Current Events - Death Penalty


16/03/2006
I am a Catholic. I just want to ask one question about the death penalty and God being the final judge and the 5th commandment about “thou shalt not kill.” I just wanted to know your feelings about that.

How does the death penalty fit in with the Commandment to not kill? Well, the commandment to not kill is a commandment about murder. It’s a commandment about deliberately taking somebody’s life because you want to get rid of them because of anger, because of hatred, because they have wronged you in some way and you want them out of this world and you’ve taken matters and judgment in your own hands.

But when we have a justice system and is clearly understood by the citizens that are in that society and they know what the ramifications are and they know what the consequences of their actions are and they get the death penalty, they knew it in advance, they did it premeditated and this was not an accident and if they’re truly guilty and they’re found guilty in the court of law and they’re given the time to be found guilty and proven that they are guilty without reasonable doubt, then it should be executed. And it is not murder, it is not killing; it is justice.

And in America, we need justice to protect the innocent. But certainly, we need to preach the gospel to them first and give them an opportunity to be saved and then execute justice when it’s needed and when it’s appropriate. It’s not appropriate in every case. But in many cases it is because we’re protecting the innocent. Just like going to war and protecting the innocent by fighting for ht protection and defense of our country. Do we have to kill people? Yes, but God did it in the Bible to protect His people. And He will do it again to protect His people if He had to.

I know there are two sides to it. I am not saying that in every case that the death penalty is appropriate, but it is in many cases. And it doesn’t mean we should take vengeance. It’s not for vengeance. It’s for protection and justice, not vengeance to get back at somebody because we’re mad and we think it will heal us by getting rid of them. No, that’s not the reason for the death penalty. It’s to protect the innocent.


Current Events - Death Penalty


16/03/2006
I consider myself to be a good Christian. But, I struggle with the death penalty because I also believe in the death penalty. I am wondering if it is possible to be a Christian and still believe in the death penalty.

That’s a great question. Absolutely it is possible. It is possible to be a good Christian and believe in the death penalty. It is possible to be a good Christian and not believe in the death penalty. It doesn’t mean it determines whether you are a Christian or not or whether you can serve God or not. Taking justice and law into our own hands is something hat we just can’t do. We vote. We pray for those in authority, but in the same way, our job as Christians is to save people from spiritual death and to win them to the Lord Jesus Christ. Whether they are found guilty and put through the death penalty legally, that doesn’t need to be our responsibility. Our responsibility is to see them get saved and come to the Lord Jesus Christ.

So, the answer to your question simply is by all means you can be a Christian and believe in the death penalty. They are separate issues. Do I find that many Christians believe in the death penalty? Yes, a lot of Christians do because they want justice. They want the innocent to be protected. That really is the key, we want the innocent to be protected, the guilty are not our responsibility to give them all of the freedoms and all the rights that people who are innocent have. Our justice system should be protecting the innocent, not be protecting the guilty. We should be prosecuting the guilty to the full extent of the law and extend mercy only when there are circumstances that require mercy. We extend mercury spiritually by getting into those prisons, winning those men and women to the Lord and then letting justice take its course.