An ‘Odd Position’

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In an article about capital punishment in The Economist, the writer noted:

many conservative evangelicals have ended up in the odd position of prizing life when it comes to abortion, but not when it comes to prisoners (the Catholic church is pro-life on both counts).

I found this an odd thing to say. Given a choice between life and death is it not ‘odd’ to rather assign death to the innocent and life to the guilty?

But this is the socially liberal position who:

have ended up in the odd position of prizing death when it comes to an innocent unborn child, but not when it comes to a murderer.

In the words of the author:

in a secular democracy a law of such gravity must have some compelling rational justification, which the death penalty does not.

Quite. So how is it that the life of the unborn may be taken? What rational justification exists to command the death penalty?

As the graph shows, the number of murders sentenced to death is shrinking, yet the number of innocents dying remains in the 100,000s. Is that not a greater ‘oddity?’

On the day of this article the daily reading from the Bible in One Year was from Luke 23:39.

One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” 40 But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? 41 We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”

Pilate had found Jesus innocent, but popular opinion wanted him killed. Instead, they wanted a guilty murderer to be set free .

The Bible is right when it says ‘there is nothing new under the sun.’

[In case some readers would like to pigeon hole me...I am against the death penalty due to the risk an innocent man could die and the fact that the penalty is applied disproportionately to certain demographics. Alternatively 'life' should mean a real sentence. However, I would not rule out capital punishment entirely for certain crimes, eg war crimes, acts of genocide].

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