RE -- Good and Evil (Responses to the death penalty)

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  • RE -- Good and Evil (Responses to the death penalty)
    • Liberal Christian responses
      • Only God has the right to take life
      • Executions go against the sanctity of life and "thou shall not kill"
      • They believe that Christinas should follow the teaching of Christ (compassion, kindness etc)
        • "Father forgive them, for they know not what they do"
        • "Turn the other cheek"
        • Also the Golden rule
      • Many favour reform -- with chaplains
    • Conservative Christian responses
      • Some Christians advocate the death penalty , seeing it follows the Old Testament law
        • "An eye for an eye"
        • "Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed"
        • The Old Testament specifies 36 capital offences
        • Some Christians believe that capital punishment upholds the commandment “thou shalt not kill” by showing the seriousness of the crime of murder
    • Quakers responses
      • Quakers have campaigned against the death penalty since 1818
      • All life should be protected because all humans are a reflection of God
      • Some of the first prison reformers were Quaker who worked to maintain the dignity and humanity of prisoners
      • "Live at peace with everyone"
    • Catholics responses
      • Catholics are divided
        • In 1997 the vatican released a statement saying how execution was acceptable when they knew for certainty who the killer was and when it is the only means to protect society against the aggressor
        • It did state that non-lethal punishments are “more in keeping with the concrete conditions of the common good and… the dignity of the human person”
      • Traditionally the catholic church was allowed but not encouraged to use capital punishment
    • Arguments for
      • Rid of dangerous people, value  of life made clear, compensation, often take away someone's human rights
      • Good effect on society psychologically
      • Execution is cheaper
      • "Anyone who commits murder shall be put to death”
      • "Eye for an eye"
      • "Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed"
      • It deters potential murderers
      • Protection, retribution and deterrence
      • Timothy McVeigh, responsible for the Oklahoma bombings (killing 168 people), killed by lethal injections
    • Arguments against
      • Human life vitally important, execution is an easier punishment
      • People not of sound mind cannot be fully punished
      • It does not work as a deterrent, no murder case is the same, it violates human rights
      • Many killed found later to have been innocent, should not be responsible
        • eg/ Derek Bentley, mental age of 11
      • "Do not judge other, so that God will not judge you"
      • "The dignity of human life must never be taken away"
      • "If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other"
      • "He that is without sin among you -- let him cast the first stone"
      • "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy"
      • If they are put to death, they have no chance for reformation
      • Break human rights
      • Innocent men can be put to death


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