Kind of an interesting piece, actually. What these various polls suggest more
than anything is that most people haven't really thought the issue through
very carefully. Our reactions tend to be knee-jerk.
This is all based on the assumption that we define "Thou shalt not kill"
in terms of English common law as understood by the given outline.It
also presupposes that a person is not a person until they are born, yet it is in
all relevent ways apparent that a fetus, at some point long before birth, reacts
to stimuli, actively avoiding harmful stimuli.It also commits the
all-to-common fallacy in one of the ways you asked the question "Can you
justify the death sentence, but not abortion?" It presents abortion as a
"woman's right", but abortion is not about a woman's right or
a woman's body.
A few points about the death penalty: Many people who call
themselves Christian rely on Old Testament sensibilities of God's justice
to justify their support of the death penalty, with the notable exception of
Catholics, who are admirably consistent on all issues regarding life and death.
Some Christians assert Jesus was for the death penalty, otherwise he
would have saved the two thieves who were crucified along side him. Really?No deterrent effect can be found in statistics around the death penalty.
Texas executes more people than all other states combined, and they still have
very high rates of murder and other crimes. You get to a point where
state-sanctioned homicide (executions) actually contributes to an overall
diminishment of the value of life.Some say "deterrence is lost
as the appeals process takes so long". They push for a "rocket
docket" where execution take place within months of the crime. Except that
we've had so many exonerations of those on death row years later, as DNA
evidence counters the limitations of evidence during the trial.I say
we lock 'em up, throw away the key, study their brains. Sociopaths have underdeveloped brain regions. Why?
For me capital punishment shouldn't be used. To many people have been
exonerated since DNA testing, to justify more murder by the state. And lets me
be clear, if an innocent person is put to death by the state wrongfully, (and
they have) that is murder.Trying to argue semantics in a book that
has been translated many times through many languages is silly at best.
Life is full of moral dilemmas and ambiguities, and it's been this way
since Adam and Eve. On the issue of capital punishment, I've come to the
conclusion that it should not be done. First, it solves nothing. It is not a
deterrent. Second, it costs more to execute than to incarcerate. Third, for
some, incarceration is more of a punishment than an escape from prison through
death, and the inmates can, if they choose, reflect on the act and the life they
have lead. Finally, the system of justice is far from perfect. We see frequent
cases of wrongfully convicted people, and capital punishment takes everything
away and there is no opportunity for restitution to the wrongfully convicted.
It is a problem.Respect for life should be consistent, if at all
possible. Abortion is problematic. Advocates on both sides have distorted the
issue and the reasonable position. But there are times when abortion may be
appropriate. It often pits two lives against one another, and choices have to
be made. No one said it would be easy, but extremism on both sides makes a
difficult problem that will never go away much harder.
I am kind of ambivalent about the death penalty. In some case I am against it.
Drug lords for example. I want them to wear orange jumpsuits and sleep on a cot
while they think of what they could have done. Manuel Noriega (a Panamanian
dictator who dealt in drug smuggling) is in prison. He found God. It did him
some good.Societies which do not have a justice system are much more
violent in terms of justice. Things too gory to list. Having a justice system
gives us the luxury of being merciful. The justice system takes care of the
criminal so we don't have to kill him ourselves in a painful way to warn
other tribes to stay away.
To me, abortion is murder, sometimes justifiable (rape, incest or when the
mother's life is truly in peril), but mostly not. Most of the time, an
unborn baby is killed just because someone didn't want to take
responsibility for the act that caused that pregnancy. There is nothing
problematic about abortion. Pregnancy sometimes follows intercourse. When free
agency was used to engage in sex, "choice" was exercised requiring
responsibility for inviting a baby into the world.Capital punishment
is not murder. A just justice system would require that a convicted felon repay
his victim. No payment is possible when that convicted felon has destroyed a
life. There is nothing that he can to do restore what he has done. The only
thing that society can do is to return that convicted felon to his maker where
he will be able to learn from his mistake, pay the price required, and if he
desires, be redeemed when Christ allows him to receive the blessings of the
We try to choose the greater good.
Capital punishment, where permitted at all, must be applied with absolute and
perfect justice. It is not enough for the legal system to have safeguards and
review and codified procedures. It must never fail, never convict anyone who is
not guilty of the crime. For, if our legal system finds an innocent man or
woman guilty, and then executes them for a capital crime which they did not
commit, by any moral measurement, by any absolute standard, society (and every
person in it) has committed murder.I do not think we will ever be a
perfect enough society that we can risk putting prisoners to death. Whatever it
costs to jail them for life is a small cost compared to our collective souls.Witnesses can be mistaken, or prevaricating. Prosecutors are
politicians. Expert witnesses can be lazy, or seeking glory. Lab technicians
have falsified results. Defendants don't always get a fair trial.
Perfection is not ours here on Earth.As a result, convicts have been
exonerated by new evidence, ten, twenty, thirty years later. And, we've
definitely executed innocent persons. End the death penalty, now.
I very much appreciated this thought-provoking article.I dislike
overuse of the word "murder". I'm not saying abortion is
justifiable or "right", but calling it murder is attempting to inflame,
not inform.I also appreciated that the article raised the
distinction between murder and suicide. In my own moral analysis, abortion has a
lot more in common with suicide than it does with murder. It is tragic; it
leaves an unfilled void in everyone's life who is connected to that family.
But it demands (of society, and of us as individuals) help, compassion and
understanding, not ostracism and criminal prosecution.Capital
punishment (even when applied unjustly) is not murder either. Capital punishment
is a result of applying the law, NOT of ignoring the law.A justice
system that makes mistakes once in a while is still better than no justice
system. That said, the possibility that (and frequency with which) our justice
system executes people who are later exonerated, combined with the tremendous
legal expense involved in carrying through any death penalty case (also a side
effect of our imperfect justice system), does make it difficult for me to
support capital punishment.
The shooter in the Aurora, CO, theater was apprehended on scene. No need for
DNA; no exoneration unless it's for insanity. The challenge comes in cases
where forensics form the basis for convictions. As with the entire judicial
process, human error is a possibility, although advances in forensics has made
that less and less likely. What has not been discussed here is the possibility
that human error may also cause a murderer to go free and kill again. In that
case, an innocent victim becomes the casualty of our imperfect judicial process.
I'd bet there are many, many more of those than of innocents on death
row.As for the deterrent effect, no one who has been executed has returned
to commit another murder.
This is the prime example of how the bible is lawyered to mean whatever we need
it to mean.
@10CCThe death penalty is NOT about deterrence.It is
about administering justice for a crime committed.If it deters
others then good, but that has nothing to do with Justice and the administering
of justice.If someone has murdered someone, taken another's
life with malice, then what is justice for that action?How that
might influence others is totally irrelevant.
Most abortions is murder. The problem is that we've already tried having
abortion illegal and it didn't work. Women can cause a miscarriage too
easily to prove it was intentional so what's the point of a law you
can't enforce? You have to leave that responsibility with women where God
put it. There are things that reduce unwanted pregnancies. Work on
that for a change.
List of countries still using the Death Penalty -- ChinaNorth
personally believe we [the United States] are better than this...