Huckabee, Jesus and the Ending of Human Life

Matthew 15:38-48:

An Eye for an Eye

38″You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.'[g] 39But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. 41If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. 42Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.

Love for Enemies

43″You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor[h] and hate your enemy.’ 44But I tell you: Love your enemies[i] and pray for those who persecute you, 45that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

It’s fascinating to watch a self-professed follower of Jesus rationalize his disagreement with the teachings of Jesus. At some point for Mr. Huckabee, the above passage became conditional.

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36 thoughts on “Huckabee, Jesus and the Ending of Human Life

  1. I was blown away by this last night too. I loved how at the end when the question was stated again, he joked about Jesus not going into politics or whatever. Geez. Real straight shooter huh?

  2. I don’t think the Bible has a stance on how a government should deal capital punishment. If I’m wrong, and I very well could be, please advise…

    Doesn’t the above passage refer to a problem between individuals?

  3. I guess it comes down to “who is your neighbor”, right Taylor?

    In my view Jesus never made the distinction between how individuals should act and how communities (or governments) should act with regards to killing other human beings. If so, I’d love for you to show me where.

  4. Ryan, I like Ron Paul and his willingness to cut the b.s. and actually have some convictions, even in the face of ridicule. I’m pretty sure I couldn’t vote for him, but then again, I feel like that about all the candidates to a certain extent.

  5. Well the bible actually does mention the fact that the state has the right to kill if need be.
    Check out Romans 13 1-7
    This is a question of Authority and Soverenty. I will explain more if requested.
    I love these talks.

  6. fair enough ryan. suppose your right in that those verses give the right for all “authorities” to kill those “who do wrong”.

    but it doesn’t say that it’s ok for followers of Christ to take part in the festivities, does it?

    right before chapter 12 reads:

    “Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary:

    “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”

    Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

    If those words are to be taken seriously, then maybe Huckabee shouldn’t place himself in a position to be the authority he desires to be. I’m not saying this is easy stuff. I’m far from living this way. i just think there is some room for those who seek power to be a bit more honest and authentic in the process. I’d respect Huckabee a lot more if he came clean and just admitted his desire to be president is likely to be genuinely at odds with his religious faith. He joked about this saying Jesus was too smart to run for office. Sometimes there’s a little too much truth in the humor……

  7. Zach, I’ve never commented on a blog before, but this seemed like the right time. My question for Huckabee is why is it okay to take the life of someone who is guilty, but not a baby who is not guilty. How much “guilty” is too much? Where is the line where someone “deserves” to die? I thought the message of Jesus was forgiveness, grace and love. I think he didn’t answer the question of what would Jesus do, because Jesus would never put someone to death. What is it about capital punishment that so appeals to people? There was clapping in the audience. Is it fear? Is it self-righteousness?

  8. kristen, thanks for commenting! I think you’re spot on here.

    In addition to your point…….I’m sure Huckabee’s theology would lead him to believe that even if you’re “guilty” you can still seek the forgiveness that Christ offers, right? How many inmates on death row profess a conversion to Christianity and beg forgiveness for their sins and still the the switch flipped on them….by CHRISTIAN MEN (i.e. huckabee and w. bush). So if we are to believe that it is possible to be made new through Christ, then I wonder how huckabee would distinguish between an unborn child and a convicted murderer on death row who has sought the forgiveness of Christ? Do these men REALLY BELIEVE what the claim to believe? Or do they simply choose to conveniently benefit from their dualistic, divided lives on the way to power and influence?

  9. Christians will always make references to the “just God” of the old testament when you ask them about the contradiction. Huckabee skated over the WWJD question with a joke, crafty on his part. Since Regean and the emergence of the Christian right, there has been a whole new spin these issues which has been guided by the beliefs around American might, military power, which has no room for peaceful methods. It’s demonized as panzy. And that’s how the parties have generally been painted: one of strength and one of weakness. It’s quite amazing how this contradiction about war, death penalty and the true essence of a peaceful jesus has been overlooked. Any argument about a peaceful, forgiving jesus in reference to these issues gets dismissed as wimpy or associated with “bleeding heart” liberalism. As Wallis points out, for many conservatives: the politics is driving the faith, as opposed to someone’s faith being a litmus test for political choice. This is a real problem, and certainly the reason why huckabee forgoes his understanding of a peaceful jesus. It’s ok to say it in the pulpit; but in a debate, it will certainly jeopardize his standing of ‘being tough on crime’ or eradicating those terrorists. who exactly are these enemies that we are supposed to love? What is exactly the point of Huckabee’s christianity in this sense?

  10. A. Capital punishment was commanded by God in the Old Testament.
    1. It preceded the Mosaic Law.
    Gen 9:6 Whoever sheds man’s blood, by man his blood shall be shed, for in the image of God He made man.
    2. It was based on the dignity of man, i.e. man’s transcendent value.
    Gen 9:6 Whoever sheds man’s blood, by man his blood shall be shed, for in the image of God He made man.
    3. It was commanded in the Mosaic Law.
    a. Twenty-one different offenses called for the death penalty in the Old Testament.
    b. Only three include an actual or potential capital offense, by our standards.
    c. Six are for religious offenses.
    d. Ten are for various moral issues.
    e. Two relate to ceremonial issues.
    4. What about David, he wasn’t put to death for his capital crimes.
    a. David understood what justice demanded in this case: “As the Lord lives, surely the man who has done this deserves to die.” 2 Sam 12:5
    b. If God chose to set aside punishment, that doesn’t mean the punishment is unjust when it is executed. God was the one who required capital punishment in many instances.
    B. Capital punishment was assumed in the New Testament.
    1. God ordains governing authorities
    a. Jn 19:11 Jesus answered [to Pilate], “You would have no authority over Me, unless it had been given you from above.”
    b. Rom 13:1-2
    c. 1 Pet 2:13-14 Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right.
    2. Those governments may practice capital punishment.
    a. Rom 13:3-4 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; 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 upon the one who practices evil.
    b. Acts 25:11 If then I am a wrongdoer, and have committed anything worthy of death, I do not refuse to die; but if none of those things is true of which these men accuse me, no one can hand me over to them. I appeal to Caesar.
    C. Jesus’ ethic of love and forgiveness doesn’t disallow capital punishment.
    1. “But Jesus would forgive.”
    a. This argument proves too much.
    1) It becomes an argument against any punishment what-so-ever.
    2) What should we do with the criminal we’ve forgiven?
    a) Life in prison instead of capital punishment?
    b) But Jesus would forgive.
    b. Jesus never challenged the validity of the death penalty.
    1) In Jn 8:3-11, for example, there were no witnesses left to testify against the woman caught in adultery (the Law required at least two witnesses).
    2) Jesus actually upheld the Law here, He didn’t abrogate it, but He did so in a way that wouldn’t allow the evil designs of the Scribes and Pharisees to be accomplished.
    c. Jesus asked God to forgive, not Caesar; He didn’t suggest civil punishment or capital punishment was inappropriate.
    d. We must argue for the coherence and consistency of both Testaments.
    1) The question is not, “Was Jesus right or was Moses right?”
    2) We must also factor in Paul and Peter.

    2. “Jesus was crucified.”
    a. I’m not sure what the point is here? Yes, Jesus was the victim of capital punishment, but what follows from that?
    b. The real issue regarding Jesus was not capital punishment, but His innocence.
    1) Peter assails the act of handing over an innocent man to godless executioners.
    2) Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know–this Man, delivered up by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death. (Acts 2:22-23)
    3. But what about forgiveness?
    a. God’s mercy is always available in His court.
    b. Man’s court is another matter, governed by different biblical responsibilities.
    D. One simply can’t say that capital punishment is patently immoral on biblical grounds.
    1. Jesus did not “abolish the Law,”
    He fulfilled it, but not in the sense that all laws are wiped from the books. Then we would have no punishment for any biblical crimes.
    2. Matt 5:17-19Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish, but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass away from the Law, until all is accomplished. Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and so teaches others, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven.

  11. copy and paste much?

    http://www.str.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=5164

    i didn’t go down the whole list but for A) you (by you i mean some website) use the argument that the OT calls for capital punishment so therefore we should embrace it. fair enough, but then shouldn’t you be actively trying to stone to death any homosexual you can find? If you treat the OT in this way, then you have to be faithful to what it asks of God’s followers.

    and for the record, if someone is going to post words and ideas in the comments that aren’t theirs, then I’d appreciate some kind of reference.

  12. owned.

    but there are some good arguments in that excerpt. this is such a tough issue. first of all I think its hard to tell if the “do not repay evil with evil” verse applies, since if God instituted death as a punishment for death, how can that be considered evil? On the other hand, (and correct me if I’m wrong) when Jesus said “You have heard it said…eye for an eye…but I say love your enemies…” he was going against the old law which went by this eye for an eye mentality.
    Also, with the forgiveness issue, i think there is a difference between vengence and concequences, in other words just because someone is forgiven for something doesnt mean they don’t suffer earthly consequences, and if say, someone killed my mom, it would be wrong of me to kill that person out of vengence, but hopefully when a jury decides that the proper punishment for the crime is death, it is not done out of vengence. and when the executioner does his job, hopefully it is not out of vengence.
    but i don’t know. I’m so on the fence about this subject. I read a quote by Dallas D.A. Craig Watkins that I can definately relate to: “It depends on which day you ask me. I’m sitting here at my desk looking at some autopsy photos. So, yeah, I’m for it. But when I come out of church on Sunday morning, I’m against it.”
    (just for citation purposes, this is from the November issue of Newsweek.)

  13. I think the law is always going to come down hard handed, but as Christ followers, we are always called to do the hardest thing–the thing harder than the law. We are called to love, we are called to forgive, we are called to repair and restore. I don’t think that doing what is just will be “not right”, but doing what is merciful is always better.

  14. “I think its hard to tell if the “do not repay evil with evil” verse applies, since if God instituted death as a punishment for death, how can that be considered evil?”

    i’d like to know when that verse DOESN’T apply. maybe you can show me a verse where Jesus tells us the exception to that teaching. All throughout the Biblical narrative, God seeks justice both with retribution and distribution. For instance, he uses retribution in the case of Noah and the flood. Then later he changes his method and with Abraham uses a distributive approach to justice. I believe Jesus modeled a distributive approach to justice.

    “Also, with the forgiveness issue, i think there is a difference between vengence and concequences, in other words just because someone is forgiven for something doesnt mean they don’t suffer earthly consequences, and if say, someone killed my mom, it would be wrong of me to kill that person out of vengence, but hopefully when a jury decides that the proper punishment for the crime is death, it is not done out of vengence. and when the executioner does his job, hopefully it is not out of vengence.”

    The taking of one life for another is always vengeful, even if it’s done in a calm, calculated manner. it’s revenge any way you slice it.

    “It depends on which day you ask me. I’m sitting here at my desk looking at some autopsy photos. So, yeah, I’m for it. But when I come out of church on Sunday morning, I’m against it.”

    this is the same dualism we see here in the clip from Huckabee. no one said non-violence is easy or safe or rational, but that’s not the point. distributive justice demands much more from civilization than retributive justice. sometimes we can’t just boil everything down to effectiveness and convenience. i’m so far away from really living this out. i understand that it’s incredibly difficult, but if we are to truly seek to be Jesus followers, his teachings are the only compass we have.

  15. “. But what about forgiveness?
    a. God’s mercy is always available in His court.
    b. Man’s court is another matter, governed by different biblical responsibilities.”

    This paste from a paste is the contradiction of all of it. If you look at this logically it says: Man’s court is not compelled to adhere to biblical values. Not only does this seem contradictory to Jesus’ message, but it also a direct contradiction to biblical fundamentalism. there is so much from the paste/paste to carve up, though, I need time. Here are some fragments.

    In regard to New Testament references, there are only Huckabeean fallacies.

    -To say that Jesus never spoke against it is not an argument for it.
    – To say that we should follow Caesar’s law because God put him in power is just plain scary–“This is the kind of sentiment that made Bush say he ‘consulted a higher power’ to invade Iraq. Human law is part of what crucified Christ, but we are supposed to follow it to the letter, even if it seems to undermine Jesus’ message of love and forgiveness?
    – vague reference that Jesus didnt want to ‘abolish the law’ This is just a huckabeean word play. Christians will refer to a new covenant also for the new testament. And in this sense, yes, the law was fufilled and by most christians amended(except for the death penalty, in my view).
    -which country and set of beliefs are “god ordained” Is the leader of Iran god ordained? the american president? who? And is this a solid argument for behavior. And yes, Jesus’ quote does puzzle me when he talks of Pilate’s power.
    -the argument regarding jesus supporting the law about adultery is not directly relevant in this case.

    If you believe that heaven exists, then you have to believe that someone goes there.

    If you believe someone goes there, then you have to acknowledge that there is repentance and the forgiveness of sins.

    If you believe in the forgiveness of sins, then you believe in Jesus.

    If you believe in Jesus, heaven and the forgiveness of sins, you would not want to steal the opportunity for someone to experience it– Death penalty.

    If you think there is a sin too heinous to be forgiven, then repentance has no relevance. autopsy photos.

    If repentance is not relevant, Christianty has NO purpose. There is no point to it.

    And the best part of this, I am not sure about the death penalty either. If my family was hurt, I am not sure I could live up to it. But if our beliefs dont have a higher standard, what is the point? We dont need Jesus for the easy stuff? The struggle is where the truth of him becomes clear.

  16. Mark I think you should sell that company and we should form fellowships around your teachings. J/K
    I think this is helping me see not just 2 sides of the coin.
    Sometimes, I am too safe and simplistic in my thoughts.
    Let me say this about the “opportunity for someone to experience it-death penalty”, If a person decides to follow Christ or not on our heads. Is it?
    Acts 17:26 talks much about time and place. I think you are right that we don’t want to play God in our court systems. However, how far is too far?
    Is it wrong to protect the innocent? Children, I say children because of the “no one is good not even one” verse. Take the slaughter of the Amish children in Pennsylvania. Would it be wrong to have killed the guy prior to the point of him going in there and shooting up the place? What about a hypothetical? Baby is held hostage by someone and the cops surround him. The only choices are to let the guy shoot the baby or shoot the child. What about everyone’s favorite example: Hitler was it wrong to kill all those associated with the German army in order to stop him and his devilish council from taking over the world? Because they almost did had they not tried a 2 front war.
    I guess what I am trying to say is with out order and law in the world wouldn’t there be utter chaos?

    Logic time: Murder is killing. (the taking of innocent life) However, killing is not always murder..
    Having said all that, I don’t know if it is right to kill someone for taking another person’s life (eye for an eye).
    However, God has the final say in the judgment of ones righteousness. We can’t see the heart only he can see through our masks.

    Side Note: I was really torn up about the copy and paste thing. Thank you guys for showing me some grace.

    Ry

  17. We often think of preventing Hitler or other evils as only preventable by a stronger use of violence, but I would argue that non-violent alternatives (not pacifism) are the answer. There were even examples of non-violent resistance in the fight against the Nazis that were successful. Think of Ghandi and Jesus. Michael Nagler wrote a fantastic book called Is There No Other Way? that goes into more depth. I highly recommend it.

    Ultimately, violence begets more violence. Standing up to violence and exposing its weakness is full of risks, and even still people often die, but they have sacrificed their lives without continuing the cycle.

  18. I think the issue is so uncomplicated, it becomes complicated.

    As far as I understand scripture, there is a place for Gov’t to act justly and deal with the unjust. That is assuming the system is not corrupt.

    But the question is, do we as believers belong in those systems? i like what you said zach when you said,”If those words are to be taken seriously, then maybe Huckabee shouldn’t place himself in a position to be the authority he desires to be.”

    We are called to live differently from the world’s standards. So yes, we are called to forgive and bless those who mean us harm. We do not take eye for an eye. that makes this very uncomplicated.

    we just dont participate in those systems that do.

    peace.

  19. Atwood–thanks for being a good sport. I hope they are not my teachings. The last thing we need is another guru 🙂 I think you are on the mark when you mention that God is responsible for judging–and I think that is one of the strongest arguments against the death penalty because it leaves the judgement to god. Again, I’ll admit I am not there yet. I have more issue with the inconsistency than anything. It is easier for me to tolerate an non christian being for the death penalty–to me that makes more sense. To me, I just see Christianty losing its significance if repentence and forgiveness loses to vengence. What is the point, then? I think that some might argue that the death penalty is a passion less act by the state–maybe so.

    quote:
    “As far as I understand scripture, there is a place for Gov’t to act justly and deal with the unjust. That is assuming the system is not corrupt.”

    I can’t put my hand around this idea. I just can’t understand ‘god ordained’ countries. I know what you mean, and I am not discounting it, I just don’t want to believe it. What is the point of killing someone? Is it retribution? revenge? God’s law? eye for eye? I don’t know the answer. One less mouth to feed, although studies show that it is not cheaper. Everyone is right, it is not an easy answer. It teaches us about our faith though.

  20. Your self defense point brings up an interesting aspect–I like it. The death penalty is ‘self-defense’ of the society. I like the logic of that and the semantic twist. That’s the strongest argument and paralell I have heard for the death penalty within a christian context. One couldnt resonably assume that you woudnt do what you could to protect your own-even if it meant death of the attacker. Although, I think murder by the state after the fact may be different. but again, I like the argument of a kind of self defense for society. I can buy the ‘non-murder’ self defense for society argument a bit. Can you forgive someone and still put them to death? is that possible?

  21. Hey Zach,
    i dont know how to explain, but is it possible to meet you in wiesbaden 14th feb? im reading your blog with joy for month and i sometimes 🙂 agree with what you write. therefor i thought, maybe meeting you at the show (before or after, it doesnt matter) and talk a little bit would be a great idea. who knows, probably you`ll find a good turkish/german friend.
    well, drop a line to derekandhansel@gmail.com if you want.
    take care
    y

  22. “If you believe in Jesus, heaven and the forgiveness of sins, you would not want to steal the opportunity for someone to experience it—Death penalty.”

    Good point, Mark.

  23. Hi Zack, my name is Scott and I am a first time commentor on your blog. I thought I would give it a shot. Here goes:

    I am not totally comfortable saying one way or another whether I think Jesus would be for/against the death penalty. But if I were forced to give my best guess, I think He would permit it. And here’s why.

    I can’t find anything in the Gospel text stating that He condones it. But nor can I find anything in the text stating that He condemns it either. I want to respond to the statement you made:

    “In my view Jesus never made the distinction between how individuals should act and how communities (or governments) should act with regards to killing other human beings. If so, I’d love for you to show me where.”

    A lot of times the distinctions made on these sort of issues are subtle and implicit. Jesus neither explicitly states that He was speaking to ONLY individuals or that He was speaking to BOTH individuals and governments. One of the first things we ask when studying a passage is WHO is the audience Jesus is SPECIFICALLY addressing? Is He addressing His disciples? Yes. Is He addressing Roman Government officials, No (at least, not to our knowledge). So it would seem that to say Jesus never makes the distinction is as speculative as to say that He does. We only know for sure that He is addressing His disciples (i.e. individuals). We do not know for sure that He is addressing Roman Government officials (i.e. government). Had Jesus condemned a number of Roman Government officials for their practice of the death penalty, then I think we would have pretty clear grounds to claim He would be against it. But He never did that.

    And John 8:1-8 doesn’t count as an example since Jesus was confronting a particular group of Pharisees on their religious hypocrisy. (He wasn’t confronting the institution of capital punishment in and of itself).

    With that said, I think the Gospels are pretty much silent on the issue. One can try to make a case that Paul recognizes and substantiates capital punishment in Rom. 13:1-4. But that is still kind of weak since we don’t if Paul is saying the Govt. “DOES” bear the sword or if he is saying the Gov.t “SHOULD” bear the sword.

    By and large, I think the New Testament is pretty much silent on the matter. And you are right on about where appealing to the Old Testament Law could lead.

    I would really appreciate your feedback however.

    Also, if you ever want to the hear the best talk I have ever heard in favor of capital punishment, go to http://www.dennisprager.com, click on lectures, click on society, and he has a lecture called “The Case for Capital Punishment.” He is a Jewish scholar and uses a little bit of Scripture. But most of his arguments are based off of experience, philosophy, sociology, culture, logic, and common sense. It had a strong influence on me. And I guarantee if you listen to it, you will hear the most cogent, sensible understanding of why someone might be for it, which could only help make you sharper if you disagree with everything he says.

    http://stores.dennisprager.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Product_Code=SM32&Category_Code=01B&Product_Count=33

    As much as I would love to distance myself from the extreme, fundamentalist, right-winged Christians who greatly support capital punishment–and trust me, I love to distance myself from them quite a bit–at the end of the day, I can only believe what I find to be true.

  24. this is one more instance of the normal cognitive dissonance politicians claiming to follow Christ display.

    in holy scripture there are 2 instances of God’s response to capital punishment that stand out to me more than any other. the first is his response to the very first murder recorded when cain killed abel. justice was meted out by God himself in the form of exile rather than death. the other is the story of Jesus rebuking the crowd intent on killing the adulterous woman.

    to say that Jesus didn’t deal with capital punishment is just not true. his death on a roman cross was vindicated by God in the resurrection and turned the whole death culture of the empire on it’s head. i pray we are able to do the same in our current context of death.

  25. soctt, thanks for your comment. i appreciate your point of view but in the end I think we are in disagreement here.

    i am familiar with dennis prager and, to be honest, i’m not a fan. i’m certainly not going to pay $12 for this lecture. I think I don’t have a choice when it comes to backing ANY argument for retribution-al justice. If I’m to follow the example and words of Jesus, it leaves me no choice in the matter. I am not going to willfully participate in the ending of any human life regardless of the circumstances.

    i guess we’ll just respectfully agree to disagree on whether or not Jesus’ teachings regarding the killing of others is conditional.

  26. here’s a title of one of pragger’s columns on his website:

    “The World Doesn’t Hate America, the Left Does.”

    I’m supposed to take seriously an opinion on the right to kill others by the person who came up with THAT? What a pile of over-simplistic, intellectually dishonest tripe.

    Scott, i know you’re trying to be helpful here but if what Pragger does is considered Jewish philosophy, then I’ll have to give you some kind of award for being very generous.

  27. Hey Zach, I just stumbled upon this post because a friend of mine referred to it based on a similar post I made on my blog. You can read my thoughts about this at http://lewiscash.blogspot.com/2007/11/elephante.html

    This isn’t spam, or anything, just my blog about this topic.

    I’d like to thank you for sharing your thoughts regarding this, Zach. I have a funny feeling that you and I have similar views on this, and other social justice issue.

    Also, and this is totally random, but you guys just toured The Stiletto Formal, and I was their first drummer. I left about two years ago to be married and be a teacher. I just thought this was a random fact you might enjoy.

    Anyways, thanks so much for the great post and for trying to follow after Jesus’ teachings.

  28. i was gonna stay out of this but i’m kinda tired of people throwing out biblical passages (mainly because we can argue until the rapture comes and a bloodthristy Christ does some serious damage). while i think it is important and needed to use scripture, there is also something to say for statistics. i am wary of people doing stuff like this but it’s a little hard in cyber-land. there is a good book called “revolution” edited by heather zydek. they deal with capital punishment in it. here are a few random quotes…

    “The United States is one of the few countries in the world that executes criminals. For an all too brief time in the country we abolished the death penalty (1972-1977) but then we brought it back. Most nations have eliminated the death penalty as a violation of fundamental human rights. According to Amnesty International, 97 percent of all known executions in 2004 took place in four countries: China, Iran, Vietnam and the Untied States. The United States routinely criticizes these very nations for their record on human rights.”

    “There is no statistical evidence to show that the death penalty prevents crime. In fact, the opposite is true. In the U.S. capital crimes are more common in states that have the death penalty and less common in states that do not. But this does not really prove anything; maybe states adopted the death penalty because the crime problem was worse. However, in Canada, capital and violent crimes dropped 20 percent following the abolishment of the death penalty.”

    “Some believe it better to kill the most violent criminals rather than support them in prison with tax money. Unfortunately in the U.S. it costs taxpayers far more money, on average, to execute someone than to inprison them for forty years – a lifetimes sentence for most prisoners.”

    and i did’t even get a chance to throw in the quote about how minorities, the mentally impaired and the poor are convicted to death at a larger rate than those who commit the same crimes but are rich and intelligent.

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