Ethics question: Capital Punishment Vote

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The death penalty has been in the news recently. A tough subject to be sure. Consider the three recent news stories below and then the ethical question on the issue.

High Court refuses to hear appeal of woman on death row – Linda Carty was convicted of the 2001 murder of Joana Rodriguez in Texas. She is waiting on an execution date.

Texas: Death Penalty to Be Sought in Fort Hood Case – The death penalty will sought for Army psychiatrist Nidal Hasan who is charged with killing 13 people.

Unabomber brother making anti-death penalty push in N.C. – David Kaczynski, the unibomber’s brother, is working in opposition to the death penalty with Bill Babbitt, whose brother was put to death under the death penalty.

These stories show the reality of the death penalty. It’s not an easy subject to digest. And now a case study in which to think about this law.

You’re in the Legislature!
You are sitting legislator in the state assembly, and a bill is up for discussion that would abolish the death penalty in your state. Proponents of the death penalty would argue that it is a just punishment for certain types of murder and that the current system is capable of carrying it out in a careful and reliable way. They argue that even though the system is not perfect, the guilt of many murders is very clear, and the failure to impose the death penalty is an injustice to the surviving members of victims’ families. Opponents of the death penalty argue that the system cannot ensure that mistakes won’t be made and that the application of the death penalty is discriminatory (more minorities than whites receive the death penalty).
– Scott Rae, Moral Choices, 3rd ed. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2009), 268.

How would you vote? Why?

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

1 SirBrass May 3, 2010 at 7:03 pm

I would vote “yes.” There may be issues with the ‘ethnicity’ thing, but fact is that if more black-skinned people are committing capital crimes, then more black-skinned people will be put to death. That their skin is black has NOTHING to do with the fact that a capital crime has been committed.

The case for capital punishment is clear in Scripture. No, we do not implement the OT civil law, but the very fact that God ordained some crimes to be justly punished only by death shows us for a fact that there ARE crimes which the state may rightly put a person to death for.

Let’s take the clear-cut case of murder. Every person is created in the image of God. To murder a person is to essentially spit upon and mock that which God has made in His image, and the only recompense that can civily repay such a crime is for the perpetrator to have his life taken in return. The punishment must fit the crime. In my honest opinion, the same goes for rape, as it is such a vile and gross violation of a person so as to be as grievous as murder itself. This is doubly so when a child is raped. That is why in states with their heads on reasonably straight, a person is allowed to use deadly force to stop a criminal from committing an act of rape or murder on a 3rd party. If it is valid in defense of another, then it is valid and worthy of capital punishment by the courts themselves.

This is about the dignity of the victims. To fail to put to death a murderer or a rapist is to deny the human dignity of those who were their victims. It is saying that their very lives are not worthy more or equal to the life of a criminal under the eyes of the law. It essentially makes the criminal a privileged class. An innocent woman may be raped and murdered, but the state doesn’t care enough for her, and cares more about the criminal who did it, to put the vile criminal to death for his abominable deeds. Instead they lock him up in a penitentiary where for the rest of his life he’ll get to be lazy, bored, and eat 3 square meals a day. That is not justice. That is a miscarriage of justice which the law makers will answer to God for if their sins are not paid for by Christ’s propitiation on the cross.

2 jeff May 3, 2010 at 9:30 pm

nope. i cant see myself judging someone to the degree that their life be taken from them, especially considering what i deserve and the life that has been given me.

3 P99 May 3, 2010 at 10:00 pm

You can put me down as another yes. I agree that death penalty should apply for rape as well.

4 Mark May 3, 2010 at 10:11 pm

Jeff, I understand your statements. I really do.

Do you think Romans 13 gives the government that the authority to implement and carry out the death penalty? If not, what do you think limits their reach in administering punishment?

5 Jeff September 30, 2010 at 6:38 pm

I have to say I would vote to keep capital punishment, as sir brass said, the color of the skin does not hide the fact that a capital offense has happened. With the legal system the way it is, appeals the ACLU the chances of someone being put to death have decreased greatly. Look at the 1930s-40’s and 50’s, if a criminal got a death sentence, they were put to death within weeks, you can read about a murder happening in June and the suspect getting the death penalty and by September maybe October they were executed. Now days it takes years if it ever gets carried out.

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