Tuesday, 18 January 2011

The death penalty

The death penalty

I have mentioned before how The Kindle means I'm able to read books faster than with the paper versions. I have read three since Christmas and two of these have centred around the death penalty:  The Confession by John Grisham and The Crying Tree by Naseem Rakha.

They have got me to thinking.
I have never agreed with the death penalty, how can killing someone by a decision for anyone other than God to make?

However both books have raised two issues:

1-convicted person's preference for death
Both books had innocent men convicted and sentenced to the death penalty; both waited almost 20 years for their sentence to be enacted.  

One kept appealing, wanting his name to be cleared and died knowing his innocence but not being cleared.  How can this be right?  And how can we ever know with 100% certainty that someone is guilty?  How can a society forgive themselves for a mistake like that?  How can God forgive us that?

One stopped appealing and was happy to die.  He knew he wouldn't ever be free and preferred to be on death row where he could be solitary, than the idea of having to share with other inmates.  He was happy to die, to face God knowing his innocence.  But again, how could God be ok with that?


2- victim/victim's family preferences
The second issue is the view and desire of the victim and their family.  I can see how a family of someone murdered would want revenge, but how Christian is this? Is this not vengeance? I don't believe in an eye for an eye, surely it is not our place to judge, that is for the end day.  

And what if a victim or their family don't want the death sentence?  What if they feel guilt over a death sentence?  How does that help anyone?


Basically reading these books has reinforced in my mind how wrong the death penalty is.  I am thankful we don't love in a society where it's an option.

2 comments:

UKViewer said...

Emma, I have never believed that the death penalty could be morally justified. As you say, God is the arbitrator not man.

Emma Major said...

Amen