Monday, August 5, 2013

Why I'm against the death penalty

I'm going to go a bit personal here. Honestly, I couldn't decide if this should get posted on this blog or my central blog where more personal musings go. But after a few seconds of thought, I said to myself, "Self, this is political for you." My apologies to The Talking Heads. Anyway, here goes.


Even many years ago in college, when I considered myself a pretty liberal leaning voter, I was against the death penalty, as many people on the left are. I was lead to this conviction by a wise man who was the college pastor at the church I attended.

Since then, I've switched my political leanings towards the right, but remain a non-affiliated voter in case you care. I realize that both sides can screw up the issues at any given time. But one thing that hasn't change is my stance on the death penalty. I am still against it. You may ask, "well, if you're on the right wing side of things, how can you be against the death penalty when that seems to be on the of the tenants of modern day conservatism?" Easy, I say.

First, re-read that sentence above about being a non-affiliated voter. Yes, I may lean conservative, but I am still my own man, and have my own beliefs. No matter what the military hawks in the Republican party may say, I am for a smaller, more efficient military that isn't spread all over the globe. I am for lower tax rates everywhere. If the government has to let a few thousand people go, then so be it. If they're qualified, they can probably get jobs just as good in the private sector. If not, then they'll figure life out in a hurry. Yeah, it is kind of an extreme stance, but it's mine.

Second, I am a Christian, of the "not perfect, just forgiven" variety. My Christian faith leads me to my stance on the death penalty. "Thou shalt not kill" is one of the Ten Commandments we could probably all quote in our sleep. But it goes further for me. I believe that is how God wants governments to treat it's citizens as well. No matter what horrible act someone has done, it is not the government's jurisdiction to take a life. That is God's place, not man's.

Then there is what God calls us to do as Christians. The Great Commission calls us to spread the gospel to all places. Applying that a bit liberally, we should also pray for the salvation of those that have heard the gospel but haven't accepted it yet. And there's the crux of it. Pray for everyone, even those that have done something so horrible that society thinks they should be put to death. Pray for their salvation. Pray for their forgiveness. A lot of people will be shocked with that line of thought, and even struggle with it. Even I struggle with forgiveness on a daily basis. I pray that God helps me through that act and forgives me when I am unable, but still works within me.

How would God look upon His people if we didn't pray for souls to be saved, to be entered into His book? Even with someone sitting in a jail cell, don't they deserve our prayers? Matthew 25:40 states "... ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’" We should be in mourning that our governments willfully take the lives of people. If God wants them dead, then he will make that happen. But it should be up to Him as far as the where's and how's, not by government appointment. And we, as Christians, should be lifting people up in prayer that they will ask for His forgiveness. God isn't done with a life until He says He is done. If that life is spent in a jail cell, then He must have a purpose. We must let His plan take shape, instead of imposing the will of man.

With the GOP so concerned about abortion, this is one aspect of life and death they completely ignore, unless it's Rick Perry at a debate clowning around about how many people the state of Texas has executed like it's a competition. My state, North Carolina, received a lot of flack recently for, among a laundry list of reasons, repealing the Racial Justice Act. Proponents of the legislation didn't have a problem that people were actually being executed by the state, they just wanted the races/ethnicity of those executed to be balanced as if they were balancing a checkbook. If there is no death penalty, then there is no need for a Racial Justice Act. They ignore the bigger picture, instead focusing on a piece of legislation that legislates who the state can execute and who they can't.

So I guess it is political and personal after all.

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