June 10, 2010 4 Comments
It has become popular in certain circles of Catholicism, Orthodoxy and Evangelicalism, to oppose the death penalty as something “unchristian.” I have had many discussions on this topic with professing Christians from all stripes. However, this response usually comes from a misplaced “sentimentalism,” rather than the divine founts of Scripture and Tradition. Purveyors of this anti-death penalty view usually fall back on saying that “God is love,” or they cite an obscure saint somewhere who was overflowing with compassion and hated to see men die. While I understand the compassion in mind here, we need not be more compassionate than Christ Himself. God is love, but He is also just (Matt. 12:18). But, “evil men do not understand justice, but those who seek the Lord understand all” (Prov. 28:5).
The usual response at this point is that, “if one opposes abortion, he must also oppose the death penalty.” This confuses two issues. All murders are killings, but not all killings are murders. One can be just and is a virtue, while the other is a vice and a crime. God Himself ordained civil government to be a restraint on the wickedness of men, and part of that ordination includes the death penalty. In Genesis 9:6, God states that whoever sheds man’s blood, deserves to have his blood shed because he has defaced the image of God. Such is God’s reasoning. Read more of this post