Drew Clark: Drew Clark: Meaning of 'thou shalt not kill' not as clear as that of murder

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  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    April 18, 2014 10:45 a.m.

    List of countries still using the Death Penalty --

    North Korea

    I personally believe we [the United States] are better than this...

  • Screwdriver Casa Grande, AZ
    April 18, 2014 7:53 a.m.

    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.

  • the truth Holladay, UT
    April 16, 2014 8:13 p.m.


    The 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.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    April 16, 2014 6:59 p.m.

    This is the prime example of how the bible is lawyered to mean whatever we need it to mean.

  • kiddsport Fairview, UT
    April 16, 2014 12:13 p.m.

    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.

  • UtahIndy Salt Lake City, UT
    April 16, 2014 10:11 a.m.

    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.

  • A Quaker Brooklyn, NY
    April 16, 2014 10:04 a.m.

    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.

  • george of the jungle goshen, UT
    April 16, 2014 8:54 a.m.

    We try to choose the greater good.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    April 16, 2014 8:49 a.m.

    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 Atonement.

  • Tekakaromatagi Dammam, Saudi Arabia
    April 16, 2014 8:30 a.m.

    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.

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    April 16, 2014 8:06 a.m.

    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.

  • Happy Valley Heretic Orem, UT
    April 16, 2014 7:48 a.m.

    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.

  • 10CC Bountiful, UT
    April 16, 2014 7:38 a.m.

    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?

  • Jamescmeyer Midwest City, USA, OK
    April 16, 2014 7:17 a.m.

    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.

  • E Sam Provo, UT
    April 16, 2014 2:09 a.m.

    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.