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Religious and moral values tell us that killing is wrong. Thou shall not kill. To me, the death penalty is inhumane. Killing people makes us like the murderers that most of us despise. No imperfect system should have the right to decide who lives and who dies. The government is made up of imperfect humans, who make mistakes. The only person that should be able to take life, is god.
Anyone can change and be rehabilitated. We live in troubling times and the easiest path would be to get rid of criminals altogether but imagine a world where we can change lives instead of taking them. You cannot introduce new ideas into someone’s head by chopping it off.
The death penalty is cruel and unusual punishment. I read that In April 2005, in (The Lancet) a team of medical researchers found flaws in how lethal injections were being given, which caused extreme suffering to the person being executed. The report found “that in 43 of the 49 executed prisoners studied the anesthetic administered during lethal injection was lower than required for surgery. In 43 percent of cases, drug levels were consistent with awareness.”
Here is an article I read on botched executions. “On December 13, 2006, a man named Angel Nieves Diaz was the victim of a botched execution so terrible that it led Florida’s Republican Governor and death penalty enthusiast Jeb Bush to issue an executive order halting executions in the state. Technicians wrongly inserted the needles carrying the poisons that were to kill Diaz. The chemicals poured into his soft tissues instead of his veins. This left Diaz struggling and mouthing words in pain for over 34 minutes, when a second set of needles were inserted. The county medical examiner found 12-inch chemical burns inside both of his arms after the execution”. I also watched a video at home of a prisoner with a botched execution and it was horrific to watch, and it actually brought tears to my eyes.
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Death Penalty From the Point of Religion Essay
Even though several governments are still currently practicing death penalties, globally it is viewed as an abuse of human rights. It is also evident that death sentence is not in any way correlated with stoppage of murder.
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This implies that, the cases of murder have continued to increase in a very alarming rate even in those countries where death penalties are constantly applied. A very typical example is Iran where death penalties are so frequent even amongst juvenile offenders and yet the capital offences are common events in the country.
It is also very true that the real healing con not be fully granted by mere cruel killing of the offenders. This is because the key motive of undertaking death penalty is basically revenge which is not an aspect of healing. The true healing is only realized through repentance and forgiveness and not through acts of revenge.
The methods on which the killing of the alleged offender is undertaken are inhuman and ungodly and all government should undertake moratorium on the application of death penalties. A very good example is the lethal injection method which is practiced in United States of America. This method has proven beyond reasonable doubts that there is evidence of cruel and lengthy death in its usage.
This is a big mockery to human rights and dignity of human life. In this case we are going to look at various reasons against the death penalty practice. The views of various religious groups will also be visited (Stephen, 2009, p. 1). Finally the enormous contributions of international organizations in fight against the practice of death penalties by various governments globally will also be seen.
There are various reasons against the death penalty practices. One among these reasons is the mere fact that the costs of the death penalty are too huge. This is because of the sensitivity and weight which death sentence carries.
Thus this calls for adequate lengthy procedures of law to be followed which are too costly from the time of arrest to the point of execution. These costs are compared to an alternative form of administering justice which is life imprisonment. It is a documented fact that administering life sentence is far much cheaper compared to death penalty.
Thus, this has led to public outcry to replace death penalty with life sentence with no possibility of the victims being granted parole. Secondly, the mentorship services offered by inmates on life sentence who could have otherwise been hanged are very vital.
This has been quite evident in the correctional institutes commonly known as prisons. Most of these inmates who could have been removed from death rows to life sentence are quite instrumental in mentorship especially after undergoing spiritual re-formation. These inmates usually involve themselves with helping the young men and women to undergo a successful process of rehabilitation.
This mentorship services are usually most effective if the correctional institutions are undertaking vital programs such as drug treatment, education programs, spiritual and moral programs. Thus, life imprisonment leads to positive utilisation of the inmates who could have be killed under the practice of death penalty.
The other reasons may also include the observance of the logical ethics of life .in this case every person has a basic right which is right to life. This basic right must be universal to all people.
Also it should be noted that the right to life should be treated sacred as much as possible. The basic right to life should not be subject to forfeiture. Secondly, the impacts of the death penalty are too severe on the lives of the victims’ families and close kinsmen and on the settlement of the case. It is also evident that death penalty only continues the cycle of violence by killing another person.
The truth of the matter is that the needs of the affected family cannot be adequately addressed to the errors of judicially. Thirdly, there is sufficient and adequate evidence that the courts have continued to rely on the discretion of the judges. Thus, such decisions from some judges are biased. This is because the alleged person may emerge to be innocent after through scrutiny of the evidence.
There are several cases where by after undertaking DNA evidences many people have been found to have faced death penalty innocently. Thus, it is argued that it is far much better to acquit thousands of people on life sentence than to kill an innocent person due of these judges can be biased due to personal interests vested on specific cases. It is also true that some people are unfairly in prison.
Thus, implementing death penalty on such unfair grounds will mean gross abuse of human rights and disrespect to human dignity and sanctity of human life. It is also feared that several governments have continued to use death penalty to silence their opponents. This is evident in Iraq whereby political rivals have been subjected to death penalty by the government of the day.
The list of reasons why we should totally abolish the death penalty in all countries globally is endless. First, it is a proven evidence that death sentence does not stop the perpetuation of crime. This is clearly seen in Iran where death penalties are frequently administered but no impact is felt on crime reduction.
Thus, an alternative method is highly effective and recommended. This is because an alternative method such as life imprisonment can create an opportunity of rehabilitation. In this case the inmates who are on life sentence can offer mentorship to other inmates.
This makes people to co-exist with others well when out of prison for fear of going back in prison for good. Thus, the cases of crime will definitely go down due to successful rehabilitation of inmates. Secondly, the methods of execution are wild. For example the lethal injection method is proven to amount to cruel and delayed death which is inhuman (Browne, 2002, p. 1).
The practice of death penalty is unbiblical and immoral. Even though some people may try to justify death penalty from scriptures in the Old Testament it still remains unbiblical. This is because it is a common knowledge from the teachings of Jesus Christ that everybody is given a chance to understand the value attached to human life. Thus, need to preserve and respect life under all situations.
In Christianity, several affiliate religious groups have varying opinions on the issue of death penalty. Despite all this, it is very clear from the teachings of Jesus Christ in the New Testament that human life must be respected. This is seen when Jesus confronted the people who wanted to stone the adulterous women.
Also the action of Jesus in forgiving the thief whom he was crucified with on the cross clearly shows that shows Christianity does not condone death penalty. The Roman Catholic Church has a very controversial opinion as it regards to death penalty.
This church strongly believes that the Jesus’ teachings on doctrine of peace relates only to personal ethics. The Roman Catholic Church believes that the civil government has a duty to punish the crimes perpetuated by any person in the best way it opts. This is contrary to the commandment which stipulates that one should not kill another person or help in the deliberate termination of human life (Robinson, 2010, p. 1).
In the Buddhism religion it is very clear that death penalty is condemned. This is well demonstrated by chapter ten on the dhammapada. It is shown that everyone fears suffering, punishment and above all everyone has extreme fear for death. This chapter goes ahead and states that one should not kill or cause death of another person.
The love for life is highly emphasized in this chapter. Also the first five precepts of Buddhism teach their own followers the need to abstain from deliberate attempt on destruction of life. The chapter twenty six of the dhammapada goes ahead and declares a person who is abrahimin. It says that abrahimin is a person who has dropped weapons and condemned violence against all human beings. This emphasizes the need for not killing or helping to kill under all circumstances.
It is now clear that majority of religious group are built on foundations which strongly condemn death penalty. An exception is Islam which advocate for death penalty most especially on cases of adultery. But this practice is drastically losing popularity amongst Muslim community because it is unfairly administered (Brandon, 2009, p. 37). Evidence shows that it is only women who are affected by adultery in which they are mercilessly stoned to death in front of large crowd.
The international organisations have continued in their efforts to get rid of death penalty. For example the United Nations has established various resolutions in its assembly in view of establishing moratorium. The moratorium on the usage of death penalty by various governments is aimed at stopping the death sentence. The European Union has put some entry conditions on its members on issues of the death penalty. Thus, the countries who are members of European Union are not expected to practice death penalty.
The miscarriage of justice has been evident in the process of implementing the death penalty. In this case several innocent people have been put to a miserable end by capital punishment. The death penalty is noted to have completely been administered unfairly upon the disadvantaged groups in the society. It is a common argument that death penalty falls on those without good lawyers to represent them.
This evidently puts the marginalised groups to be victims of this death sentences. Examples of these groups of people include the poor, mentally challenged, illiterate and religious minorities. It is for this grave concern that all governments should abolish death penalty. Also, this calls for an alternative method of administering justice. The life imprisonment is highly preferred under these circumstances.
This is for the reason of preserving the divine dignity of human life and also at the same time to punish the offenders accordingly. In this case we have addressed reasons against death penalty. The various views from religious groups and international organisations pertaining death penalty have also been discussed.
Brandon, C. (2009). The Electric Chair: An Unnatural American History . California. Wadsworth Publishers.
Browne, A. (2002). Death penalty abolished on all British territory . Web.
Robinson, B. (2010). Capital Punishment: All viewpoints on the death penalty . Web.
Stephen, M. (2009). History of UK Capital Punishment . Web.
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Capital punishment essay
‘Christians would agree with Capital Punishment’
Do You agree?
Murder is a crime whether you look at the Bible - Thou shalt not kill The Sixth Commandment - or at a book of English law - Murder: an indictable crime punishable in a court of law. Since the early 1800,s, most executions have resulted from convictions for murder. The death penalty has also been imposed for other serious crimes such as armed robbery, kidnapping rape and treason. The State of Florida, America supports capital punishment and carries it out by electric chair execution.
There are advantages to Capital Punishment and the threat of the death penalty. It is a deterrent and a clear warning that says, if you commit this crime and take a person's life your life will also be taken from you. This is echoed in Christian teachings from the Old Testament Exodus 21:24 - "An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth" and in the book of Genesis, which states ‘whoever sheds the blood of a man, by man shall his blood be shed; for God made man his own image. But this is not forgiving or promoting peace, which is what Jesus taught and it is he, above all others that Christianity is all about. Another thing that Jesus taught was to 'love your neighbour as yourself' and therefore protect him, as you would want to be protected. If protecting another means removing a murderer from society permanently then it cannot be wrong to do so. But then there is the question of the murderer's right to protection and if every man is your neighbour then the murderer is as-well and therefore you cannot hurt him because you would not want to be hurt. This could form a complex argument but basically where Christian beliefs are concerned these advantages are meaningless but where human rights are concerned they must be taken into account.
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The disadvantages of Capital Punishment are shown most prominently in Jesus and what he stood for, i.e. forgiveness and sanctity of life, also in the Sermon on the Mount and many other parts of the New Testament. This does give the argument against capital punishment a head start but there are also other factors to consider. By letting a murderer be put to death you will be legalising murder for the executioner. Who is then to say who can and cannot kill? If a government decides this, there is sure to be religious opposition, and if for example the Pope decides who can kill another then he would be going against his own religion. When death is made legal in any way, even in cases of war, it is encouraging violence. War should and is frequently only a last resort 'Just War'. The death penalty for murder would not be a last resort as there are alternatives and as again who is to decide which murder and in what circumstances it would warrant another death. In any case and in any trial mistakes could be made. There will always be the risk that an innocent person will be put to death because of another's mistake. (the case of Derrick Bentley).
According to Christian beliefs no one should be killed especially because God, the creator, is the only one who can give and take life, this is called the ‘sanctity of life’ . There are other ways of dealing with criminals, even murderers and many people believe that these ways should be explored instead of using the death penalty. Again many examples could be used: Sermon on the Mount - Love your enemies. Matthew 5 - Don't seek revenge " If anyone slaps you on your right cheek, let them slap you on your left cheek too", but one question could sum up the argument without using religious references. Do two wrongs make a right?
So can the death penalty be justified? In religious terms, no. But why wouldn’t Christians want the criminals who have done such a crime to be abolished. It would stop them from committing the crime again and it would deter others away from committing such offences. This is because their are simply too many teachings against it. It is true to say that there are exceptions to every rule, for example to the rule thou shalt not kill, the church will condone fighting in wars. But killing is different to murder and although the murderer has violated the sanctity of life it is still forgivable. God is the judge and to violate the sanctity of life for revenge against the murderer is as bad a crime as the initial murder itself.
In non-religious terms the answer is still no. Two wrongs don't make a right. The wrong message is being taught and not the precious lesson of forgiveness. One human characteristic that cannot be relied on in this situation is opinion. Every person has an opinion whether it is voiced or not and that opinion will be influenced by the circumstances and personal involvement.
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- Subject Religious Studies (Philosophy & Ethics)
Persuasive Essay Against Capital Punishment
Death Penalty from Religious and Historical Standpoints
Introduction, benefits of the death penalty.
The death penalty is a judicial process of putting criminals to death. The death penalty is also referred to as capital punishment and is interpreted as a legal process of dealing with capital offenses (Nagin & Pepper 2012). The death penalty has emerged as a contentious issue in the modern justice system due to the ethical, moral, and legal issues involved. Death penalties started in the eighteenth century B.C in Babylon, after King Hammurabi classified twenty-five crimes as capital offenses, and hence punishable by death. After the Babylonian king initiated the death penalty on the twenty-five crimes, Rome and Greece adopted execution as a solution to capital offenses.
Some of the historical execution practices included crucifixion, stoning, burning criminals alive, and drowning. The reasons provided by the executioners and kings of these kingdoms was that the process demonstrated the power of justice and legal authority over capital crimes. Proponents of the death penalty focus on the main elements of deterrence, which are certainty, celerity, and severity. Historical and religious groups use the elements of deterrence to justify the benefits of the death penalty since they reduce the likelihood of engaging in criminal activities by creating certainty of punishment with every criminal activity.
Modern supporters of the death penalty argue that capital punishments have revolutionized the punishment by introducing humane procedures that subject criminals to minimize suffering and pain. Scholars in support of the death penalty argue that the procedure increases the certainty of death among capital criminals, hence reducing the likelihood of committing crimes. Additionally, crimes with severe punishments reduce the likelihood of criminal activities due to the fear of associated consequences. The death penalty eliminates a criminal’s capacity to cause harm or repeat the same offense (Nagin & Pepper 2012).
Some religions, for example, Islam and Christianity, advocate for the adoption of punishments analogous to the offense committed. The paper evaluates the benefits of the death penalty from a modern, religious, and historical perspective.
- The death penalty is important because it demonstrates the legal authority and power of justice systems. The historical justification of the death penalty was to demonstrate the power of the legal institutions and authority of the judiciary over criminals (Radelet & Borg 2000). The extremity of capital punishment demonstrates that the judiciary is not lenient, hence increasing confidence among citizens of a strong and reliable justice system. Criminals are motivated by the absence of strong judicial responses to serious crimes.
- The other benefit of the death penalty is its effect on deterring crime. Capital punishments are considered as crime deterrents due to their severity, celerity, and certainty. According to Guernsey (2009), the death penalty offers the certainty of death on any heinous crime. Criminals fear to break laws if they are certain of harsh punishments. The element of certainty reduces the likelihood of engaging in capital offenses by instilling fear among potential criminals. The celerity element focuses on the duration between the commission of a crime and the delivery of a death sentence. The urge to commit crimes depends on the effectiveness of justice systems (Pojman 2000). Effective justice systems discourage criminals from engaging in capital offenses while ineffective systems demonstrate leniency. The severity of death penalties creates irreversible effects on criminals to prevent them from causing further harm to others. Death puts an end to human activities and capacities. Therefore, it is justified to incapacitate criminals in order to discourage potential criminals from engaging in capital offenses.
- The religious justification of the death penalty is based on the severity of capital offenses. Most of the popular religions consider capital crimes as undeserving mercy and forgiveness. Capital offenses deserve severe punishments since they interfere with the spirits of victims (Radelet & Borg 2000). When criminals receive lenient sentences, they continue to sin. However, severe punishments prevent criminals from engaging in more sins.
- The modern justification of the death penalty is in the revolutionized procedure that reduces suffering and prepares criminals to face death diligently. The modern procedures use non-painful injections that kill criminals without any form of suffering. The humane nature of modern executions fulfills the ethical concerns raised by the opponents of death penalties (Pojman 2000). Similarly, criminals are given opportunities to finalize all legal procedures involving wills and farewells to friends and families. The contemporary execution procedure focuses on the irreversibility of death, rather than on the torturous processes applied in history.
- The moral justification of the death penalty focuses on the rights of victims. When criminals kill, victims are deprived of their rights to live. People should have autonomy over their lives. Capital crimes threaten or terminate victims’ autonomy and subject the victims’ families and friends to an emotional, financial, and psychological breakdown. If the death penalty is abolished, the victims’ families find alternative sentences unrealistic as long as the criminal remains alive. However, if a criminal is sentenced to death, the victims’ families and friends find the punishment analogous to the actual crime committed.
The death penalty benefits justice systems by demonstrating power and authority over criminal activities. The severity of the sentence deters potential crimes by discouraging potential criminals from engaging in any form of a capital offense. The contemporary process is humane and follows ethical standards to reduce suffering and pain.
Guernsey, J 2009, Death Penalty: Fair Solution or Moral Failure?, Twenty-First Century Books, Minneapolis.
Nagin, D & Pepper, J 2012, Deterrence and the death penalty , National Academies Press, Washington.
Pojman, L 2000, The Death Penalty: For and Against , Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Lanham.
Radelet, L & Borg, M 2000, ‘The Changing Nature of Death Penalty Debates’, Annual Reviews Sociology, vol. 26, pp. 43-61.
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StudyCorgi. (2021, May 4). Death Penalty from Religious and Historical Standpoints. Retrieved from https://studycorgi.com/death-penalty-from-religious-and-historical-standpoints/
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Religion and the Death Penalty: A Complex Intersection
Table of contents, introduction, christian perspectives on the death penalty, islam and capital punishment, buddhism and the rejection of the death penalty, hinduism: a spectrum of beliefs, judaism: from biblical law to modern interpretations, the social and political implications, works cited.
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Religion and the death penalty.
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Capital punishment has been occurring within the United States for over two centuries. An idea first created in ancient Egyptian times, the topic is continually used in today's society of crime and punishment. Although enforced for so many years, the topic was not morally debated until recent times. Records of Ancient Egypt indicate acts of criminal condemning by different methods of execution ("Classical Judaism" 142). Even though biblical references state executions of crucifixions and stoning of criminals, the Catholic Church, in addition to an array of various other faiths, still has plead politicians in America to end this form of punishment. Denominations and groups opposed to capital punishment include the Roman Catholic Church, United Methodist Church, United Church of Christ, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Episcopal Church, Disciples of Christ, and American Friends Service Committee (Zorn 1). Judaism and Islam allow for capital punishment in some very narrow circumstances, although the American Jewish Committee is officially against it. . According to the United States Catholic Bishops (Winsor B5), "the question for judgment and decision is whether capital punishment is justifiable under present circumstances." The Church goes on to say that it "believes that in the conditions of contemporary American society, the legitimate purposes of punishment do not justify the imposition of the death penalty." The Church envisions a legal system abolished of capital punishment and empowered with more constructive forms of retribution and rehabilitation. "Abolition sends a message that we can break the cycle of violence, that we need not take life for life, that we can envisage more humane and more hopeful and effective responses to the growth of violent crime." In the eyes of the Catholics, these principles are exemplified by Jesus, "who both taught and practiced the forgiveness of injustice.
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