Monday, June 1, 2015

Just Say No to Capital Punishment

Another post in my series Things I Believe (and you probably don't). Yep...I'm stirring the pot again...

On some of the earliest Saturday Night Live shows Gilda Radner played a character named Emily Litella during the Weekend Update segments. Emily would come on to offer an editorial response to a story that Cheddar Cheese (Chevy Chase) had supposedly reported on a prior show. As with the anchor's name, Emily most always had her facts wrong and some words mixed up. One memorable night she came out to tell us all that she was not in favor of capital punishment for school children. She thought that just because little Timmy talked too much or was chewing gum that there was no need to kill him. After she rambled on a bit Chevy interrupted her to explain that the story had been about corporal punishment in schools....not capital punishment. Emily responded the way she always did. "Oh...that's different then. Never mind."

This editorial is not about corporal punishment. I believe that 
Capital Punishment is barbaric, heinous and unconstitutional. It is another example of humans seeking to play God. There is no evidence (from hundreds of studies) that it serves as a deterrent to criminals. Thanks to new technology we continue to discover innocent people who have been sentenced to die or are already dead. And in states where it is legal the death sentence is applied randomly, often to those who cannot afford decent legal counsel. It's time to put an end to this horrific tradition and ban the death penalty in all 50 states. How can we scream about public executions in the rest of the world while we continue to perform them here at home?

It is my belief that all of human life is sacred because it was all created by God. God sacrificed the Son so that we could all be saved if we believe. From the time an unborn child becomes a person (a debate for another day) until God calls them home, they are the beloved of God, created in His image. Taking a human life is a tragic occurrence under any circumstance. Choosing to kill someone because a society decides it has the right to do so is beyond the pale, and makes us no better than the person we are attempting to punish. Read the words of Jesus again, and then try to convince yourself that capital punishment is a good thing. It can't be done. Jesus revoked the law of "an eye for an eye." He preached justice, not vengeance. Jesus is the LORD of second chances and redemption. The death penalty often snuffs out both. In Romans the Apostle Paul reminds us that vengeance belongs to the LORD- and the last time I checked, that ain't us! As C.S. Lewis wrote, "To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you. Justice requires a stiff penalty for heinous acts. But final judgements should always be left to God.

So there you have it, another diatribe that puts me out of step with much of our nation and many in the church. But I have decided to follow Jesus, the LORD of life. And this is where I believe he would stand. Have a blessed weekend.

Because of Jesus, 


  1. I'm in complete agreement with this. I don't know how many can claim to be "pro-life" yet slant to the side of the argument of supporting the death penalty. I find it interesting that so many conservatives staunchly support the death penalty when from an economic standpoint, putting someone to death costs taxpayers ten times over what a lifetime sentence would. And same goes with opposing about stem cell research and cloning. Seems that as believers, you either value human life (from a Biblical sense) or you don't. You're either good with humans playing God, or we're good with leaving stuff that wasn't meant to be trifled with in the hands of Jehovah God.

    1. Well said, my friend. We shouldn't try to pick and choose when human life is sacred- it just IS~!


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