More on the Death Penalty

Over at the Philippine Inquirer Michael L. Tan wrote a very good defense of the anti-death penalty position. Click here to read it. His arguments are not new but he does score some points against the pro-death deterrence argument by pointing out that "In the Philippines, the role of the death penalty in deterring crime is probably even more insignificant, mainly because the biggest criminals know they are untouchable."

Some of his concerns however are addressed in a very lengthy paper found in a website appropriately named Pro-death Penalty.com, which covers the following topics:

A. THE RISK OF EXECUTING THE INNOCENT
B. THE INCAPACITATION AND THE DETERRENT EFFECTS
C. RACE, SENTENCING AND THE DEATH PENALTY
D. THE COST OF LIFE WITHOUT PAROLE VS THE DEATH PENALTY
E. DEATH PENALTY PROCEDURES
F. CHRISTIANITY AND THE DEATH PENALTY

The paper, however, relies on data which are applicable to the U.S. and there are many things in it which are not applicable to the Philippine setting except maybe by analogy. Those who are pro-death penalty here in the Philippines need to come up with a similar study modeled after this paper but relevant to the Philippine context to support their view. (There may already be one but I haven't seen it yet) It is the last topic – Christianity and the Death Penalty – I am most interested in. An interesting biblical/theological argument I never saw before is the following:

Christians who speak out against capital punishment in deserving cases " . . . tend to subordinate the justice of God to the love of God. . . . Peter, by cutting off Malchu’s ear,. . . was most likely trying to kill the soldier (John 18:10)", prompting " . . . Christ’s statement that those who kill by the sword are subject to die by the sword (Matthew 26:51-52)." This " implicitly recognizes the government’s right to exercise the death penalty." Dr. Carl F.H.Henry, "A Matter of Life and Death", p 52 Christianity Today, 8/4/95.

At any rate, you can read the whole paper here.

Author: attycortes

Filipino lawyer, preacher, composer.

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