I am an evangelical Christian and I believe in capital punishment. Most would believe that these are synonymous with each other, but they are not. I’ve known many people who hold Christian values and do not believe in capital punishment for today. That is why I strongly encourage anyone high school age or above, regardless of your faith or position on the issue of capital punishment, to watch the new 5 minute Prager University video: Capital Punishment.
Dennis Prager himself is the instructor for this video and he masterfully lays out the reasons for his belief in maintaining the ability to execute those who commit particularly heinous murders. He first frames his argument by clarifying the positions; those who are for capital punishment believe that it should be used in some cases while those who are against it believe it should never be used. This is an important distinction because those who oppose the practice often depict people who are in support of capital punishment as believing it should be used often and without discretion.
Prager lays out some examples of horrible, brutal murders (a brutal rape and burning alive of two girls and Timothy McVeigh, the Oklahoma City bomber) and sets out the question – should we allow these men to keep what they have taken from others? Wouldn’t allowing them to live denigrate the sanctity of human life rather than preserve it by cheapening murder?
One argument I’ve had with a fellow Christian about this issue is that execution denies these men the chance for redemption in Christ. While I wish that Dennis had addressed this in his video, I understand that his beliefs differ from mine in this regard. In the case that you believe we should keep these murderers alive as long as possible so they have the chance to repent of their sin, I would say this: it is not the role of government to give people time to turn to Jesus. Look at Romans 13:4-5:
4 For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.
The role of Government is to promote the good and to punish evil doers. Is it good to allow evil men the opportunity to continue to commit evil? Are we truly punishing evil if we don’t deter future murders with a severe punishment?
This is yet another great video from Prager University and a win for rational, moral thinking. Thank you, Dennis Prager.