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Handling Christians' Objections Towards the Death Penalty

I remembered having some trouble with my views on death penalty with Roman Catholics. What should have surprised me or not is that some Christians who are truly saved object to the death penalty. They have various reasons which I will address. Part of being a Christian means correcting one's brethren of their mistakes. 

Objection #1: The death penalty is Old Testament law

Some Christians think that the death penalty is just an Old Testament law that got repealed in the New Testament. This is a problem when they fail to study their Bible properly. While they have gotten their soteriology right, they question the conversion of people who claim to be Christians but evidence suggest otherwise but they are against the death penalty. They say that death penalty may belong to the ceremonial law. They may think that Jesus abolished the death penalty in John 8:1-11. But do they know the context? The problem is not the death penalty. The Pharisees should have brought the adulterous woman to the Roman government and not to Jesus. The whole process was a mock trial. In the law concerning adultery both the man and the woman were to be stoned (Deuteronomy 22:22). Jesus was showing people about the foolishness of taking the Law into your hands. 

The New Testament still supported death penalty. Acts 25:11 has Paul not refusing to die if he ever committed any deadly crime. In Romans 13:4 the government is tasked to bear the sword. The sword is not for planting onions but for defensive killing. The government is tasked to punish evildoers and kill them if need be. Revelation 13:10 demands that those who murder must be killed with the sword. The New Testament may allow Christians to eat pork, crustaceans and mollusks but the death penalty is part of the moral law. 

Objection #2: Didn't Jesus say turn the other cheek? 


The expression "turn the other cheek" can be easily mistaken. It's possible to support self-defense while misinterpreting turn the other cheek. Turning the other cheek didn't mean anything about the death penalty. Instead, it's all about how to deal with insults and let-downs. Jesus told them not to let an insult ruin them for life. If they support self-defense then why do they oppose the death penalty for criminals? Death penalty was designed to be defensive killing. 

Some people can contradict themselves with that they think nothing is wrong with a policeman having to kill a dangerous criminal while they think the death penalty is wrong. They may say that turning the other cheek doesn't mean neglecting public safety. What they may have not seen is that death penalty's intended purpose is to execute dangerous criminals who are a threat to society.

Objection #3: Death penalty could end up taking the life of an innocent person

I don't dare deny that death penalty could take the life of an innocent person. I guess they think that this is death penalty for the sake of the death penalty when it isn't. Instead, it's all about having proper procedures and making death penalty the ultimate punishment for the worst of criminals. To say that we must ban the death penalty because an innocent person died would be similar to banning weapons used for self-defense, kitchen utensils, carpentry tools, water or anything that should be used with caution as part of our everyday lives because they were used in a murder scene or somebody died from their misuse. 

What Christians who are against death penalty may not be aware is that innocent people end up in jail because perjury is not punished accordingly. The Bible has a very severe law against perjury. Deuteronomy 19:16-19 says that any false witness who intends to get an innocent person to be executed will be executed instead. Today, perjury has become a very slight matter. Many people get away with a very light sentence when that lying in court could have ended up misusing the judicial system to murder an innocent person. 

Objection #4: Life imprisonment would be better because it prolongs the agony

Some people prefer the life imprisonment not because it seems "humane" but because they believe it will make the person reflect on their sin for the rest of their life. Part of their reasoning is that locking up a person may give them more chances to receive Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. What they don't see is that life imprisonment can be a waste of government revenues to keep them in like a zoo. Prison food can be horrible and prison uniform can be humiliating but some may prefer to end up in jail because free food and free clothing is better than none.

I would definitely agree that the death penalty would be better. The problem with life imprisonment is that hideous criminals can escape. If the cells started getting overcrowded then it's time to build new cells. If hideous criminals will get the death penalty then it would be easier to make room for new prisoners. Criminals who don't deserve the death penalty shouldn't be lumped in with prisoners who deserve it. Also, if all the government does it lock up dangerous criminals then what's the guarantee that they won't keep escaping? 

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