The Death Penalty

Last month I felt as though I was being bombarded by the television stations in regards to the death penalty. Two high-profile murder cases, involving convicted killers awaiting sentencing, brought the controversial and highly debated topic back into the spotlight. I really shouldn’t complain since it was a refreshing distraction from the seemingly never-ending political ads dominating the airwaves as they normally do every time there’s an upcoming election. In both murder cases the death penalty is a viable option. I won’t mention the names of those convicted because at this point I’m quite certain they crave the attention, and I do not want to give them their desired satisfaction. I think repeatedly mentioning the culprits’ names in the media only glamorizes the despicable crimes they’ve committed against their fellow man.

I realize discussing the death penalty can become very heated since passion tends to run rampant amongst supporters and non-supporters alike. The only thing both sides apparently agree on is that the violator does deserve to be punished. I have heard it costs more to execute someone than to imprison them for life, but I don’t know if that’s true. To be honest, the financial aspect never enters my mind when pondering the extreme penance. I have been a strong proponent of the death penalty for as long as I can remember. I assumed the Bible backed up my stance since it mentions “an eye for an eye” three different times in the Old Testament. However, recently I learned when Jesus roamed the earth he taught a new standard for all of His people to follow. Please bear with me, for those of you who disagree with my position, because there may be some sort of twist later on. Maybe. The point is to always keep an open mind.

The truth as I know it is our country’s justice system is far from perfect, but it’s the only system we’ve got. Undeniably, on occasion there have been (and will continue to be) innocent people sent to prison and guilty people set free. I do think for the death penalty to even be considered there at least needs to be a confession made or some DNA proof. After absolute guilt has been established in a court of law, of someone committing a heinous crime, I admit to possessing an unusual thought process concerning how the sentencing phase of the trial should be carried out. I propose the punishment, of either death or life in prison, should be decided by a lie detector test. I would ask the convicted murderer this one simple question, “Do you prefer the death penalty or life in prison?” I would then administer the other option than that of the miscreant’s preferred choice.

If you thought the previous suggestion was a bit harsh then you may want to stop reading this before I make my next proposal. Not only am I a proponent of the death penalty, as the penance for atrocious murders, but I am also in favor of torturing the offender beforehand in some cases. Death just seems too good for the terrorists responsible for those recent beheadings overseas. That being said, it is now time for that twist I alluded to earlier. A while back, simply out of curiosity, I asked my pastor what his thoughts were on the subject of the death penalty. He solemnly responded with, “I think all life is precious.” I immediately thought to myself, “but what about ‘an eye for an eye’?” Anyone who genuinely knows me is well aware I am not easily influenced by others once I have formed my opinion on any given matter.

However, I haven’t been able to erase those words, “all life is precious,” from my memory, and maybe I shouldn’t. By the way, did you happen to notice my pastor said, “I think,” when responding to my inquiry? What I appreciate about Pastor Brad, among so many other things, is that he doesn’t “preach.” He teaches instead. He leads his flock in the same direction where he senses God is leading him. Pastor Brad never strays from the truths of the Bible, yet he allows (no, let me rephrase that) he desires for us to search for the “answers” ourselves, to any questions we may have, through studying the Scriptures, prayer, and sharing our thoughts with other believers. All of the truths found in the Bible are solid and unchanging, but some of the other stuff is left to one’s own interpretation. That’s probably why some Christians are in favor of the death penalty while others are against it, and I think that’s okay. Just don’t ask me today what my position is because it may be different tomorrow.


2 responses to “The Death Penalty

  • Jack Craigs

    Perhaps our “positions” on many of the important issues can and do change as we pass through the different seasons of our life. It is undeniable that our childlike outlook on good and evil has a much different tone once we reach a level of informed maturity. That maturity arrives at different times for all of mankind and some seem to only get it a they approach the tunnel of eternity. Having said that, the question is not whether or not humanity is precious to its creator, I take that as a given, but rather should that creation be held accountable to a standard of responsible living? Standards vary by culture and often by timing. What once was unacceptable some times turns out to be admired. As to the finality of a “Death Sentence,” every human being born into existance is given a death sentence coming out to the womb. It is all a matter of time. We may think it is horrendous to shorten someone’s time that has themselves perpatrated a convictable act of murder. I see it as the cost of maintaining the balance in an ordered society. Anything short of that only further enables those types of crimes for the rest of society. Expediting someone into eternity brings them before the ultimate judge of their actions. Believers and nonbelievers have understandable different outlooks of some of these “difficult issues,” and for that reason it is imperitive that on the “key issues of life” that we maintain a defendable position. Believers may also have different opinions on similar issues with other believers and that becomes a hole other conversation, one that we may have to share in eternity together!

  • Les Kohler

    James, I sometimes also think that the murderer should be tortured. One example is that of a mother of 3 who strapped her young children into their car seats and then put the car into a lake to drown those poor, defenseless beings! It seems to me that any of the ‘regular’ death penalty methods are entirely too good for this mean-spirited woman! My suggestion is that they strap her in a bolted-down chair in a watertight room and then let that room fill VERY SLOWLY with water until she is dead. This is not, however, what Jesus would want!

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