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May 1st, 2014
09:15 AM ET

Why Christians should support the death penalty

Opinion by R. Albert Mohler Jr., Special to CNN

(CNN) - The death penalty has been part of human society for millennia, understood to be the ultimate punishment for the most serious crimes.

But, should Christians support the death penalty now, especially in light of the controversial execution Tuesday in Oklahoma?

This is not an easy yes or no question.

On the one hand, the Bible clearly calls for capital punishment in the case of intentional murder.

In Genesis 9:6, God told Noah that the penalty for intentional murder should be death: “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image.”

The death penalty was explicitly grounded in the fact that God made every individual human being in his own image, and thus an act of intentional murder is an assault upon human dignity and the very image of God.

In the simplest form, the Bible condemns murder and calls for the death of the murderer. The one who intentionally takes life by murder forfeits the right to his own life.

In the New Testament, the Apostle Paul instructs Christians that the government “does not bear the sword in vain.” Indeed, in this case the magistrate “is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the evildoer.” [Romans 13:4]

On the other hand, the Bible raises a very high requirement for evidence in a case of capital murder.

The act of murder must be confirmed and corroborated by the eyewitness testimony of accusers, and the society is to take every reasonable precaution to ensure that no one is punished unjustly.

While the death penalty is allowed and even mandated in some cases, the Bible also reveals that not all who are guilty of murder and complicity in murder are executed.

Just remember the biblical accounts concerning Moses, David and Saul, later known as Paul.

Christian thinking about the death penalty must begin with the fact that the Bible envisions a society in which capital punishment for murder is sometimes necessary, but should be exceedingly rare.

The Bible also affirms that the death penalty, rightly and justly applied, will have a powerful deterrent effect.

In a world of violence, the death penalty is understood as a necessary firewall against the spread of further deadly violence.

Seen in this light, the problem we face today is not with the death penalty, but with society at large.

American society is quickly conforming to a secular worldview, and the clear sense of right and wrong that was Christianity’s gift to Western civilization is being replaced with a much more ambiguous morality.

We have lost the cultural ability to declare murder – even mass murder – to be deserving of the death penalty.

Oklahoma's botched lethal injection marks new front in battle over executions

We have also robbed the death penalty of its deterrent power by allowing death penalty cases to languish for years in the legal system, often based on irrational and irrelevant appeals.

While most Americans claim to believe that the death penalty should be supported, there is a wide disparity in how Americans of different states and regions think about the issue.

Furthermore, Christians should be outraged at the economic and racial injustice in how the death penalty is applied. While the law itself is not prejudiced, the application of the death penalty often is.

Opinion: End secrecy in lethal injections

There is very little chance that a wealthy white murderer will ever be executed. There is a far greater likelihood that a poor African-American murderer will face execution.

Why? Because the rich can afford massively expensive legal defense teams that can exhaust the ability of the prosecution to get a death penalty sentence.

This is an outrage, and no Christian can support such a disparity. As the Bible warns, the rich must not be able to buy justice on their own terms.

There is also the larger cultural context. We must recognize that our cultural loss of confidence in human dignity and the secularizing of human identity has made murder a less heinous crime in the minds of many Americans.

Most would not admit this lower moral evaluation of murder, but our legal system is evidence that this is certainly true.

We also face a frontal assault upon the death penalty that is driven by legal activists and others determined to bring legal execution to an end in America.

Controversy over an execution this week in Oklahoma will bring even more attention to this cause, but most Americans will be completely unaware that this tragedy was caused by the inability of prison authorities to gain access to drugs for lethal injection that would have prevented those complications.

Opponents of the death penalty have, by their legal and political action, accomplished what might seem at first to be impossible – they now demand action to correct a situation that they largely created.

Their intention is to make the death penalty so horrifying in the public mind that support for executions would disappear. They have attacked every form of execution as “cruel and unusual punishment,” even though the Constitution itself authorizes the death penalty.

It is a testament to moral insanity that they have successfully diverted attention from a murderer’s heinous crimes and instead put the death penalty on trial.

Should Christians support the death penalty today?

I believe that Christians should hope, pray and strive for a society in which the death penalty, rightly and rarely applied, would make moral sense.

This would be a society in which there is every protection for the rights of the accused, and every assurance that the social status of the murderer will not determine the sentence for the crime.

Christians should work to ensure that there can be no reasonable doubt that the accused is indeed guilty of the crime. We must pray for a society in which the motive behind capital punishment is justice, and not merely revenge.

We must work for a society that will honor every single human being at every point of development and of every race and ethnicity as made in God’s image.

We must hope for a society that will support and demand the execution of justice in order to protect the very existence of that society. We must pray for a society that rightly tempers justice with mercy.

Should Christians support the death penalty today? I believe that we must, but with the considerations detailed above.

At the same time, given the secularization of our culture and the moral confusion that this has brought, this issue is not so clear-cut as some might think.

I do believe that the death penalty, though supported by the majority of Americans, may not long survive in this cultural context.

Death penalty in the United States gradually declining

It is one thing to support the death penalty. It is another thing altogether to explain it, fix it, administer it and sustain it with justice.

We are about to find out if Americans have the determination to meet that challenge. Christians should take leadership to help our fellow citizens understand what is at stake.

God affirmed the death penalty for murder as he made his affirmation of human dignity clear to Noah. Our job is to make it clear to our neighbors.

R. Albert Mohler Jr. is president of  The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. The views expressed in this column belong to Mohler.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Bible • Christianity • Courts • Crime • Death • Discrimination • Ethics • Opinion • Violence

soundoff (2,706 Responses)
  1. Concert in an Egg

    Why are you here my son? What evil do you bring into my house monster? Are you here now to cling to my robes? Are you here now to weep before me? Do you beg forgiveness or do you seek company with the only heavenly being that knows your heart?

    May 1, 2014 at 2:38 pm |
    • Concert in an Egg

      It is past the time, purveyor of mold, have you something to share? What grotesque misrepresentation of man have you sniffed with your snotty beak?

      May 1, 2014 at 2:40 pm |
      • noahsdadtopher

        Dude ... have you been possessed by the fake HeavenSent?

        May 1, 2014 at 2:44 pm |
        • Concert in an Egg

          Nah, I am just bored. How are you today T?

          May 1, 2014 at 2:46 pm |
        • noahsdadtopher

          I'm bored, too. And could use a cold drink.

          May 1, 2014 at 3:06 pm |
        • samsstones

          Topher
          You have confessed to being a murderer on this blog. Why were you not executed or at least locked up for life?

          May 1, 2014 at 3:11 pm |
  2. Vic

    To me, this obvious problem is a clear indication, out of many, that there is "Ultimate Justice" beyond this lifetime and realm, that this short existence is only the tip of the iceberg.

    Early on:
    http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2014/05/01/why-christians-should-support-the-death-penalty/comment-page-1/#comment-3001323

    May 1, 2014 at 2:33 pm |
    • bostontola

      Vic,
      That is a good point. If you believe that eternal justice comes to all, why would you need to have man kill man even for crime? Let God sort it out later.

      May 1, 2014 at 2:39 pm |
      • Vic

        If we let what we clearly know to be murderers go, then there is no serious deterrent to anyone not commit murder, to the extent, let's say, for a pocket change, in this lifetime.

        May 1, 2014 at 2:52 pm |
        • Vic

          "..who we clearly know to be murderers.."

          May 1, 2014 at 2:54 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          "If we let what we clearly know to be murderers go"

          Are you saying your God has no way to deal with them himself?

          May 1, 2014 at 2:59 pm |
        • bostontola

          Who suggested to let murderers go? The issue is whether people kill other people convicted.

          May 1, 2014 at 3:13 pm |
      • Vic

        Meanwhile, the point is that there is a God.

        May 1, 2014 at 2:56 pm |
      • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

        "there is no serious deterrent to anyone not commit murder,"
        -------
        Vic, the sad truth is that there really *is* no serious deterrent to murder. With the punishments in place, murders happen. The death penalty does not prevent murders.

        Crimes of passion? – no (people don't think about consequences)
        Crimes of stupidity? – no (people don't think about consequences)
        Crimes of calculation? – no (someone who is deliberately prepared to risk a lifetime of imprisonment will risk execution)

        May 1, 2014 at 3:01 pm |
        • Vic

          Well, as we discussed it earlier, it depends on how you look at it.

          At any rate, that brings us back to the OP premise, this short existence is clearly an unfinished business.

          May 1, 2014 at 3:16 pm |
  3. bchev

    This is an intersting article. If you pull out everything about the Bible, and his just mind boggling-ly strange accusation that secularization of America is why the death penalty is falling out of favor; and the implication in that statement that if you don't believe in "God" you don't care about people or people getting killed (which is just indescribably stupid), I actually agree with a lot of what is said.

    For me it all boils down to this, there are people who commit crimes that are bad enough that there is no reason to leave them alive. Society gains nothing form their continued existence, and by the nature of their acts they have shown that they do not care about society. So expeditiously execute them and lets move on. I agree with the author and many of the commentors, that executing an innocent person, even 1, is unnaccaptable; but that ignores an important point. There are people who we know, without any question or doubt are guilty.

    Take Maj. Hasan for example. Not because of his background or who the victims were, but the simple facts. He killed 12 defensless people. There is no question that it was him that committed the acts. there is nothing that brings that into question. 1 person ended the lives of 12 others. Why let that 1 person live? What do we gain by paying for room and board? People talk about the cost and burden to the Courts of endless appeals. 1) I don't believe cases such as his should get appeals. The act wa a crime, there is no denying or disproving that he committed the act, he's guilty/ We're done here. 2) If you are going to allow frivolous appeals, you make the defendent, or whatever fund/supporters are backing them, pay for all fees associated. Judges and DA's are salaried Government employees, they get paid whether they are standing in the court room processing an appeal, or a new case, or sitting in their office doing research. Making the existing staf work on appeals does not carry any additional cost, it's just people doing their job. Charge courtroom useage fees to unquestionably guilty defendents if they have money to so the people and government at least get something out of it, let those who do not have money have a free one paid for those who do and move on.

    If you have anything less then that degree of certainty, then we shouldn't be considering the death penalty. But to say that cases that are that clearcut is false, and to eliminate it as a tool altogether instead of just greatly restricting its use, is a mistake.

    May 1, 2014 at 2:21 pm |
    • bchev

      Edit: But to say that THERE ARE NO cases that are that clearcut is false

      May 1, 2014 at 2:23 pm |
    • Alias

      One more person who wants to change the system.

      May 1, 2014 at 2:28 pm |
    • bostontola

      Pick any case you want. The fact is, dozens of death sentences have been overturned by technical means. That means there is a non zero error rate. What about the cases that didn't have DNA evidence to exonerate? The error rate there is the same. Any bar set will have errors.

      May 1, 2014 at 2:34 pm |
      • bchev

        bostontola,
        Not true. The bar has to be remarkably high, almost limited to public mass murders, but you have instances where whether or not the person commited the crime is not a question. Why should execution not be an option in those cases?

        May 1, 2014 at 2:40 pm |
        • bostontola

          I agree the bar is high. My statement is untrue only if you think the justice system is 100% correct. There is evidence that it is not.

          What error rate is acceptable to you?

          May 1, 2014 at 3:14 pm |
        • bchev

          bostontola,
          0%. But mind you, I am NOT supporting our current system. I believe that the death penaly SHOULD be part of a justice system, but I am not saying that we do it correctly now, or meet the burden of proof that we should.

          May 1, 2014 at 3:19 pm |
      • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

        "you have instances where whether or not the person commited the crime is not a question"

        Exactly when? For a guilty plea? There are people will take the fall for others – even if it means death.

        The legal standard is "beyond reasonable doubt". It is demonstrably insufficient. Too many people who did not commit the crimes for which they were convicted have been executed.

        May 1, 2014 at 2:55 pm |
        • bchev

          I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV,
          I'm not saying I agree with the current system or that there aren't currently mistakes and tricky scenarios. There are, and those should not be considered for the death penatly. But lets, for simplicity sake, stick to crimes commited in public, where who committed the act ISN'T a question. ANd yes, I know that more often than not there can be doubt, but that doesn't change the fact that sometimes there isn't. Is there compelling reason to let the person who did it, without question, live?

          May 1, 2014 at 3:02 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          What you propose is the idea behind our current system.

          It doesn't work well enough. Non-mandatory sentencing guidelines might give a judge room to make an informed choice most of the time. There will still be times when the system fails.

          May 1, 2014 at 3:51 pm |
        • bchev

          I'm not a GOPer
          "What you propose is the idea behind our current system."

          Not really, I actually disagree with much of the mentality of our judicial and penal systems, in that in many ways I consider them too lenient. Our system is supposed ot be designed around reahibilitation, and paying debt to society. I believe it is and should be punitive. Wrong actions are met with consequence, and individuals who are a persistent threat to society are removed from it. If there is even a hint of a question as to their guild then yes absolutely, keep them in prison to give the truth time to make its way to the surface. Society is still protected if they are guilty, and the person stands a chanec. But if there is no question if they committed the at, end them and remove them both as a threat and a burden. I do not agree with or believe in "not guilty by way of insanity or mental defect". If your mind is to broken to allow you to safely exist in society, then you are removed from it. If the way that we discover you are borken invovles the death of innocent people, you are removed permanantly. I'm fine with no mandatory or minimum sentences for non-violent offenders, even felonies, even some big felonies. But someone who commited a crime that harmed law abiding members of society should not be able to charm and talk their way out of a certain severity of punishment.

          May 1, 2014 at 4:01 pm |
  4. neverbeenhappieratheist

    So Christians, do you believe that people should be executed if they "assault ... the very image of God."?

    This author is saying that is the primary reason he supports the death penalty because man was made in "gods image" and killing another human is an assault on that image. I would just like to hear from any Christian posters here to get their opinion on what is esentially blasphemy laws.

    May 1, 2014 at 2:09 pm |
    • Russ

      @ neverbeen: as i posted earlier today...

      *******

      As a fellow conservative evangelical, i adamantly disagree with Mohler here.

      Most simply put: what does he do with Jesus himself?
      -falsely accused, wrongly executed
      -the death penalty was the ultimate travesty of justice
      -Jesus died to save others from such a death, even for those who *deserve* it (which now Mohler is advocating?)
      -the cross tells us that WE ALL deserve such a death, including Mohler

      yes, Paul makes allowance for the secular government – but is that the ultimate intention?
      or is that like Jesus saying of divorce "Moses gave you that concession because your hearts were hard"?

      to ask the question compassionately: isn't the economic cost of keeping someone incarcerated for life (instead of an execution) worth the *possibility* that they might repent? to Mohler I'd say: isn't that EXACTLY what you believe Christ did for you?

      bottom line: lock them away for life & hope that leads to repentance. you're buying them time – not to mention (as some very well publicized cases have demonstrated lately), you may find out you were WRONG & they did not commit the crime in the first place. and even if not – ask yourself: how did Christ act toward his betrayers & murderers?

      SUM: we evangelicals claim we are PRO-life. that should include AFTER birth.

      May 1, 2014 at 2:10 pm |
      • Theo Phileo

        Sir, just to get your thoughts on a couple of areas...

        In the Bible, harlots are commanded to go and sin no more but soldiers and policemen are not asked to resign from their service when they come to Christ, even though executions are a part of their work.

        When a society rejects capital punishment for even the most serious crimes, including murder, it comes under blood guiltiness from God. Genesis 4:10 – “The Lord said to Cain, ‘Where is Abel your brother?’ And he said, ‘I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?’ And He said, ‘What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to Me from the ground’ ”

        When a nation does not administer justice, it then eventually falls under God’s justice. Ezekiel 7:23-24 – Make a chain, for the land is filled with crimes of blood, and the city is full of violence. Therefore I will bring the Gentiles, and they will possess their houses; I will cause the pomp of the strong to cease, and their holy places shall be defiled.

        May 1, 2014 at 2:14 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          Who did God have carry out the execution of Cain?

          Oh, wait, i've read Genesis at least a dozen times so I know this one! The answer is, no one! That is right, the first murder in the bible saw Cain banished to another city where he could have a family and raise his own kids. In fact God directly commands that no one raise their hand against Cain.

          "13 Cain said to the Lord, “My punishment is more than I can bear. 14 Now that you’ve driven me away from the fertile land and I am hidden from your presence, I’m about to become a roving nomad on the earth, and anyone who finds me will kill me.” 15 The Lord said to him, “It won’t happen; anyone who kills Cain will be paid back seven times. The Lord put a sign on Cain so that no one who found him would assault him. 16 Cain left the Lord’s presence, and he settled down in the land of Nod, east of Eden." Genesis 4:13-16

          May 1, 2014 at 2:24 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          neverbeenhappieratheist,
          And did that take away the bloodguiltness? No.

          May 1, 2014 at 2:29 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          Your bible says God commanded society of that time to "reject capital punishment" or is that not what you took away from where your God apparently says "anyone who kills Cain will be paid back seven times."

          Your "blood guiltiness" is an invented construct that has absolutely zero weight.

          May 1, 2014 at 2:35 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          Actually, the fact that God spared Cain's life is proof that capital punishment is not necessary in every case. For a farmer like Cain, the punishment of being a wanderer was severe. Apparently, it was enough punishment for him. But when men's sins of "crimes of blood" grow more and more frequent without a form of punishment to stem the tide, it comes under bloodguiltness from God, and it will eventuall fall under God's judgment. (Ezekiel 7:23-24)

          May 1, 2014 at 2:37 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          And God has permitted the use of capital punishment in some cases as a severe punishment to deter evil.

          May 1, 2014 at 2:38 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          So what you are saying is that your God is not very consistant, one day he might pardon you for murder and other days he demands death for saying he doesn't exist. I'm just so glad your God never changes...

          May 1, 2014 at 2:51 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          "So what you are saying is that your God is not very consistant, one day he might pardon you for murder and other days he demands death for saying he doesn't exist. I'm just so glad your God never changes..."
          -------------–
          No, obviously, capital punishment is not NECESSARY in every case. God demands an accounting for sure, but capital punishment was given in order that man may reign in society's wicked nature. Capital punishment exists as a deterrant. God's nature is one that demands repentance, and that never changes.

          May 1, 2014 at 3:03 pm |
        • Russ

          @ Theo Phileo:

          1) your policemen example does not match the criteria here.

          the only time it is legal for a police officer to take a life is in self-defense (when lethal means are the only means available to save another life) – which is certainly "loving your neighbor as yourself." it something which happens as a last resort in a moment when there is no other recourse (a choice between two evils) & it is absolutely NOT premeditated.

          certainly you wouldn't claim that is the same as an incarcerated executions, right?

          2) your standards here are both too low and too high.

          a) too low: who deserves death?

          you want to selectively assign death to a chosen few sins. what does Rom.6:23 say? and who will execute such justice? the point of the cross is that we ALL deserve to be executed – every last one of us – by God's standard.

          b) too high: who can actually give ultimate justice? not you or me, but the Lord.
          we seek a temporal justice here – WHILE recognizing ultimate justice rests solely with the Lord (Rom.12:14-21 comes to mind).

          3) you said: "When a nation does not administer justice, it then eventually falls under God’s justice."

          a) your hermeneutics are unclear here. i see you arguing for the abrogation of ceremonial & judicial laws elsewhere (which ARE the calls to execution by human govt), but not the moral laws (which hold us accountable to God's law). how do you think the cross applies here? what sort of "justice" are we seeking?

          you quoted Gen.4:10 ("The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to Me from the ground..."), but not Heb.12:24 ("Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel...").

          you are quoting the OT a lot without engaging the cross as an answer to those calls for justice. why would you seek Jesus' grace in your own life and not in a commensurate form within government? yes, we can't just let criminals go as if the cross fixed it, but recognize that we are ALSO not claiming ultimate justice for them within our earthly justice system.

          b) the state bears the sword (earthly justice)

          i) the state does "bear the sword" for justice (Rom.13:1), but why take that as a tacit approval of executions? certainly the state is equally responsible for WRONGLY bearing the sword (Acts 5:29: "we must obey God, not men") – and considering our EVIDENT inability to do that without fail, why choose this avenue when we could simply incarcerate them permanently?

          yes, the economic cost is high: but isn't that the Gospel?

          ii) the state 'bore the sword' against Jesus. do you think Paul is affirming their actions there?

          frankly, we cannot give them ultimate justice (only God does that) & we have the ability to administer a temporal justice without killing them (life w/o parole) and risking killing a man who did not actually do the crime in question (which is a proven reality). how much is one innocent man's life worth? (don't you see how the Gospel is readily intertwined here?)

          SUM: most pointedly, i'd ask you:
          a) if the worst travesty of justice in history is at the heart of the Christian faith, do you then think God affirms the travesty of justice or is he condemning it?
          b) if the Good News is that God can redeem EVEN that evil (because that's how He seeks HIS JUSTICE, why wouldn't you want to seek that sort of redemption within our earthly judicial systems?

          May 1, 2014 at 3:42 pm |
      • Alias

        Exactly what crime was jesus convicted of?

        May 1, 2014 at 2:14 pm |
        • noahsdadtopher

          Blasphemy and claiming to be God.

          May 1, 2014 at 2:17 pm |
        • Alias

          Then according to their laws, he was guilty.
          So much for executing an innocent man.

          May 1, 2014 at 2:23 pm |
        • noahsdadtopher

          He was innocent because He IS God.

          May 1, 2014 at 2:24 pm |
        • kudlak

          noahsdadtopher
          Didn't the Romans have enough cause to convict him for being a rabble-rouser?

          Wouldn't claiming to be God not be blasphemous to devout Jews? Anyway, a Jew being a "son of God" didn't mean what gentiles later assumed it meant. David was considered a "son of God" too, right? It was more like an honorary degree, like how Colonel Sanders wasn't actually a military officer.

          May 1, 2014 at 2:29 pm |
        • Alias

          So your god broke the laws of man, and man killed god.
          That could get deeply philosophical.

          May 1, 2014 at 2:31 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          The Jews knew that He was claiming to be God when He referred to Himself as the Son of God. To say that meant that you "have the same nature" as God.

          John 10:30-39 – I and the Father are one. The Jews picked up stones again to stone Him. Jesus answered them, “I showed you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you stoning Me?” The Jews answered Him, “For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy; and because You, being a man, make Yourself out to be God.”

          May 1, 2014 at 2:32 pm |
        • noahsdadtopher

          kudlak

          "Didn't the Romans have enough cause to convict him for being a rabble-rouser?"

          Apparently not. Pilate wanted nothing to do with any of this. He even went so far as to claim Him innocent and "washed his hands" of it all. Besides that, Jesus "trial" was illegal according to Jewish law.

          "Wouldn't claiming to be God not be blasphemous to devout Jews?"

          It was blasphemous. The chief priest even tore his clothes ... a common demonstration. But the fact He was/is God meant He was innocent.

          "Anyway, a Jew being a "son of God" didn't mean what gentiles later assumed it meant. David was considered a "son of God" too, right?"

          You are a son of God of you are saved. But you might be confusing "son of God" to mean God's offspring. That's not what we are talking about. Jesus was not created. He was from everlasting to everlasting. God. "The Son" denotes His position in the trinity ... being submissive to the Father.

          May 1, 2014 at 2:43 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          Do keep in mind every written account of Jesus was not recorded for over twenty years after the supposed execution.

          Much like the ballad of John Henry that was written decades after the supposed incident of man versus machine on the railroad, historians doubt it ever happened and was likely just a fictional song to warn workers of working faster than the set pace or "stint". You sang the song slowly, you worked slowly, you guarded your life, or you died. Others claim John William Henry was a real worker who's accomplishments were embelished and grew into folklore over the decades of repeating the story, the real man getting lost in each re-telling.

          May 1, 2014 at 2:47 pm |
        • kudlak

          noahsdadtopher
          "Pilate wanted nothing to do with any of this."
          Read Josephus and determine whether this actually would have been in Pilate's character.

          "It was blasphemous."
          Exactly, and the claim that he actually was God still wouldn't make any sense within Judaism.

          No, the point is that Jews, including Jesus, would never have seen God as having any actual Son, where the pagan gentiles knew of demigods from those religions. It took hundreds of years to establish Jesus as God's actual son, and only to establish a standard version fit for official Roman sanction. The Romans had no problem with gods having offspring, but the Jews did.

          May 1, 2014 at 6:44 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          NOWHERE does the bible teach Jesus as an actual offspring of God

          May 2, 2014 at 2:02 am |
        • kudlak

          Theo Phileo
          If it were a blasphemy, then it sure wasn't obvious that he was God and the Jewish authorities would have been within their rights to execute him, right? If he actually thought of himself as God, wouldn't he have admitted that the good works came from him?

          May 1, 2014 at 6:50 pm |
      • bostontola

        Russ...we agree on something! This is a great day!

        May 1, 2014 at 2:15 pm |
        • Russ

          @ bostontola: yes. yes it is.

          May 1, 2014 at 2:34 pm |
        • Akira

          I agree with Russ's interpretation, also.

          May 1, 2014 at 2:59 pm |
      • neverbeenhappieratheist

        Unfortunately Russ, it would seem you are the exception and not the rule when it comes to "Pro-life" evangelicals. I applaud you for having a far more reasoned position. However you do avoid the real question I posed which pointed out the authors apparent support of blasphemy laws as he indicated that the reason he supports the death penalty is that we are made in his Gods image and thus killing another human is an assault on the image of his God.

        Would you or would you not supprt the death penalty for blaspheming against your God?

        May 1, 2014 at 2:18 pm |
        • Russ

          @ neverbeen: my response will be unabashedly based on my Christian faith. while i recognize that you do not share those beliefs, i hope you will follow the logic to understand why i take the stance that i do.

          the cross tells us two things simultaneously:
          1) we are worse off than we want to admit (we all deserve that death)
          2) we are much more loved than we ever dared hope (he was willing to take that punishment in our place)

          so, what that means practically:
          EVERY one of us deserves death: me, you, everyone (Rom.3:23; 6:23). blasphemy is one of MANY reasons we should be put to death according to the Scriptures. do we get the death we deserve? in Christ, God took the very punishment we had earned and gave us the reward (of a perfectly just life) that *only* he deserved (2 Cor.5:21). that's the Good News of Jesus – and we are called to take it to everyone – including other blasphemers (like ourselves).

          if we Christians believe Christ took the death we deserved (for our own life of blasphemy), how could we insist others die for the VERY SAME sins from which we were saved? moreover, if he died at great cost to himself to save us, what sort of hypocritical logic would it be to say "it just costs too much" to imprison people for life rather than execute them? the whole point of the imago Dei (image of God) argument is that humanity is the MOST VALUABLE thing on the planet. monetary costs are nothing in comparison to LIFE.

          are there earthly consequences for injustice (i.e., prison for life)? yes.
          does it require supporting the death penalty to affirm that the state "bears the sword" (Rom.13)? No! that's not the point of that passage – which is clearly about submission to the state, and – for Christians – must be held in tension with Acts 5:29 ("we must obey God, not men.").

          May 1, 2014 at 2:46 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          "blasphemy is one of MANY reasons we should be put to death according to the Scriptures."

          So your answer to my question is "Yes, you would support the death penalty for blasphemy".

          The fact that you couch your comment claiming Christ paid the death sentence we all deserve doesn't change your answer.

          May 1, 2014 at 2:57 pm |
        • Russ

          @ neverbeen:
          did you read my original entry above? your final question makes me think you did not.
          i'm arguing against the death penalty here.

          a) God alone has the authority to give & take life.
          b) God asserts the death penalty for any who sin – which is ALL of us (we have rendered ourselves condemned).
          c) the same God who *could* justly take all of our lives instead came & died in the place of any who would repent & believe in him. in other words, he offers mercy at great cost to Himself.

          so, "do i support the death penalty?"
          a) in God's case, it doesn't matter WHAT i think – he uniquely has the authority. HE can execute such justice at his prerogative.
          b) but for humanity, i think the cross makes it clear: we will kill people innocent of the crime in question (what is even ONE life worth?!) AND we will be killing while ourselves are guilty (ultimate hypocrisy).

          SUM: no, human govts should not exercise this authority (especially since there are other options available to them).
          for much lengthier thoughts, read my entries above (such as my response to Theo Phileo).

          May 1, 2014 at 3:56 pm |
  5. rogerthat2014

    It's absurd in this day and age to use the Bible as a moral guide. The next article will be t.itled: "why Christians should support slavery".

    May 1, 2014 at 2:03 pm |
    • bostontola

      10-4

      May 1, 2014 at 2:06 pm |
    • bostontola

      crickets?

      May 1, 2014 at 2:16 pm |
    • Theo Phileo

      That's as ridiculous as having an article t.itled "Why Darwinists should kill Aborigines."

      May 1, 2014 at 2:27 pm |
      • bostontola

        I agree, that's why the current article is ridiculous.

        May 1, 2014 at 2:36 pm |
  6. HeavenSent

    An eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth prideful atheists. The Lord sits in judgment and He alone. My left eye was missing but I found it in the litter box. Sinners will burn in hell and suck from the teat of their father who is satan.

    Amen.

    May 1, 2014 at 1:51 pm |
    • bostontola

      I'm coo coo for cocoa puffs.

      May 1, 2014 at 1:59 pm |
    • Theo Phileo

      Isn't that a quote from a Johnny Depp movie?

      May 1, 2014 at 1:59 pm |
    • rogerthat2014

      At least it wasn't your dentures.

      May 1, 2014 at 2:04 pm |
      • Akira

        Ew...lol.

        May 1, 2014 at 3:04 pm |
    • Alias

      If you take the 'eye for an eye ...' quote in context, what it is trying to say is no more than that.
      The correct message is to not seek revenge by harming other more than they harmed you.
      Strange you didn't know that.

      May 1, 2014 at 2:13 pm |
      • HeavenSent

        Carnal and prideful atheists like you Alias come on these articles to spew the lies of satan. Only He can judge and He is judging you right now. My camel-toe was itchy until I tried the Apricot scrub. Start your walk on the sand with Jesus in sandals and see the grains of heaven.

        Amen.

        May 1, 2014 at 2:32 pm |
  7. neverbeenhappieratheist

    "There is very little chance that a wealthy white murderer will ever be executed. There is a far greater likelihood that a poor African-American murderer will face execution."

    True.

    "Why? Because the rich can afford massively expensive legal defense teams that can exhaust the ability of the prosecution to get a death penalty sentence."

    True.

    "This is an outrage, and no Christian can support such a disparity. As the Bible warns, the rich must not be able to buy justice on their own terms."

    Okay, great, you described the American justice system as it stands and tell Christians they shouldn't support such an injust system. And your conclusion?

    "God affirmed the death penalty for murder as he made his affirmation of human dignity clear to Noah. Our job is to make it clear to our neighbors."

    So even though the system not fair by your own words, you still support the death penalty? Got it, i'll just add it to that giant list of Christian hypocrasy.

    May 1, 2014 at 1:41 pm |
    • Theo Phileo

      What Mohler is saying is that God commanded that man should do "X." But man has trouble doing "X." That's not an admonition about the command, but rather an admonition against man's execution of "X." So do we do away with the command, or work on how to better DO the command?

      May 1, 2014 at 1:45 pm |
      • neverbeenhappieratheist

        And your idea on how we go about fixing the system? Do we refuse the ability of the rich white elite to hire the fancy lawyers or do we hire the fancy lawyers for every accused regardless of color?

        If it is not 100% fixable then we should err on the side of caution which means we should shelve the death penalty in America and use our prisons only for those with life sentences, the rest should be on ankle monitors doing community service and attending reform schools. All non-violent crime should be punished with fines much like DUI or other driving infractions. Anyone currently incarcerated solely on a drug possesion charge should be immediately released.

        The system can be reformed but it will only happen when we actually understand how bad it is working now and building more and more for-profit prisons is not the way out.

        May 1, 2014 at 2:00 pm |
      • rebeccarich

        Was Jesus God? Because he did not command this. In fact, he explicitly commanded us NOT to do that, right? "You have heard it say, BUT...." (Matthew 5:38-48)

        Defend the death penalty if you want. Just don't call yourself a Christ follower and claim he endorses it.

        May 1, 2014 at 2:04 pm |
        • awanderingscot

          wrong. "those who live by the sword will die by the sword". in fact as Christians were are commanded to obey and support the authorities who carry out these acts as it is for the good of society and order according to the apostles. read your bible more.

          May 1, 2014 at 2:12 pm |
        • rebeccarich

          Actually, Jesus said that when telling his disciples NOT to use violent measures. It was in response to Peter, who cut off the soldier's ear. He said this right before undergoing the death penalty by unjust system. His own protest against human violence.

          May 1, 2014 at 2:17 pm |
        • Akira

          Mathew 26:52 is a direct call against the use of violence, scot.
          Perhaps you should read your>i> Bible more.

          May 1, 2014 at 3:16 pm |
        • Akira

          HTML failure detected.

          May 1, 2014 at 3:19 pm |
        • new-man

          rebeccarich,
          you are correct.
          I don't know why believers who are only invited into the New Covenant, choose to go and sit under the Old Covenant which has absolutely nothing to do with them!
          "If you're a gentile, you were never even invited to the Law. You're under 1 covenant and 1 covenant only! It's the New Covenant of Love – Love other's even as I have loved you, OR NOTHING at all!"

          May 1, 2014 at 4:53 pm |
      • Theo Phileo

        "And your idea on how we go about fixing the system?"
        ---------------------
        I dunno. I never claimed to know. I'm just another one in the croud that agrees that it's not working. The law and the justice system built up around it are not my area of expertise. And wherever I approve of the death penalty, it is only for cases where "blood was found on ther hands" kind of cases, and even then, it should be a last resort...

        May 1, 2014 at 2:06 pm |
      • kudlak

        Theo
        "That's not an admonition about the command, but rather an admonition against man's execution of "X."

        So, we are to mindlessly obey commands, like some robot?

        May 1, 2014 at 2:15 pm |
        • Theo Phileo

          "So, we are to mindlessly obey commands, like some robot?"
          ---------------
          It's not blind obedience. It is obeying because we know that the one who gave that command has our best interests at heart. Would you rather have your children listen to you when you say "don't cross the street" or would you rather them try it out and learn from experience?

          It's us who messed up the execution of the command. It's like how the Jews added HUNDREDS of laws to God's basic 10 Commandments, and thereby overcomplicated what God intended to be obvious.

          May 1, 2014 at 2:23 pm |
        • kudlak

          Theo Phileo
          "It is obeying because we know that the one who gave that command has our best interests at heart."
          That's not even close to being apparent. It's not even close to being apparent that God exists. Besides, I thought that "none may know the mind of God", and all that? If God is so mysterious, how can you know that he has your best interests at heart?

          There are some things that I actually would rather my child learn from their own experience. Just because I'm too timid, or not talented enough to make something work doesn't mean that my child isn't able to. You can't dictate everything for children. Besides, isn't the goal of good parentage that they grow up from their experiences and get to decide things for themselves as independent adults? When will your God allow you to grow up and make decisions for yourself?

          The basic 10 Commandments don't say much about how the Jews were to establish themselves as "a people apart", which was one of the basic themes of the OT.

          May 1, 2014 at 6:37 pm |
  8. G to the T

    I go back and forth on this one. On the one hand I find the idea of someone being convicted of multiple life sentances with no chance of parole ridiculous, on the other know that no system will ever be perfect enough to prevent mistakes in assignment of guilt. At this time, both are very expensive propositions but I also know the the costs associated with death penalty are mostly due to lengthy appeals processes.

    Either way, once you convict someone of life with no chance of parole, you have essentially already killed them. It's just a matter of how long you take to do it.

    May 1, 2014 at 1:34 pm |
    • bostontola

      Except if new evidence and/or techniques come in the future that exonerate.

      May 1, 2014 at 1:36 pm |
      • G to the T

        True – there is always going to be mistakes, that's part of why I go back and forth.

        I can see the point about life being better for the prisoner than death, but is it better for the society as a whole? As said before our system is intended to protect us from people who would violate our own liberties. Is isolation really a viable long term option? Is it just for a society to have to support such a person for the rest of their life? These are questions I've yet to answer for myself to make a sure judgement either way.

        May 1, 2014 at 2:40 pm |
    • kudlak

      And you're not even close to killing them. Many people actually choose to live in near isolation. I'm sure that a few lifers even learn to become comfortable in prison.

      May 1, 2014 at 2:20 pm |
  9. noahsdadtopher

    Very thought-provoking, Dr. Mohler.

    May 1, 2014 at 1:33 pm |
    • bostontola

      Topher,
      This piece is provoking.

      Where do you stand? Do you agree with the death penalty by man?

      May 1, 2014 at 1:35 pm |
      • noahsdadtopher

        I'm in favor of the death penalty, but we have to be certain. I don't recall this from Dr. Mohler's article, and I could be completely wrong about this, but I think the Bible requires three witnesses to take the punishment to this extreme.

        May 1, 2014 at 1:43 pm |
        • bostontola

          What if those 3 witnesses owe the accused money, or had a bone to pick? What if the judge/jury didn't know that?

          May 1, 2014 at 1:46 pm |
        • noahsdadtopher

          Then the police need to do their jobs better.

          May 1, 2014 at 1:48 pm |
        • Alias

          This is no time to be living inyour fantasy world where some all knowing god will make things right.
          We cannot be sure. That is an unavoidable problem.
          Are you willing to support a system that will execute innocent people?

          May 1, 2014 at 1:48 pm |
        • bostontola

          Topher,
          So because cops are not competent, a person should die?

          May 1, 2014 at 1:50 pm |
        • noahsdadtopher

          But your standard we'd have to throw out the entire criminal justice system. We can't ever be sure? Under your worldview, I know that's true, but ...

          May 1, 2014 at 1:50 pm |
        • noahsdadtopher

          Again, we'd have to be SURE.

          May 1, 2014 at 1:51 pm |
        • bostontola

          But we aren't SURE. What error rate is acceptable to you?

          May 1, 2014 at 2:00 pm |
        • noahsdadtopher

          To say we are never sure is ridiculous.

          May 1, 2014 at 2:10 pm |
        • Alias

          topher
          Do you want to change the system so only people we know are guilty get executed, or do you support the system as it is?

          May 1, 2014 at 2:19 pm |
        • bostontola

          Topher,
          If we could be sure I'd support the death penalty. The conditions required to be absolutely sure are so rare that there is no practical reason to have the death penalty. People get framed, prosecutors have unpure motivations, there is prejudice, etc.

          May 1, 2014 at 2:20 pm |
        • noahsdadtopher

          Alias

          "Do you want to change the system so only people we know are guilty get executed, or do you support the system as it is?"

          I think you have to be sure, and, like Dr. Mohler stated, in extremely rare cases. If that's changing the current system, I say yes.

          May 1, 2014 at 2:26 pm |
        • samsstones

          Topher
          You have stated that you have broken all ten commandments. Why did they not snuff you out and spare us all your fundie BS?

          May 1, 2014 at 2:50 pm |
    • Concert in an Egg

      Hey T, ready to save some souls today?

      I have taken the rather unpopular position in favor of the death penalty. How about you?

      May 1, 2014 at 1:39 pm |
    • Alias

      My only thought was "Why should we live like bronze age sheep herders?"
      The bible has become irrelevant to these types of questions.

      May 1, 2014 at 1:40 pm |
  10. Alias

    Actually the correct question should have been, "Should christians support excutions within our current system".
    Several people would support the death penalty if they were sure the accused was guilty. Unfortunately, our system says guilty or innocent. Ther is no Very guilty or Probably guilty.
    In biblical times imprisonment was not a viable option. That does not mean we should accept their system today.

    Given the current system, I am against the death penalty. It is too expensive and burdomson on the courts and therefore too expensive to the society that has to support/pay for it.
    I understand wanting justice, but the purpose of the system is NOT revenge. The criminal justice system exists to protect sciety from dangerous individuals. We can do that without the death penalty.

    May 1, 2014 at 1:32 pm |
    • bostontola

      I would support the death penalty if there were certainty. There isn't and there won't be any time soon.

      May 1, 2014 at 1:33 pm |
      • Alias

        Confusion will arise on this blog because sometimes you can be very very very sure of guilt. The problems arise when having to deal with uncertainty.

        May 1, 2014 at 1:42 pm |
        • bostontola

          I have a problem with high confidence when humans are very clever at framing.

          May 1, 2014 at 1:48 pm |
  11. awanderingscot

    igaftr – i'll throw your daddy into a bonfire and have a toast when you get thrown in after him.

    May 1, 2014 at 1:29 pm |
    • Akira

      You're quite the misanthrope, aren't you, Rev Phelps?

      May 1, 2014 at 1:31 pm |
    • bostontola

      Whoa. Where does that come from?

      May 1, 2014 at 1:32 pm |
    • igaftr

      Seriously...what exactly is wrong with you?

      May 1, 2014 at 1:32 pm |
      • Akira

        I find it curious that his quote that accompanies his empty blog is
        "persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed—"

        May 1, 2014 at 1:59 pm |
    • midwest rail

      Won't the bonfire burn the toast ?

      May 1, 2014 at 1:32 pm |
  12. Lucifer's Evil Twin

    So ya
    Thought ya
    Might like to
    Go to the show.
    To feel that warm thrill of confusion,
    That space cadet glow.
    I've got some bad news for you sunshine,
    Pink isn't well, he stayed back at the hotel
    And they sent us along as a surrogate band
    We're gonna find out where you folks really stand.

    Are there any queers in the theater tonight?
    Get them up against the wall!
    There's one in the spotlight, he don't look right to me,
    Get him up against the wall!
    That one looks Jewish!
    And that one's a coon!
    Who let all of this riff-raff into the room?
    There's one smoking a joint,
    And another with spots!
    If I had my way,
    I'd have all of you shot!

    May 1, 2014 at 1:26 pm |
  13. bostontola

    Fact 1: The justice system is imperfect. DNA evidence has proved that some people have been convicted and sentenced to death that were not guilty.

    What is an acceptable error rate for allowing the state to put a not guilty person to death? I personally find no error rate acceptable.

    Fact 2: The bible prescribes the death penalty.

    The error rate in biblical times up to recently must have been much higher than it is now.

    Conclusion: The death penalty in the bible is immoral.

    You can add that to it's condoning of slavery, subjugation of women, oppression of people that commit "sins" that have no impact on others, etc.

    May 1, 2014 at 1:16 pm |
    • Concert in an Egg

      I would submit that life in prison is the worst punishment between death and prison. I just don't want to pay for it. Kill the bastards.

      May 1, 2014 at 1:17 pm |
      • bostontola

        What about Fact 1?

        May 1, 2014 at 1:19 pm |
        • Concert in an Egg

          Fact 1 describes a different method of finding truth after the fact. It is not new, just different.

          May 1, 2014 at 1:26 pm |
        • bostontola

          No. Fact 1 says our process of identifying the guilty party makes errors. We sentence people that are not guilty to die.

          What error rate is acceptable to you? 1%? 0.1%?

          May 1, 2014 at 1:30 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          It comes down to money. No one wants to spend $60,000 a year housing a criminal who we know commited murder and is not fit for society. However, most people don't want to indiscriminately execute criminals because the system can make no guarantees of their guilt. So it ends up being a compramise of lengthy prison stays for death row inmates as their appeal process plays out while the tax payer foots the bill. I believe there are the two sides now where one says that it shouldn't be about the money and we should pay whatever it costs to make sure we don't execute innocent people. The other side believes there is an acceptable margin of error where the cost of waiting to execute is too high and they would rather save the money than be extra sure of guilt.

          May 1, 2014 at 1:34 pm |
        • bostontola

          Same question HappyAtheist, what error rate is acceptable to you?

          May 1, 2014 at 1:39 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          As I av stated, I would support a execution system if it could guarantee 100% guilt. Since I do not think that will ever happen I do not supprt the death penalty as it stands. I would support no less than a 0% error rate.

          May 1, 2014 at 1:43 pm |
        • bostontola

          I agree.

          May 1, 2014 at 1:48 pm |
    • midwest rail

      It is a fact that pursuing a capital conviction is far more expensive than life imprisonment.

      May 1, 2014 at 1:22 pm |
      • Akira

        This is totally true.

        May 1, 2014 at 1:27 pm |
      • bostontola

        True mr, I'm not thinking about the dollar cost though. I find it interesting that our Christian friends who tout their superior morality, defend an immoral practice.

        May 1, 2014 at 1:28 pm |
  14. Andy

    Agreed!The trillion dollar question is: who's making sure that those convicted in a court of law are indeed guilty?
    What if a wrongfully convicted person is put to death?

    May 1, 2014 at 1:14 pm |
    • Concert in an Egg

      The jury.

      May 1, 2014 at 1:18 pm |
    • Vic

      That's what we have been discussing earlier.

      I believe the emphasis shall be on the unequivocalness evidence of murder, even if it requires a total overhaul, to prevent a wrongful conviction.

      May 1, 2014 at 1:23 pm |
      • Vic

        "..unequivocalness of the evidence of murder.."

        May 1, 2014 at 1:27 pm |
  15. rebeccarich

    It's interesting that you don't mention Jesus once in this. The sermon on the mount should be enough to convince us that all of these situations you referenced have changed. But if that isn't, Jesus' reaction to Peter when he cut off the solider's ear should be enough. Or the fact that he, himself, was a victim of the death penalty. Our job is to make this radical grace clear to our neighbors.

    May 1, 2014 at 1:10 pm |
    • Concert in an Egg

      Your job is to tell somebody who cares.

      May 1, 2014 at 1:11 pm |
  16. I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

    "While the death penalty is allowed and even mandated in some cases, the Bible also reveals that not all who are guilty of murder and complicity in murder are executed."

    So, Dr. Mohler, which murderers should be executed, according to Biblical 'guidelines'?

    May 1, 2014 at 12:56 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Or should this be done the way the legal system works in the US today – based on appearances.

      Appearances being skin color.

      May 1, 2014 at 12:59 pm |
    • neverbeenhappieratheist

      I'm pretty sure the author would want to pardon Scott Roeder...

      May 1, 2014 at 1:05 pm |
      • tallulah131

        I think it's on the list of exclusions for that "thou shalt not kill" commandment - you know, that list that wasn't actually in the bible but is passed down in the church. Thou shalt not kill, unless you're killing liberals, minorities, non-christians...

        May 1, 2014 at 1:11 pm |
        • Akira

          And abortion clinic doctors...

          That's the precise explanation when talking about abortion...only God has that privilege.

          May 1, 2014 at 1:48 pm |
  17. Concert in an Egg

    The death penalty is not handed down by the Republicans or big government. It is decided by a jury.

    Government then screws it up by NOT killing the sick bastards swiftly and without remorse.

    I believe as soon as the legal proceedings are 100% complete, if the verdict is death, then see that it is done that very day. I am tired of supporting these sickos in prison.

    May 1, 2014 at 12:51 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      I'd have a hard time arguing with you if those 100% completed legal proceedings were 100% accurate, 100% of the time.

      Unfortunately, they are not.

      May 1, 2014 at 12:58 pm |
    • SeaVik

      Egg, you are over-simplifying a highly complex issue. It is rare that there is a murder case is comletely black and white.

      May 1, 2014 at 1:02 pm |
    • neverbeenhappieratheist

      Here is the problem:

      There have been 316 post-conviction DNA exonerations in the United States.

      • The first DNA exoneration took place in 1989. Exonerations have been won in 36 states; since 2000, there have been 249 exonerations.

      • 18 of the 316 people exonerated through DNA served time on death row. Another 16 were charged with capital crimes but not sentenced to death.

      • The average length of time served by exonerees is 13.5 years. The total number of years served is approximately 4,232.

      • The average age of exonerees at the time of their wrongful convictions was 27.

      Races of the 316 exonerees:

      198 African Americans
      94 Caucasians
      22 Latinos
      2 Asian American

      The fact is there are virtually no 100% convictions. We are getting better at being more certain now that DNA is being used to convict as well as exonerate, but in cases with no DNA evidence how could any jury be 100% certain they have the right guy? There is an old saying, better to let 9 guilty men go free than to execute 1 innocent man. Do we really want to take that chance when we have so many cases already showing how flawed our legal system is?

      May 1, 2014 at 1:02 pm |
    • tallulah131

      I have long supported the death penalty, but it has become increasingly difficult to defend as DNA evidence turns over conviction after conviction.

      May 1, 2014 at 1:03 pm |
      • Concert in an Egg

        I am still in favor of a swift action death penalty. We can fix the problems with the system. What, are we quitters?

        May 1, 2014 at 1:14 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          I would also be for a swift death penalty if we could guarantee 100% accuracy in convictions. I do not believe we will ever get anywhere close to 100% because the system currently relies on humans which are as we all know, very fallible. Not only are we fallible but we are also vulnerable. Vulnerable to pressure applied by nefarius individuals who may threaten our families if as a jurer were to convict a guilty party. We will never have a perfect system so the best we can dois be as accurate as possible, attempt to reform the penal system into a reform system and purely a method of revenge and pain where first offenders are often turned into hardened criminals. The system is just too broken to support it in its attempts to execute people we can't be sure are guilty. If we do then we are just as guilty of murdering an innocent as the callous criminal we believe we are stopping.

          May 1, 2014 at 1:25 pm |
        • Concert in an Egg

          Locking them in cells is no better, if they are innocent.

          May 1, 2014 at 1:28 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          reform system "instead of" purely a method of revenge...

          May 1, 2014 at 1:26 pm |
        • neverbeenhappieratheist

          "Locking them in cells is no better, if they are innocent."

          I agree to a point, but locked in a cell is a curable condition, dead is not.

          May 1, 2014 at 2:05 pm |
        • HeavenSent

          I disagree, for some it might be "curable" for others it makes them hard and bitter as it would most people in my opinion.

          May 1, 2014 at 2:27 pm |
        • Akira

          If they're locked in cells but later exonerated, they are at least alive. Bitter, perhaps, but alive. They can get the appropriate therapy they may need. They can do that because they're alive.

          If they are dead and exonerated, they are dead.

          May 1, 2014 at 2:56 pm |
        • Concert in an Egg

          I for one can't stand having nothing to do. I would rather be dead than in a cell. I will literally go insane. (which might not be all bad I guess.)

          May 1, 2014 at 3:03 pm |
        • Akira

          That would be your choice, then.

          May 1, 2014 at 3:11 pm |
    • crittermom2

      Concert, the problem with "as soon as the legal proceedings are 100% complete ..." is that the full legal proceedings take a LONG time. If you want to be sure that the verdict hasn't been messed up, you HAVE to allow time for appeals. I assume you would not want to take short cuts and risk executing a person who is later proven not guilty?

      May 1, 2014 at 1:29 pm |
  18. Akira

    I would like to ask Mohler if he considers it a sin against God if a Christian doesn't believe in the death penalty.

    May 1, 2014 at 12:49 pm |
  19. neverbeenhappieratheist

    Apparently this author would also support executions of blasphemers as that is also "an assault" on "the very image of God" and thus is deserving of execution.

    Fortunately I live in America and not Iran.

    May 1, 2014 at 12:48 pm |
  20. neverbeenhappieratheist

    "The death penalty was explicitly grounded in the fact that God made every individual human being in his own image, and thus an act of intentional murder is an assault upon human dignity and the very image of God."

    No, the death penalty was explicitly grounded by humans who understood that the indiscriminate killing of other humans is a subjectively bad thing for humanity. Tens of thousands of years after it was already being used it was recorded in the code of hamurabi and then later in the bible. It has nothing to do with "an assault upon human dignity and the very image of God."

    May 1, 2014 at 12:43 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.