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WHY THE DEATH PENALTY IS JUST…!

By ATWadmin On November 7th, 2006

795151-539339-thumbnail.jpgOK – with the genocidal tyrant Saddam Hussein now facing execution, the topic of capital punishment has once more come to the fore.  As you know, I fully support capital punishment though I understand  others do not and I respect their point of view. My primary reason for supporting it is Biblical, and I am much obliged to my friend  Peter C Glover, for providing us with what I believe to be the BEST case for the death penalty…. from a Biblical perspective. Those who do not care for the Bible may not get a lot from this, those who do put their faith in the Bible may find Peter’s analysis both comprehensive and compelling…

I should also add that Peter has collated his thoughts on this along with several other major issues in his book "The Politics of Faith"…it’s a great read and I recommend it to all discerning ATW readers. Here’s an excerpt from Peter’s article…

"Saddam and the Biblical (Judeo-Christian) case for the death penalty"

So Saddam has been convicted and sentenced – to death. Immediately, the Western liberal human rights lobbies have galvanized themselves to try to prevent it. They know only too well that if the case for anyone – even a mass murdering tyrant  – can be proved reasonable and right morally, then the case for the death penalty per se is also made out. But I have found the human rights lobbies together with woolly-minded liberal Christians to be less than logical when confronted by pure reason and the Word of God itself.

That’s why they do their level best to avoid being confronted by cogent argument.

Though I am more than prepared to argue the case for the death penalty from pure reason – as I have in my book The Politics of Faith that is not my focus here. I have been asked rather to focus squarely on the biblical teaching on the subject and will confine my case to it. And what our review will plainly reveal is that the Bible, New and Old Testament, is unequivocal on the subject: the Bible not only teaches the case for the death penalty but shows that the state which carries executes for murder is actually doing God’s will. So let us straight away turn to the biblical evidence.

Read the rest here.

If you want to pursue this issue with Peter, feel free to pop over to his place, I just know that he loves liberals…!

70 Responses to “WHY THE DEATH PENALTY IS JUST…!”

  1. are you going to do a piece on the mid-terms? if so i think you should read this piece from rolling stone.

    An extremely well written and resourced article on the increasingly suspicious activities surrounding the US election process in recent years.

    http://www.rollingstone.com/news/story/10432334/was_the_2004_election_stolen

    Its another one of the those stories the MSM wont touch for some reason. so i thought you would be especially interested.

  2. Tripper,

    I have been trying to do more on the mid-terms but the pressures of getting the new platform up and running limit me. I’m following them with great interest and have been on to Karl Rove suggesting that Bin Laden be pulled out of the cupboard we’re keeping him in as part of the November surprise. Now
    …back to the DEATH PENALTY..

  3. Couple of points about Death penalty – If it’s God’s Will, Was Christ wrong to in respect of the stoning ?
    Secondly – would God have been pleased if Stefan Kiszko had been hung for the murder of Lesley Molseed ?

  4. "have been on to Karl Rove suggesting that Bin Laden be pulled out of the cupboard we’re keeping him in as part of the November surprise"

    Saddams conviction and sentencing was the november surprise. as i reported here about two months ago. unless you think the timing was pure coincidence?

  5. David, I believe that the Bible is God’s word–but bastardized by many (and sometimes very clumsy) human hands. In other words, it’s true in essence but not in all particulars. And certainly there are mistruths and bad science throughout. Which is why I find it both unwise and irresponsible to cherry-pick.

    While there may well be cogent reasons for supporting the death penalty I don’t believe we should seek them in the Bible, not when life (that most precious of divine gifts) is at stake.

  6. I have no problem with seeing Saddam hang but I would have a big problem if the Birmingham Six had been executed . They were innocent.

    As long as we have an imperfect justice system then we can never have the death penalty because we would take innocent life. In fact an innocent man would arguably be more likely to insist on his innocence therefore turning down plea bargains and facing death statistically more often than the guilty.

    Furthermore I doubt the biblical legitimacy of a society which murders millions through abortion claiming divine right in anything it does.

  7. Good post Henry.

  8. This passages (pages 3 to 8 in the book) show Glover to be every bit the charlatan and con artist as Ted Haggard evidently is.

    Nowhwere does he come near proving what he set out to do – that the OT allows the death penalty.

    His arguments are vapid and laughable.

    First he says that the Old Testament permits the death penalty. It does – making it mandatory for working on Sundays, sowing different crops in the same field, wearing a garment of different fibres (but death penalty only for women here), adultery and a host of other grevious offences.

    Jesus – like all of us – was therefore right not to take this too seriously.

    His second argunmet is Romans 13. This is the passage that tells us we must live in fear of the temporal powers that be. Apart from the fact that it was not written by Jesus and that Paul elsewhere writes stuff that nobody accepts any more, the passage in question does not mention the death penalty. It merely says we must respect ALL temporal authority: including that of Hitler, Stalin and Saddam. Those that usurp this power are committing a grave sin – i.e. the Allies in the war that brought Saddam to the gallows.
    In no way can this be taken as support for the death penalty!

    Glover then takes us to John 10, which is for him the ultimate justification for his blood lust. This is where Jesus stands before Pilate, and appears to tell him that his authority comes from God (although even this is not clear, he could also mean that all power, indeed all life, comes from God, which is of course an orthodox Judeo-Christian belief). Again, Jesus does not mention the right to execute prisoners, or the issue of punishment at all. Glover quite stupidly sees in Jesus’ refusal to deny Pilate the right to kill him absolute proof that he favoured the death penalty! This is nonsense. It would have been hypocritical if Jesus had come this far and then started fighting for a reprieve. (Patrick Pearse also did not plead for mercy, and this certainly does not mean he accepted Britain’s right to execute anyone in Ireland!)

    His waffle about the Sermon on the Mount – where he repeats several times his big spiel about some big difference between personal and state authority – is too stupid to desere comment. Nowhere does this great Bible passage condone the death penalty.

    In fact, in EVERY case when the issue came up, Jesus clearly condemned it.

    Go write yourselves new scripture, Bible-thumpers.

  9. Point of order to Henry94 above. I was actually the DPP’s press officer at the time that the Birmingham Six were let out. Let me assure yoy these ‘Six’ were NOT all innocent by any means. (I can tell you which one handed one of the others the bomb that was thrown through the Guildford pub window). The issue was that the Surrey pOlice Officers who had the case before the Met Police made a complete mess of the case by ‘re-working’ parts of the statements.

    I was present in the room when the DPP expressly told the prosecuting barrister that he was NOT under any circumstances to use the expression "innocent" in relation to them. Don’t believe all you hear in the leftwing press. Unlike them and yourself I know what happened, I was there and had to handle the media for the DPP.

    The same is true of many other cases where genuinely guilty defendants are often let out on technicalities – as were at least some of the Birmingham Six.

    Don’t allow private prejudices to obscure the facts.

  10. To Fanny, If we cannot go to the Bible to find out what God’s will is on the key areas of life and liberty, then its point is…??? If you believe it has been so "bastardized" by all then its value is…???

    It would, of course, make a good doorstop, which is all it could possibly be used for is whatever you wish to ‘cherry-pick’ from it.

  11. Peter,

    Well said.The Birmingham 6 have attained near holy of holies status for some. Good to see that bubble burst.

    Cunningham,

    We are Bible believers. If you can’t stand the words of scripture that’s not our problem.

  12. It seems that Cunningham above has had a logic by-pass. He obviously hates "Bible-thumpers" and then gets his info about Jesus from…well, quite clearly the Bible.

    Just where in Scripture does Jesus condemn the death penalty? And why would he when the OT revelation spells it out in so much incredible detial (even distinguishing between types of crimes).

    But then ‘Cunningham’ I wrote this at David’s request for "Bible-thumpers" not anti-intellectual, incoherents who argue first against the Bible, then immediately from it.

  13. Peter

    "I was actually the DPP’s press officer at the time that the Birmingham Six were let out. Let me assure yoy these ‘Six’ were NOT all innocent by any means. (I can tell you which one handed one of the others the bomb that was thrown through the Guildford pub window). "

    I think you are confused. Birmingham and Guilford were separate miscarriages of justice.

  14. Peter C Glover puts existing Christian opposition to the death penalty down to philosophical or ‘humanistic’ reasons, as if someone like the Pope had not bothered to check out what Jesus’s position was on the subject.

    The point is that anyone can interpret the Bible and, depending on their own point of view, come up with reasons why the death penalty is not a good idea.

    In any of such cases, it is man’s interpretation of what is supposed to be God’s word, and not God’s word itself, which is really being employed.

    So, whilst Peter Glover might say that the Bible justifies the death penalty, what he really means is that Peter Glover sees the Bible as justifying the death penalty, which is another thing entirely.

  15. New evidence of police fabrication and suppression of evidence, the discrediting of both the confessions and the 1975 forensic evidence led to the Crown withdrawing most of its case against the men. In 2001, a decade after their release, the six men were awarded compensation ranging from £840,000 to £1.2 million.

    David

    You are calling for the death penalty while showing a willingness to have convictions based on false evidence. Are you sure about that?

  16. David and Peter – let he who is without sin cast the first stone?

    Stefan Kiszko ?

  17. Very quick bible teaching: Capital punishment for murder was originally not allowed, but introduced following the flood as something for all mankind to practice. It was included in the various laws subsequently given to the nation of Israel, but it was in force before then (see previous sentence). It wsn’t taken away by Jesus so it still stands today. It needs to be practised with strict evidential safeguards (2 witnesses were the biblical requirement) so if the evidence isn’t there there’s no CP.

  18. "If we cannot go to the Bible to find out what God’s will is on the key areas of life and liberty, then its point is…???"

    I didn’t say we cannot, Peter. I referred to the essence of God’s will being contained in the Bible. The trouble is that several of its books are mutually contradictory. But it doesn’t follow that I discard their wisdom. I do, however, keep in mind that the Bible is a hodge-podge of sometimes badly heard or poorly received versions of God’s word. Only a fool would take its every word as, er, gospel.

    "If you believe it has been so "bastardized" by all then its value is…???"

    The Thai meal my husband and I enjoyed last night was a bastardized version of one we ate in Chieng-Mai last year. It was tasty though, and better than no food at all.

    Lest you find that a flippant analogy: The Bible contains many undeniable truths and great insights into both the human spirit as well as the divine, but some of its ingredients and manner of presentation smack of local tampering.

  19. "But then ‘Cunningham’ I wrote this at David’s request for "Bible-thumpers" not anti-intellectual, incoherents who argue first against the Bible, then immediately from it."

    damned if you do, damned if you dont. how can he be considered anti-intellectual when he used the primary reference of the bible in a discussion about the bible. what a ridiculous person you are.

    I support the death penalty in Saddams case purely on the grounds that it should bring a certain closure to many iraqis lives. a public display of his remains, similar to that of the bodies of those nazis hung after conviction at nuremburg, is required.

    Unfortunately it is doubtful that it will have any great affect on life in iraq. Infact there is a chance it may have the complete opposite of the desired effect.

    And stop using religious texts to justify killings, it just reaffirms suspicions that right wing judeo-christion zealots and very similar to right-wing islamic zealots. two peas in a pod.

  20. Why is it that not all Christians on earth have identical interpretations of the bible. It is of course becuase as humans thay are imperfect and therefore ALL biblical interpretations by humans are flawed. The bible is not the word of god, it is a man made compendium of historic anecdotes instructions and moral rhetoric and is used by it’s adherants more to illuminate and justify existing views than as a singularly understood instruction manual.

  21. Terry,

    Well argued.

  22. David, was Terry’s post an argument? He’s citing the Flood for God’s sake! What was that someone wrote earlier about using the contents of the Bible to prove the Bible, or some such?

  23. David

    Well argued if you want to live in a theocratic state where religous teachings are forced on everyone.

  24. "It wsn’t taken away by Jesus so it still stands today."

    He didn’t take away the Jewish Temple either but not much of it stands today.

    There actually isn’t very much on the life of Jesus in the Bible, considering He inspired the entire New Testament. To submit that He did not abolish a law (He wasn’t even a lawmaker) is hardly proof that He agreed with it.

  25. We Want Barabas!!

    Jesus was a victim of capital punishment, so I am not sure that his thoughts on it would mirror Peter Glover’s (or Saint Peter, Mr. Glover’s namesake, also a victim of capital punishment).

    There is a substanial Christian movement against capital punishment so I am not so sure that anyone can convince the other side based on a purely Christian doctrine. Thankfully, we don’t live in a theocracy, so while Christian arguments pro and con can certainly influence us, they need not be deemed definitive by the state.

    I think Mr. Glover discredits his own argument by labeling the opponents as woolly-headed liberals, just as someone would who labeled the supporters as bloodthirsty conservatives. Opposition to capital punishment does not mean someone is necessarily soft on crime. Surely if Mr. Glover intends to offer a thoughtful argument he could try to be . . .thoughtful?

  26. Mahons

    The very fact that Mr Glover uses such phrasing demonstrates his chosen right wing perspective and clearly like everyone else of religous faith and a firm political conviction he interprets the bible to comfort his views accordingly. As I said earlier , the Bible is the word of men not God.

  27. Rubbish. The Bible is the word of God.

  28. In my previous post I assumed that what the bible says is true, and I did so on the basis that it is God’s inspired word. Anyone who doesn’t accept that starting point is unlikely to agree with what I have said, but you can see both sides of the argument.

  29. Terry: I understand that you and many others have a literal interpretation of the Bible and any comments here by me are not intended to belittle that fact. However, you offer not your opinion but your "quick Bible teaching" A sort of Terry’s letter to the ATWs if you will. It is a little patronizing.
    Allow me to suggest that there are Christians holding as sincere beliefs as your own who hold a counter view of Capital Punishment.

  30. Terry, what i get from your fine post is that if one is to use Biblical injuntions to support the death penalty, then one should alos use it’s safeguards. Pilate used one without the other, and let mob rule prevail.

  31. The Bible and the Koran. Are they both the word of God . If not, how do you know which is ?

  32. Colm, The Bible has a much longer history, with may writers, some corroboration, like the historian Josepheus. The Koran popped out of the mind of one man.

  33. Chas,

    Would it then be correct to compare the Koran to the Book of Mormon?

  34. Charles

    But if that one man really was god’s chosen vessel…

  35. Colm -surley you are not suggesting the unthinkable on this site, that God’s choosen vessel was anyone other than Elvis Costello.

  36. Mahons

    Only if God has awful taste in music…….

    Oh I’m really being blasphemous now aren’t I.

    I’m only joking David, please don’t ban me for life!

  37. Mahons,

    God works in mysterious ways!

    On a more serious note, I wonder do some others evr think that music can be an expression of God’s wonder? I was listening to Beethoven the other day (As you do) and was struck at the almost other worldly genius of it all. You know, all of us know so little in God’s great universe and some think they know so much e.g. John Kerry!

  38. David – More of a Bach man myself, but I agree about Music and God’s wondrous nature.

    Any chance you will address the point I made about Casting the first stone ?

  39. David: Great topic. I think there has clearly been inspiration in the compositions of various artists that can be said to be divine. Sometimes I hear it best in a hymn sung in a language that I do understand. I am thinking of a Russina hymn sung by a chorus that I heard once that literally gave me chills.

  40. humble apologies to Mahons & any others affected – no intention to patronise, just a desire to put something down in writing quickly

  41. Terry – none necessary. The blogging format is a little like journalism as the rough draft of history.

    Now exactly what did God personally tell you to tell us?

  42. I can’t claim God personally told me to tell ATW anything, just thought I’d put down what the bible says if you start from a very simple standpoint of taking it at face value. Are you getting personal revelation?!

  43. Terry: Yes, I am. It is getting late enough in the day for a beer.

  44. David

    The bible talks about stoning women for adultery. Is that the word of God? Isn’t this one of the things that we quite rightly complain about the Taliban for?

    Is the fact that you are not out stoning adulterers because you haven’t got round to it or you think that the state should do it for you. Isn’t it because you know that that is NOT the word of God.

    I’m with Fanny on this one. The bible was largely devinely inspired but written by flawed human beings who couldn’t help themseves putting their wee pet notions in amongst the bigger more important messages.

  45. Re Aileen’s comment: the problem comes when you take things intended for one nation (Israel) to live under theocratic rule (directly from God) and impose them on other nations – not what the maker intended. The pre-Israel stuff (including capital punishment) was for all people everywhere; the Israel stuff (stoning adulterers isn’t.

  46. Aileen: Does that mean I can covet my neightbor’s ox without fear of divine retribution?

  47. I will re hash my Dad’s arugment on this. We are an Anglican family and "being saved" and "born again" has not really been part of the language, which is probably enough to damn us in the eyes of many findamentalists. I mayself am a very unorhodox anglican.

    My father used to say that he couldn’t understand how any Christian who beleived that you needed to be "saved" to get to heaven and that you would otherwise be in Hell’s torments wouldn;t mean that the most important thing for anyone was to saved. Therefore you would not want anyone to die before this, including an unrepentant monster like Saddam. The longer he lives the more chance (I know that the chances are not promising with him but the principle is the same) ther is that he can be saved. So paradoxically, the only people that it is safe to execute are those who repent.

  48. Mahons

    Probably safer than any designs on his ass ;o)

    Cheap I know, but someone had to!

  49. Aileen!!! :-O !!

  50. Terry

    So does God want adulterers in Isreal to be stoned.
    Also does God actually make a point of visiting the sins of the fathers etc.?

    I do not beleive in such a God. If God is that twisted, then Someone-or-thing-other-than-God help us!

  51. Terry

    "not what the maker intended"

    With the greatest respect, do you profess to know the mind of God? Wow.

  52. Sorry Tom!

    It was mahons fault. He force-fed me the line!

  53. I am taking the bible as expressing what the maker thinks and intends.. so on that basis, he intended Israel be run according to a number of laws, including a range of capital offences not just for murder. By the way, I only know the mind of God, so to speak, by reading what he thinks as per the bible -I have no special revelation.

  54. Aileen: I would have been sad if no one had picked up on that line. Having no designs on either, I take it I can make it to the promised land.

  55. Peter C Glover,

    >>It seems that Cunningham above has had a logic by-pass. He obviously hates "Bible-thumpers" and then gets his info about Jesus from…well, quite clearly the Bible.<<

    Firstly, what put it into your head that I hate "Bible-thumpers"; and even if I did, what would be illogical about quoting the Bible to prove they’re interpretation of it is wrong? Islam critics on ATW never tire of quoting the Koran.
    I think it’s you who has the problem with logic!

    >>Just where in Scripture does Jesus condemn the death penalty?<<

    Mat. 5:38-39, John 8:3-11, Mat. 6:15 and Mat. 7:1,
    St Paul also gets his bit in: Rom. 12:14, 17, 19.

    >>And why would he when the OT revelation spells it out in so much incredible detial (even distinguishing between types of crimes).<<
    So you mean, Jesus would have wanted punishment for adultery, being rude to your parents and wearing a garment with two fibres? You really think so?

    >>incoherents who argue first against the Bible, then immediately from it.<<

    Where did I argue against "the Bible"?
    I argued that the laws in the OT are inapplicable today; and if you disagree I hope you never come within a stone’s throw of my wife !

    >>I was actually the DPP’s press officer at the time that the Birmingham Six were let out. Let me assure yoy these ‘Six’ were NOT all innocent by any means. (I can tell you which one handed one of the others the bomb that was thrown through the Guildford pub window).<<

    If even "the DPP’s press officer" at the time doesnt know the difference between the Bermingham 6 and the Guildford 4, it’s no wonder such a mess was made and such injustice was done.

    >>Unlike them and yourself I know what happened, I was there and had to handle the media for the DPP.<<

    LOL! Now we know why the whole thing was such a PR disaster for British justice!

  56. Mahons

    I’m sure you’re a wee angel. ;0)

    Do you think poor Tom has recovered? :o(

    Good job Adrian isn’t about !

  57. Wow,

    So many interesting comments. I wanted to try and respond to just a few of them, forgive me if I miss your point…

    Madradin,

    Quite clearly, in a fallen world, mistakes can happen, and these can mean an innocent life might be taken. If you believe the Bible, you know God knows all things. Therefore the innocent life taken is in his plan. Hard to accept I know – but then God does not operate to our standards. But the fact that a mistake might happen is no reason to claim CP is inappropriate.

    Aileen,

    Christ removed parts of the Mosaic law. That is clear, which is why stoning women etc etc is a faux argument to put in the context of the NT. He did not invalidate the essential point that murder is punishable by death.

    Others,

    Re: Guildford 4/Birmingham 6.

    Was that a football score from tonight? Good to see Steve Bruce’s men reviving….

    PS. So, can we at least agree one set of these martyrs were not innocent?????.

  58. David

    It’s not a faux arguement as it was specifially tied to your comment that the bible is the word of God.

    The bible does not directly answer the question about where God stands on the issue of the death penalty. I think that the case agaisnt, from a NT persepctive is pretty convincing but not conclusive. It is certainly not conclusive for.

  59. David:
    I recall the story as origianlly written of Jesus stopping the crowd that was about to stone the woman by saying "Let ye who is without sin cast the first stone."

    Almost immediately a stone came flying over his head and struck the woman.

    He then turned around say the stone thrower and said "Thanks a lot Mom."

  60. Aileen,

    Yes it is – oops..that’s another thread!!

  61. Another reminder of the folly of taking the Bible too literally came just two days ago.

    Many US fundamentalist churches engage in the practice of "snake handling", i.e. live snakes are passed around among the congregation during a church service. This reptile fondling is based on Mark 16, verses 17 and 18, which says that the true believer "shall take up serpents" and not be harmed.

    Unfortunately this passage is either total bunkum or a certain lady in the East London Holiness Church in Kentucky is a, rather foolish, non-believer. When she was handed the snake on Sunday, the thing bit her and she died.

    Fancy your chances with a snake, David, Mr. Glover?

  62. David

    <i>PS. So, can we at least agree one set of these martyrs were not innocent?????.</i>

    They are all innocent in law having had their convictions overturned. Trying to convince yourself that they were really guilty is so much intellectual comfort food.

  63. "If you believe the Bible, you know God knows all things. Therefore the innocent life taken is in his plan. Hard to accept I know – but then God does not operate to our standards."

    so i can go out on the street with a machine gun and mow down allcomers?

    thats the same justification taken by evangelicals as a means to ignore environmental issues. its all gods plan. total donkey doos

  64. A careful study of the scriptures does indeed reveal a divine mandate for capital punishment for certain offences.
    Those , however,who on the one hand argue that a reverse of that position is true and then when their assertions are shown to be false attack the authority of the Bible are not to be taken seriously on this issue.

  65. "A careful study of the scriptures does indeed reveal a divine mandate for capital punishment for certain offences."

    show them.

  66. Rev: any relation to Monty Hall?

    Cunningham: the snake handlers are a distinct looney-tune sect that is hardly mainstream among fundamentalist Christians. Please, we have enough to deal with in this country without people thinking that we are awash with such crazies.

  67. Genesis 9:6 plainly states that the murderer is to be put to death.
    I am no relation to Monty

  68. reverend,

    I have quoted john 8 in the "nick of time" as an example of the restrictions on the Christian to persecution, as opposed to the encouragements of the Koran………………..
    how in the light of this scripture is the death sentence to be applied ?

  69. ps – your ian hall the free p right ?

  70. Rev Ian – and yet John 8:1-11 demonstrates Jesus standing up to a crowd intent on capital punishment.

    Um, not to belittle anyone’s faith, but just to save me time, would you be among those who believe in a literal interpretation of the Bible (talking snake, Adam and Eve in the Garden, evolution is wrong). Because if so, I may be spinning my wheels.