Ethical debate on the death penalty

The following article is an instance in which such a disclaimer was requested. Resources directed toward this form of selective, legitimized killing of human beings are not available for crime prevention methodologies proven for their effectiveness.

Ethical debate on the death penalty

This article first appeared in the Christian Research Journal, volume 17, number 1 For further information or to subscribe to the Christian Research Journal go to: Contemporary culture, in contrast, is permeated with arguments against capital punishment.

Even among those professing Christian faith, there is widespread opposition to the death penalty. As a trend, the ever-increasing role of the media in manipulating public sentiment in the face of pressing ethical debates promises not to subside. While we may grant that the Christian community is divided over this issue and while we take no delight in its clarification, the church — in keeping with its earthly mandate — is to instruct the state in matters of justice.

The highly publicized executions of Robert Alton Harris California and Roger Keith Coleman Virginiafor better or worse, injected a new level of urgency into the debate over capital punishment. In both cases the extent to which the American public was treated to a numbing display of sentimentality by media pundits was nothing short of breathtaking.

A more recent case involving a disabled murderer, Charles Sylvester Stamper, further fueled the death penalty debate on a national level. Stamper, who killed three people in a restaurant robbery, became the first person in a wheelchair to be put to death since the Gregg v.

Georgia Supreme Court ruling in that reinstated capital punishment. Debates about capital punishment usually play to the emotions. Contemporary Western culture is saturated with arguments that call for its abolition. In addition, the media play an ever-expanding role in shaping the contours of ethical discourse.

Film and television exert an inordinate influence on our perception of reality. Television alone packs an enormous psychological punch. In reporting on capital punishment cases, TV will not engage the public with a reasoned exchange of viewpoints; rather, it uses powerful visual stimuli to impart the impression that executions are repugnant and morally reprehensible.

In the end, debates over the death penalty are more a spectator sport than a quest for truth and justice. This loathing, strangely, is often in the context of increasingly barbaric criminal acts themselves. Not infrequently this moral confusion manifests itself in a pretext of compassion, in much the same way that abortion advocates who decry graphic films such as The Silent Scream attempt to obscure moral culpability and redefine the notion of victimhood.

Meanwhile, society is stripped of its most fundamental right — protection from violent criminal acts. The blast from point-blank range instantly crushed the skull and snuffed out the life of a year-old mother.

A month later he abducted a four-year-old boy from a school playground, molested and tortured him, then hanged him. When his death sentence was handed down in court, Dodd did not hide the pleasure with which he committed the crimes.

The November kidnap-murder of a year-old girl in Northern California is a case in point. The slayer, Richard Allen Davis, had two previous kidnap charges to his record before abducting Polly Klaas from a slumber party at her home and driving her to her strangulation-death 40 miles away.

In truth, genuine abuse of the system is illustrated by the fact that while judges engage in moral vanity, the death sentences of premeditated murderers — when not revoked — are delayed for years due to legal technicalities.

Legal experts, who by citing a lack of available statistics contend that capital punishment has not constituted a measurable deterrent, have strangely overlooked the obvious — namely, that at the very least it deters murderers by guaranteeing no possibility of parole or escape, hence precluding new crimes committed by repeat murderers.

What in fact has watered down the death penalty deterrent is the manner in which much-publicized cases such as those of Harris and Coleman have dragged on over the years, thereby reflecting a wholly inconsistent approach to criminal justice.

Absent of moral standards, the courts and the criminal justice system languish under the whims of activist judges and the psychotherapeutic elite, at the utter expense of bona fide social justice. The extent to which death penalty abolitionists have rendered justice impossible is graphically illustrated by one social critic.

Ethical debate on the death penalty

Estimating aboutmurders in the U. Georgia decision untilWilliam F. This reticence to do justly has resulted in the longest judicial foreplay in history. After 13 years of procedural roadblock, California was finally able to execute Harris, who, lacking a car for a bank robbery inkidnapped two year-old boys sitting in an automobile eating hamburgers, drove them to a deserted canyon, and shot one.

The other ran, screamed for help, and tried to hide, but Harris pursued and killed him as well.

100% moral.

Harris appealed to the California Supreme Court, which under the guidance of Chief Justice Rose Bird overturned 68 death sentences before she was voted out of office in Mercifully, the Supreme Court put an end to the excruciating volley of last-minute attempts at stay of execution, noting that Harris had filed a total of four prior federal habeas petitions and five state petitions, yet was unable to explain why he never before raised the cruel-and-unusual-punishment claim.

The Harris case perfectly illustrates the wisdom of the preacher, uttered nearly three millennia ago:Death penalty also known as capital punishment is defined as the practice of executing an individual as the punishment for a specific crime after conviction by a court of law.

In the USA, the death sentence is legal in 32 states and Texas got the highest death sentencing rates (Death Penalty Info. Posted Thursday, 5 March in in ON LINE opinion - Australia's e-journal of social and political debate.

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Capital punishment has recently become an increased focus of international attention and debate. From an ethical perspective, many of the arguments for and against the death penalty are missing a consideration of key issues.

The death penalty is the only acceptable punishment for taking a human life unlawfully and is the only moral action. The laws of western countries are based ultimately on ancient Jewish law which is the basis of all western morality and in which the death penalty was practised.

Ruben Cantu Texas Convicted: , Executed: A two-part investigative series by the Houston Chronicle cast serious doubt on the guilt of a Texas man who was executed in Ruben Cantu had persistently proclaimed his innocence and was only 17 when he was charged with capital murder for the shooting death of a San Antonio man .

F. CHRISTIANITY AND THE DEATH PENALTY. NOTE: Although not relevant to the legal application of the death penalty in the United States, religious issues are a significant thread within the moral debate. The Ethics of Capital Punishment- SYNOPSIS. Historically, the church has affirmed the right of the civil magistrate in matters of capital justice.

Contemporary culture, in contrast, is permeated with arguments against capital punishment. Even among those professing Christian faith, there is widespread opposition to the death penalty.

BBC - Ethics: Capital punishment