Capital Punishment ...

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Crabtownboy, Nov 25, 2008.

  1. Crabtownboy

    Crabtownboy
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    Capital punishment should be abolished. We are finding that innocent men and women are being sentenced to death. We will never know how many innocents have been executed ... dead people do not talk, and further investigations are not conducted.

    Read John Grishim's "The Innocent Man." It is a non-fiction, true story book of an innocent man sent to death row. If you believe that in America you are innocent until proven guilty, read this book or watch the following link on YouTube:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8jz9xMpu0I8


    http://209.85.129.132/search?q=cach...inmates+set+free+dna&hl=cs&ct=clnk&cd=4&gl=cz


    http://209.85.129.132/search?q=cach...pa+dna+innocent+ober&hl=cs&ct=clnk&cd=1&gl=cz

    http://209.85.129.132/search?q=cach...s+tampa+dna+innocent&hl=cs&ct=clnk&cd=5&gl=cz




    In a perfect world perhaps, but you cannot justify capital punishment using the teachings of Jesus. Also, though we are supposed to have checks and balances to avoid innocent people going to jail and being executed we now know that it happens all too often. As long as it is possible that an innocent person can be convicted capital punishment should not be allowed.

    Leaving out religious beliefs, how can anyone support capital punishment knowing that innocent people will die?
     
    #1 Crabtownboy, Nov 25, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 25, 2008
  2. Jim1999

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    The last person to hang in the UK was an 18 year old boy. I think it was 1952, but don't quote me. Some 25 years later he was proven, in the same court of law, to be rather innocent. The UK government of the day sent a letter of apology to the lad's family!

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  3. ktn4eg

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    If capital punishment ought be abolished, then please explain why God inspired Paul to write in Romans 13:4 "...for he ("...the [governmental] powers that be are ordained of God" 13:1) beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God , a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil."? [bolding mine; italics is in the text of Rom. 13:4]

    In context, God the Holy Spirit here is referring to one of the main purposes for which God instituted human government and why we [born again Christians] should subject ourselves to their authority [as opposed to being anarchists].

    Now, if God ordained human government to "beareth ... the sword," then what does the word "sword" in Romans 13:4 mean? Last time I checked, in first century Roman society, the sword meant a weapon of death.

    IOW, God ordained human government to be "a revenger [as opposed to individuals "taking the law into their own hands"] to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil."

    Does this passage guarantee that no "mistakes" will ever be made when human governmental authorities "bear the sword"? Of course not. (Remember that "the powers that be" that God in His Word commands us to be submissive to in Paul's day was the Roman government headed by Emperor Nero---who wasn't noted for being a lover of Christians.)

    But yet, we still have Romans 13:4 in our Bibles. So, what are we supposed to do with what Romans 13:4 tells us to do?

    Unless I'm badly mistaken (that's happened a time or two :smilewinkgrin: ), God is telling us that the death penalty is something that He allows human government to administer [as opposed to individuals "taking the law into their own hands" as He allowed OT theocratic Israel to do].

    Comments/corrections to my understanding of Romans 13:4 are welcomed, provided that you back it up with applicable scripture as I have tried to do.
     
  4. SBCPreacher

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    I don't believe that eliminating capital punishment is the solution. Premeditated murder needs to be punished by execution.

    The solution is to make sure our legal system has found the right evidence to support capital punishment. It is true that there are those found guilty of a crime that they did not commit, but eliminating the punishment is not the solution. If that were the case, then let's empty the prisons because there might be an innocent person in there.
     
  5. North Carolina Tentmaker

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    Well I disagree with you here Crabtown, I know, big surprise.

    I believe that capital punishment should be an integral part of our law enforcement system. It can be an effective deterrent and it is a guarantee against repeat offenders. The cost of our current system of incarceration is way too high.

    I did read Gresham’s “Innocent Man.” It is a great book and what happened to that guy was certainly not justice. Certainly cases like that do happen and we need to do everything we can to prevent them.

    Here is what I would do to fix our capital punishment system. I would federalize it. I know you are all in shock that I would advocate federalizing anything, but if I were POTUS here is what I would do (yea I know, dream on).

    Federalize the death penalty. States would no longer execute anyone, only the federal government could (Isn’t that kind of what the Romans did?). Once a state convicted someone and sentenced them to die they would be remanded into federal custody and transferred to the federal execution prison. If the governor wants to commute or pardon then this is his last chance. Once in federal custody a federal “death court” would review the case for discrepancies. Federal prosecutors and defenders would review the case. DNA test would be verified and everything would be fast tracked. Within 90 days a recommendation to the death court would be made and any legal questions answered. Execution should take place no more than 6 months after the prisoner was given to federal custody. If the court found reason to postpone to investigate further then they could. But there would be no other appeals or intermediate courts. Death penalty cases go straight to the federal death court and they have final authority.

    By moving the execution closer to the crime we would create a deterrent that does not exist today. Executing someone 20 years or more after the crime was committed is not a deterrent. We need to link the crime and the punishment. Our constitution guarantees a speedy trial and when appeals are still being heard years afterwards that is not speedy.

    And I have to believe that even with the resources that would be required this would be cheaper than keeping someone on death row for 30 years while they run endless appeals.

    Anyway, that is what I would do.
     
  6. Baptist Believer

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    That's a huge assertion.

    I don't have time to post a lengthy message about this now, but I want you to think about a few things...

    All earthly governments ultimately rule by force. Our society establishes laws and standards and uses the power of the state to punish those who do not comply. Rarely does the state have to actually exert physical force on an individual or an institution but verbal and written commands (i.e., force) is backed up by the knowledge that the government will use physical force eventually if the lesser pressures of force are ignored or resisted.

    The teachings of the scripture (even the New Testament) do not oppose the use of force by governments. The Apostle Paul writes in Romans 13:1-7 that government officials are agents of God, ministering (he uses a word which is normally identified with those who served in the temple) through the use of the sword (in modern terms, "through the use of a gun").

    Look at Romans 13:1-4:

    1 Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God.
    2 Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves.
    For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same;
    4 for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil.

    Roman soldiers (an occupying power!) are not condemned in the New Testament. John the Baptist does not require Roman soldiers to change their profession (a profession where they train to kill and occasionally have to do it) in Luke 3. Jesus praises the faith of the centurion (Luke 7) without suggesting that he find another line of work. Cornelius (another centurion) is used of God to show Peter that non-Jewish people can have faith and receive the Holy Spirit (Acts 10) without becoming Jewish first... or changing professions.

    The point I'm attempting to make is that these soldiers were under the employ and direct orders of a pagan leader who used them to wage wars against other armies which were generally composed of "innocent" men (that is, the men they fought against were not usually criminals or murderers).

    Jesus (or anyone else in the scripture) does not directly condemn war. I have more trouble with the morality of war than I do capital punishment. As I pointed out in the previous paragraph, those who actually die in conventional wars are usually just people serving their country - not those who have made evil decisions or who have personal guilt for the evil their country commits. You truly have innocent people being killed in the fighting. Yet, as most people understand, sometimes war is unavoidable if we are going to restrain evil... especially if someone else makes war on us.

    If John the Baptist, Jesus, Peter or even Paul did not condemn war (as a thing in itself) or the use of force (Jesus even suggested purchasing swords - Luke 22:35-38), then we have to find other justification to believe that Jesus' teaching don't allow for the taking of human life in certain situations.
     
    #6 Baptist Believer, Nov 25, 2008
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2008
  7. Crabtownboy

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    But there is no way to ensure that innocent people will not be found guilty of murders they did not commit.

    To abolish capital punishment does not mean jails would be emptied. Life without parole ... and I mean no parole would be better. Then, if evidence is found that proves a person's innocence that person can be freeded. If he/she is executed there is no way to correct the injustice that was done.

    Leaving religious beliefs aside, I feel that if there is any possibility of an innocent person being executed then capital punishement should be done away with.

    Read "The Innocent Man." The one case of a person being railroaded and sent to death row should be enough to give anyone pause ... and obviously he is not the only case. The man in a cell across from him on death row was also later found to be innocent, but also had been railroaded by the police/sherriff.
     
  8. North Carolina Tentmaker

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    I do love Grisham’s work Crabtown, he is a very gifted author and has a strong Christian testimony. I believe I have read most of his works. “Innocent Man” was good and of course is non fiction. When it comes to the death penalty I also enjoyed “The Chamber.” Have you read that one.

    Like most people I guess I discovered Grisham with “The Firm.” But that was really not his best work. I liked “The Rainmaker,” and “The King of Torts,” but my favorite Grisham work is “The Testament.” It also contains a pretty clear testimony that I know Grisham was proud to have included. The last Grisham book I finished was “The Broker.” I enjoyed that one, more spy novel than lawyer novel.
     
  9. canadyjd

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    I don't support the death penalty because of my religious beliefs.

    Christians should not support the death penalty. It is inconsistent with the teachings of Christ concerning our attitudes toward others that do evil deeds.

    To the extent Christians can influence public policy concerning the death penalty, they should not participate in death penalty cases and they should help abolish it, IMHO.

    BTW, someone mentioned Romans 13 and the "sword". Romans 13 is a warning to Christians not to revolt against the Romans, probably because of taxes (perhaps taxes going to support pagan temples). The "sword" was a symbol of authority, not of execution. That is clear from the context.

    The symbol for execution was the cross.

    peace to you:praying:
     
  10. Crabtownboy

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    Yes, I have read "The Chamber". I guess I have read almost all of his books. I also liked "The Testament" very much. If you watched the clip on You Tube Grisham says he was pro-capital punishment until he was doing research for "The Chamber." Later, when researching for the writing of "Innocent Man" it nailed the subject shut, closed and tight for him. Concerning "The Innocent Man" Grisham said he was not even looking for an idea for a book until he read the headline on the obituary that read: “Ronald Williamson, freed from death row, dies at the age of 51.”

    The hard core pro-capital punishment folk should read "The Innocent Man." It certainly should give pause in their thinking. Williamson may not have been the most upstanding citizen in the world, but surely he deserved better than our justice system gave him .... after all he was innocent.

    Here is Williamson's obituary from the Boston Globe:

    http://www.boston.com/news/globe/ob...1/ronald_williamson_cleared_of_murder_by_dna/
     
    #10 Crabtownboy, Nov 25, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 25, 2008
  11. NaasPreacher (C4K)

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    I keep meaning to get Innocent Man, but The Chamber shook my thoughts on capital punishment to the core. I would have previously had a 'string 'em up' mentality, but that novel caused me to reconsider my position.
     
  12. SBCPreacher

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    To those who oppose the death penalty, you might want to read Genesis 9:6.
     
  13. Crabtownboy

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    So, should we stone to death any unruly teenagers in your church? After all the OT says to do so.

    Do you want to continue a system that executes innocent people?
     
  14. SBCPreacher

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    No. Let's fix the system, not eliminate the punishment.
     
  15. SBCPreacher

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    Well... There's this one kid...

    (Just kidding.)

    If I'm not mistaken, the mandate to stone rebellious children was part of the law given to the Jews. Our country is not based on the Jewish legal system, therefore it doesn't apply to us. Genesis 9:6 was given by God long before there was a nation of Israel. It is God's moral law for all people.
     
    #15 SBCPreacher, Nov 25, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 25, 2008
  16. Bob Alkire

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    As long as we are dealing with humans, that reasoning could be used on most anything, from self government(which this subject is part of) on in this life. I don't think it is wise to make law due to the exception. I just finished reading about how many scholarships to school are given to ones who should not have gotten them, do we do away with scholarships because we get them wrong. I have been pulled for speeding but when the readout is pulled it shows that I wasn't speeding(this has happened) do we do away with tickets? The perfect way would be to check the readout and give me tickets by it not when I'm pulled,( I only want it read to help me, not to hurt me) but I don't want that, 3 tickets in 3 years and I lose my license and can't drive and a truck driver who can't drive isn't of much use in the transportation field.

    What gets me is how many who should have been given death walk out as free folks. Life isn't perfect and at times not fair, but we should try and improve and get it correct, but not do away with it.
     
  17. Crabtownboy

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    It is a long stretch between an innocent person getting a speeding ticket and an innocent person being executed.

    So do you approve of a system where you know innocent people will die?
     
  18. Crabtownboy

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    If our legal system is not based on Jewish law and thus does Jewish law does not apply to unruly children, then it Jewish law and the Bible cannot be logically applied to justify capital punishment.

    Tell you what .... read The Innocent Man ... watch the Grisham clip and see if you still feel the same. Deal?
     
  19. SBCPreacher

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    Let me suggest that you re-read my post. The mandate from God to execute murders (Genesis 9:6) was not part of the law given to the nation of Israel.
     
  20. Jim1999

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    At the same token, the scriptures do not condemn slavery either. Paul tells those in slavery to be content in their state. Some of us grew up and changed.

    The same is true of capital punishment. We need to grow up and evolve with the times. Courts have been proven faulty. Juries have been proven faulty....some will cite a murder case in California a dew years back...a famous footballer. Then the farce of the court system. He was found not guilty and yet a civil court to rob him of his money. What a chimera, what a contradiction is this system.

    By the way some reason, we should not be invading sovereign countries such as Germany during the first and second world wars. We should not have been in Korea interfering with two sovereign countries. We should not have interfered with Sadam Hussein in his country. He was keeping peace in the Middle East, albeit by the sword.

    The USA is the only free nation left in the West with the death penalty, although the method has been sanitized. No more heads jerked off at the end of a rope; no more heads seared by faulty electrical systems.

    Most states have grown with the times and done away with capital punishment, which is the governments prerogative.

    Just recently the last child to be sentenced to death and saved by the sitting Prime Minister was proven innocent of the crime.

    And you dare to speak out against abortionists, who think they are doing the right thing and doing it legally, by the way.

    Lets wake up and face reality. Engage in honest debate, oppose what you believe to be wrong by lawful protest.

    How many violate highway laws on a daily basis and smile about it? I din't get caught!! Well, the Bible speaks about dishonesty too!

    Jesus was faced with the possible stoning to death of a prostitute. Did He stand by and allow it to happen? No He did not. He stood in her defence, told her to rise, go, and sin no more.

    I killed people in Korea and I have had to live with that all of my life. Men, women and children died at our hands. I couldn't do much about that, I chose to serve my country. Captital punishment I can do something about in the service of my God and country and common decency.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     

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