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News Link • Criminal Justice System

Would Jesus Support the Death Penalty?

•, Jonathan Merritt
 “On the death penalty, do what you think Jesus would have you do.”

These were the words my friend and anti-death-penalty activist Shane Claiborne told Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam in a chance encounter outside the Nashville War Memorial last week. Heavily populated by Christians, Tennessee is also on the verge of a death-penalty revival. State officials approved a new lethal-injection drug during Holy Week—the week Christians reflect on Jesus’s execution—legislators passed a bill to reinstate the electric chair.*

Claiborne’s advice to Haslam was not original. He was riffing on the late Mother Teresa, who at the behest of Father John Dear urged California Governor George Deukmejian in 1990 to grant clemency to an inmate waiting for execution on San Quentin’s death row. “Do what Jesus would do,” she advised him.

2 Comments in Response to

Comment by Ed Price
Entered on:

Of course Jesus supports the death penalty.

Consider near the end of the New Testament book of John. Look at the time when Judas, the betrayer, came with the mob of thugs sent by the chief priest, to the Mount of Olives to capture Jesus. Jesus said (not necessarily exact words), "Who are you looking for?" The mob answered, "Jesus of Nazareth." When Jesus said, "I am he," they all stepped back and fell to the ground.

After they got back up, Jesus asked them again, "Who are you looking for?" Again they said, "Jesus of Nazareth." Jesus responded, "I am he. But let these others go (referring to His disciples)," which they did, of course.

Jesus knew that He was going to His death. If He did not support the death penalty, the mob would not have simply fallen to the ground when He said "I am he" the first time. Who knows what would have happened to them? They might all simply have been instantly transported back to their individual homes, frightened and wondering how they got there.

Or, look at the places where Jesus says, "Not one jot or one tittle will fail out of the Law until everything is fulfilled." The Law - Law of Moses - says, "... eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, life for life," meaning, "property for property," right down to the death penalty. If Jesus was not in favor of appropriate use of the death penalty, He would have changed this.

Appropriate use of the death penalty includes "life for life" for all those in authority who use the death penalty on others negligently or criminally.

Comment by Powell Gammill
Entered on:

Well of course Jesus must have been a big supporter of lawful government because those who interpret the bible tell us so that God loves lawful government and lawful taxes. 

And since Jesus was lawfully found guilty of treason and sentenced to death and lost his appeal he must have been quite supportive of his execution being carried out in the lawfully proscribed manner.

That must have been why he forgave them from the cross.  Jesus Christ . . . Pro-Government, Pro-Tax, Pro-Military, Pro-Justice, Pro-Death Penalty.

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