The Sin of Capital Punishment


Roger Olson made a post on his blog talking about how capital punishment was a sin. Not all of it actually, but those cases when a person is prosecuted quickly in order to close the case and move on. Testimonies have been fabricated at times and evidence is sometimes lacking. Not all police work is done to the highest level so the defendant does not get the fairest case. This negligence is what I take as being sinful according to Olson. Added to this, the more conservative Christians in these states get worked up at the thought of doing away with it. It was ordained by God so capital punishment is not wrong is often the claim.

I am mixed on it.

I do not get a frothy mouth at the thought of some criminal being put to death. There is no excitement in it for me. This life is no more and all opportunities are gone. At the same time, the thought of paying for criminals to live out the rest of their life is not appealing either. Money that could be better used to educate children or providing health care and opportunities to improve the lives of those suffering in poverty seem better ways to drop the potential of crime rate for a state.

What if an innocent person dies though? It is a tragedy and a bright future might have been denied them, but the same is true if they would have died in a car wreck or an illness. We are responsible for what we do while we are alive and the life we led is what is measured, not lost opportunities. If the person is executed is guilty or innocent, it is the judgment from God that they face that they should fear, not what man has said about them.

For this reason, I think Christians should be more active in prison ministries. Giving hope in this life is good, but without hope in the next life, it is pointless. Where is the grace and mercy that Christians talk about if they are not showing it to those who are in need? Isn’t that what Jesus was offering to the sinners that he encountered? Aren’t there plenty of sinners inside of the prisons? Why is there not a bigger movement towards prison ministry? That is the sin. Not capital punishment but rather the apathy that Christians display towards prisoners.

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