Believers Divided Over the Death Penalty
ChristiaNet.com, a large Christian portal with eight million monthly page loads, recently asked, "Should Christians support the death penalty?" President of ChristiaNet, Bill Cooper, stated, "Believers seem to be split down the middle on the death penalty. Taking a life as punishment for murder is a sensitive issue."
Out of 1,100 Christians surveyed, 49% were in favor of the death penalty. Many in this group felt that "an eye for an eye" was appropriate judgment. "An eye for an eye . . . People like Scott Peterson have no conscience for what they do. Lacy and Connor lost their life. Should I say more? Death is the only punishment that fits a horrendous crime." Another poller stated, "If a person kills another intentionally, he should lose his own life. I believe it would be a greater deterrent to others who so freely kill because they can get away with very little sentencing." Others also cited Genesis 9:6, "Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man."
Thirty-eight percent of those polled adamantly opposed the death penalty. One respondent stated, "Look at Matthew 5:38-45: Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also...Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies..."
Thirteen percent remained unsure about whether to support the death penalty or not. "I am ambivalent because of false convictions that are later revealed by DNA testing. I would more readily consent to life imprisonment without parole. Proof of innocence does no good after you're dead." Another respondent said, "We can't look back to the Old Testament to make a decision because we're not under that now. I just know that I wouldn't want to be the one to decide. But something needs to be done with those who murder and maim people."
To help educate Christians on the topic of making moral decisions, ChristiaNet has just released a free Cultural Issues Quiz. Using the latest interactive technology, one can test their Biblical knowledge on issues facing the Christian community.