Why Do Christians Use Capital Punishment?

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Capital punishment is the government’s or state’s right to legally authorize the death penalty as a punishment for a crime. Throughout human history, this punishment has been utilized by governments to deal with everyone from convicted criminals and innocent prisoners of the state. But now states and governments are faced with the ethical question of whether it is justified for the state to possess such power over its people. This question is closely tied to the morals of a given population which historically have been shaped by that population’s culture especially its religion. The purpose of this paper is to look at Christianity and Islam, two of the most widely practiced religious doctrines in the world today, and to find what effect they …show more content…
For example, Pope Innocent the III put forward the proposition that "the secular power can, without mortal sin, exercise judgment of blood, provided that it punishes with justice, not out of hatred, with prudence, not precipitation." (Christianity and capital punishment.) This was further reinforced in 1566 when the Roman Catechism stated that the power of life and death had been entrusted to the civil authorities, and the use of this power does not equal murder, but rather supreme obedience to the commandments. (Christianity and capital punishment.) This entrusting of authority to the state to maintain order between its peoples worked to enforce the moral standard of the church through the law of the state which for much of history until the modern era would be intertwined. (Unnever & Cullen, …show more content…
This is emphasized by Jesus who although preaches against the use of violence, he at no point denies the state’s authority to exact capital punishment. It can also be argued that capital punishment affirms the commandment “thou shall not kill,” by affirming the seriousness of the crime of murder. (Gudorf, 2013) This argument for the death penalty is based on the interpretation of the commandment, but some Christians argue against this by believing that the commandment is to be taken literally. Thus the commandment is an absolute prohibition on the killing of another human being no matter the

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