First, I must as a self proclaimed Christian look at any and all issues from a biblical perceptive. To do otherwise is to say I do not put God first. So what does the Bible say about the Death penalty:
Genesis 9:6 (KJV)Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man. It is here the Biblical principle of the Death Penalty is established and never revoked in the biblical text. Note God establishes this not as a DETERENT but as PUNISHMENT.
Exodus 21:23-25 (AMP) But if there is any further injury, then you shall require [as a penalty] life for life, 24 eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, 25 burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise. Punishment must fit the crime.
Num. 35:30 ‘If anyone kills a person [intentionally], the murderer shall be put to death on the testimony of [two or more] witnesses; but no one shall be put to death on the testimony of [only] one witness. It must be noted that in every case it was a person guilty of what we today call Capital Murder and intent must be proven beyond ALL DOUBTS.
Numbers 35:22-24 ‘But if he pushed the victim suddenly, not in enmity, or threw anything at him without malicious intent, 23 or without seeing him hit him [accidentally] with a stone object that could kill him, and he died, and [the offender] was not his enemy nor intending to harm him, 24 then the congregation shall judge between the offender and the blood avenger according to these ordinances. The death penalty only applies to those cases clearly premeditated, planned and thought out before hand.
Numbers 35 This whole chapter is is about what we call Due Process. Beginning in V.6 God established safe cities for criminals to go to so those pursuing them could not kill them and they could get a fair trial.
Ezekiel 33:10-20 The death Penalty should be a LAST RESORT not some way to prop up careers. God who established it says in v.11 Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel? There are two MAJOR implications, first, no pleasure, if God has no pleasure in the death penalty neither should any of us. Second, the wicked turn, God says if the accused (or those found guilty) repent they are to be spared!
Since 1973 there have been 173 persons exonerated off Death Row. Tghat averages to a staggering 1 in 9 inmates on death row. For any other class of statistics folks would be screaming for actions. Another fact, this is often played up as a race issue yet 56% White 34% Black and 8% Hispanic have been executed.
The bottom line for me is the death penalty is biblical and legal. However it has become SO GROSSLY misapplied (Avg. above 11% innocent) that I for one can not support further executions until all biblical criteria is confirmed in each case.
Wanted: An Honest Debate About the Death Penalty
The death penalty debate should revolve around the morality and efficacy of state policy regarding that criminality, not some fantasy world in which butchers are selectively cast as victims…