Don’t even pretend that you are too sophisticated, too cultured, too moral, too kind, too docile, or too generous to consider this matter.
Death is more a part of life than birth. Let me explain: You can’t remember your own birth. Plus, untold millions of babies are never even born. At least, not alive.
Today is my baby boy’s birthday and this morning he asked me for my thoughts on the death penalty.
Well, I have some.
In a day and age where abortion is among the top 3 causes of death* in the US (along with cancer and heart disease), there are killers everywhere around us. Doctors, nurses, mothers, fathers, family members, neighbors, judges, politicians. Jesus was a human life from the moment of His conception. So is every other human being. Size, age, location, level of development has no bearing on whether or not snuffing out the life is killing it. Abortion is the killing a human as much as is the assassination of a president. So any claim to be unable to stomach the concept of capital punishment in this day and age is disingenuous at best.
So, onward and upward. Most of us live as if this 21st century holocaust of the unborn is as common, as insignificant, and as inevitable as the common cold.
To the answer. Capital punishment for capital crimes is right, moral, biblical, good, noble, kind, just, holy, pure, necessary - need I go on?
I gave my son Elijah 4 reasons. I do not seek to prove them here. Only state them. (Feel free to do the research).
Every human is made in the image of God. If you murder (or through negligence or evil violence inadvertently kill) someone who is made in the image of God, then you are striking against the God who made that individual. Because of the greatness of that violation, you deserve to die. As would I.
Any and all government power is derived from the right and responsibility to carry out capital punishment. “Whoever sheds another man’s blood, BY MAN SHALL his blood be shed.” It is a commandment. It is the foundation of civil authority. It is the foundation of national defense. I believe that it is even one of the foundations of lethal self-defense.
Justice demands it. Despite the fall in Eden, our conscience (individually and collectively) demands that the scale be balanced. It is so ingrained in our viewpoint that it is impossible to extricate existence from it. And so, an eye for an eye; tooth for tooth; hand for hand; strike for strike; death for death. Execution of a murderer is an attempt to balance the score. Penal codes immemorial and contemporary are all built on this principle.
Deterring other would-be killers from killing is the 4th and most practical reason. Make them think twice about whether they are willing to die for what they are about to do. It won’t deter all murder, but it will certainly curtail the number of attempts. We read in the Bible that it is because the execution of justice against evildoers is not carried out speedily that the hearts of men are set in them to do evil.
Does all of this apply to current events? You bet.
The policemen and women who carry cuffs and weapons do so because justice is a life or death matter. They are God’s ministers (see the book of Romans in the Bible). They carry His sword and they have a right to use it. No matter what you have or haven’t done in the past, if you refuse to cooperate with these authorities (when they have a reasonable cause to suspect that you are not in compliance with good laws), you begin to abdicate and forfeit your right to your own safety and security. If you threaten their safety and security, in that moment you have all but destroyed your right to anything. If you give them a reason to believe that they are in danger of losing control of you and thereby (them) being at a disadvantage to someone who could potentially injure them seriously or even kill them? Well then, it doesn’t matter who you are or who you are leaving behind, you have earned whatever mortal response those officers deliver. The officer is innocent.
Whether it’s Jacob Blake or one of my own children, if a person violently, threateningly, or dangerously resists an officer of the law when they are trying to legitimately apprehend that person, the death of the criminal is the criminal’s own fault and nobody else’s. Or, anything short of death; any injury you receive in the confrontation is your fault and nobody else’s. Co-operate respectfully and have your day in court. That’s not only practical and wise, it’s right.
Killers (in the act, threatening to act, or after the act) must be killed. This is the responsibility of humanity. God assigned the task to us. The federal government, the state governments, and municipal governments should do all in their power to ensure that killers are killed. If they are not killed, those in charge (who have the responsibility of law, detention, judgment, and execution) become partly responsible (before God and before the citizens of this land) for the deaths that occur under or after their watch.
As a pastor, truly I care for the soul of the worst of all murderers. However, as a father, husband, citizen, and neighbor, I call for the speedy trial and execution of all murderers. For the good of the innocent in society, this is the most humane position that can possibly be taken. To let an illicit killer get off without the cost of his (or her) own life is to declare the lack of value we place on the individual who was killed by the killer.
*my interpretation of statistics