselves. The woman who is unable to endure the pain is not guilty, she is weak. Weakness is not a crime. If she can be given strength, through mystical means, scientific evidence, societal support, or any other, there is no doubt it would be welcomed. Forcing me to drink coffee however, does not make me like the taste. Exposing people to sources of strength, does not mean they can absorb it.

    D – Killed is only possibly agreed upon when there is first agreement of a life to be ended.

    E – After vs. Before is similarly predicated on accepted definitions of life and appeal. “Deaf ears” hear no appeals. Many convicted criminals are denied appeals. I’m not promoting wasting money to keep guilty people alive in prison, conduct appeal hearings, etc. I’m just pointing out how much room there is for failing to understand, including failing to understand if sentient life exists in the womb at conception. Prove that with science or claim it with the Bible but mixing the two is not rational discussion. When anyone, including secular and spiritual people, seek support, they look for it from those who already agree. That is not rational discussion. It is the equivalent of talking to yourself. Wars are won by defeating the enemy. War is not a rational discussion.

    F – Appeal is the most subjective of all these words. As indicated before, by both sides, who hears the appeal that is not allowed? Who decides if an appeal is warranted? Old documents are held up by both sides. New ideas are dismissed based on them. The Bible would be only Genesis if no more needed to be known. The U.S. Constitution would have no Amendments if the first draft was complete. People have proven time & again, that existing within current constraints of environment, understanding, & government is impossible. There is no going back. Given the chance to reset my clock, reduce not only my understanding, by my capacity to understand, and become as innocent as a baby, as Adam & Eve pre-fruit of knowledge, I doubt I or most people, would do so.

    For emphasis, I have included the following excerpt which concludes both the page it was taken from, and my own comments here. It confuses the ability to affect natural laws, with the determination to enforce civil laws. It confuses things that are designed, with those that are natural. Nature by design is THE fundamental difference between science and religion. That difference is either ignored or is the source where the confusion begins, and the possibility for rational discussion breaks down. Thank you for reading.

    http://www.roman-catholic.com/Roman/Articles/CapitalPunishment.htm
    It must be reiterated again and again that to defend innocent human life (the operative word being “innocent”) is not inconsistent with the position that those guilty of heinous crimes should be punished to the full extent the natural and civil law allows. All of human history, including the history described in the Holy Scriptures with God’s commands and the natural law are on our side. An eye for an eye and a life for a life is simple true justice. We can, as individuals moved by the grace of Christ, voluntarily relinquish our right to just compensation for actions done against us, (“turn the other cheek….”) but it would be immoral and against the natural law for the state to relinquish its primary purpose to protect its citizens from the unjust aggressor, foreign and domestic. The state is, by its very nature, designed to have justice woven throughout its functioning. It cannot voluntarily relinquish its position to provide a just response to the violation of the rights of the innocent. I must always protect those rights. When it cannot do so the innocent citizens have the right to abolish such a government in order to form one more in line with the dictates of the natural law.

    • Hi– thanks for visiting and commenting.

      A – Innocent vs Convicted is, while somewhat subjective, generally agreed to be a situation where both sides concur that no crime has been committed by an unborn person. . . .. The Bible says that judgement is ultimately for God to do. Erring on the side of caution would be to not commit what He might consider murder, due to our limited capacity, authority withstanding, to make that judgement. Who among us knows all?

      I think you are making this far too difficult. Yes, there are different contexts where “innocent” and “convicted” can be used, but that isn’t the case here. The unborn are innocent of capital crimes, those on death row have been found guilty by a jury of their peers and have survived 10+ years of appeals.

      Your “erring on the side of caution” argument certainly holds true for being anti-abortion, so we agree on that. It is a scientific fact that the unborn are human beings, but absent that one should still err on the side of life if unsure.

      But you ignore that God gave us all sorts of reasons to judge people. Using your logic, we’d never convict and punish anyone for anything, ever.

      I didn’t follow point B.

      C – Human is barely, universally agreed upon when regarding those already born. . . . By both words & actions, our founding fathers proved themselves fallible. We strive today, to preserve those rules that preserve us, and correct those that do not.

      If your point is that sometimes people make mistakes so we can’t be sure if abortion is wrong, then you don’t have the spine to say anything is wrong, ever — including my post above.

      I have never met a pro-abortion person.

      Lucky you — you’ve never met a Liberal! Just find people who are pro-taxpayer funded abortions, which will obviously increase abortions. Those people think one of our problems is that there aren’t enough abortions, so they need my money and yours to pay for them. That’s pro-abortion.

      Your position on pro-choice for killing the children of rapists proves to much. The “they are just weak” arguments would justify killing children outside the womb as well. Please note that your argument begs the question on what the unborn are. You made up an arbitrary criteria of sentience to justify their destruction.

      D – Killed is only possibly agreed upon when there is first agreement of a life to be ended.

      You are really tipping your pro-abortion hand now. The scientific fact (http://tinyurl.com/yfje8lq) is that a new human being is created at fertilization. If they unborn aren’t alive, no abortion would be desired.

      Point E was like point B.

      F – You missed the point. I’m merely pointing out that the completely innocent unborn have zero appeals.

      Re. your Roman Catholic link — The Reformation happened for a reason. Actually, 95 of them, and they are still valid reasons to avoid the Catholic church. I deeply respect their positions on abortion, real marriage and various other topics, and I think that many Catholics are indeed saved — but in spite of Roman teaches, not because of them. Having said all that, I don’t care if they are against capital punishment. Capital punishment is entirely biblical and justified in principle. If people want to argue against it in practice, they are welcome to. I have some of my own concerns which I have documented.

      • Not oversimplifying & making things too difficult are 2 different things. This is a difficult issue to resolve. If our need to judge is guided by God’s command, but our option is to interpret those commands, there is little hope for coming together. I genuinely wish but sincerely doubt that it is the actual goal of Christian conservatives. I have no pro-abortion hand to tip. I have a hand extended for civility. I made no such comments like “you don’t have the spine”. I can and do judge wrong from right. I never said your post is wrong. I will now show that I have the spine to call you out for your pretense of desiring rational discussion. I also have the capacity to lash back even harder, as well you no doubt possess such a capacity. I was interested to learn if you had the capacity to refrain. I am not interested in participating in this war in any role, liberal nor conservative, except to keep either side from being defeated, and hopefully to also keep both sides from continuing the war.

        Again, I humbly acknowledge that my understanding/interpretation may not accurately reflect the intent of the original version. It is because I admit my limits and flaws, that I hope to find others who have different views on topics like this, but share my desire to close the gap of those limits & flaws, to spend time learning, instead of fighting. I will respond to what you said you didn’t follow, assuming you feel you do follow the rest & have discussed it as much as you will. I am happy to provide clarification on the other points, upon request.
        If we must first agree, according to your post, on the existence of difference between your A & B examples, then we must also agree on how to define those examples.

        B – One of your examples includes the word “unwanted” and the other (intentionally or not) implies it. For the sake of simplicity, let’s narrow it down to you & me. YOU say the convict is unwanted and YOU claim I don’t want the unborn. I assert that the convict is not wanted by me either, but that I see a possibility of error, made grossly greater, by not just convicting but then killing said convict. I further assert MY actual view that the unborn is wanted. I love kids. I could never be happy if I wasn’t able to have most days go by without considering my child never existing. But if I’d had my way, my “pro-abortion” way back then, an amazing person, the person I love most, would never have been born. I’m glad I can spend most of my attention loving my child, not hating myself for something I considered back then. Clearly, your views are all informed by your interpretation of the Bible. You take exception to Roman Catholicism and pro-choice and anti-death penalty advocates. My nurture formed my early thoughts, but my nature made me question everything, including myself. Again, “WHY is it so hard to be open to more of that?”

        E – After vs. Before refers to words that YOU used regarding when appeals have taken place or as cause that they never did. I tried to say that if all other things can be agreed on, these words become irrelevant. It is an open invitation to make them irrelevant. Help come to agreement through rational discussion. Or don’t. Go ahead & fight the war. You didn’t start it, you might even help win it, but it will be with the blood of innocents on your hands. I never killed anyone. I never even aborted an unborn. I am in your line of fire because I disagree. You can escalate, retreat OR sit down to talk. It is not “us v them”. Just because I’m not with you, doesn’t mean I’m against you. It is your choice to accept an extended hand or judge it as hiding a knife.

        Sorry if this is not simple enough for you.

      • You are just playing word games – and self-contradictory ones at that.

        You misunderstood the point of the term unwanted. It wouldn’t matter if none of the 7 billion people wanted her to be alive. Popularity doesn’t determine value. As a human being her life has value and she has committed no capital crimes. That’s the difference between A and B, and if people can’t see that difference then they are beyond any help I can provide.

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