What say ye theologians about John Muhammad?

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A Virginia jury has just decided that John Muhammad should recieve death as the penalty for his crimes. In light of Matthew 5 how do we theologically justify the use of the death penalty

-- Anonymous, November 24, 2003


I have struggled with the death penalty more than any single issue in my Christian walk. It wasn't until recently (last year) that I rejected my prior beliefs and now I am a death penalty opponent. I guess you can say I had a Damascus Road type experience. Granting the government the ultimate sanction to execute a fellow human being, given the probability of juridical error, has never sat well with my conscience. If I am an opponent of abortion I must be logically consistent to oppose "Old Sparky" as a form of criminal deterrence as well. Now I do believe that John Muhammad is close to being evil incarnate. A sentencing of life imprisonment with no possibility of parole would be a "just" sentence. The irony is much like reprehensible felons before him, Muhammad's life expectancy will be extremely short once he enters prison and he is subject to "prison justice". I'm sure everyone understands my code reference. QED

-- Anonymous, November 24, 2003

In my youth I was opposed to the death penalty and even now I still wrestle with it. The Bible clearly gives the government the authority and responsibility to administer the death penalty. Here in Texas we have what is called a Victim Impact statement which allows the victims of a capital crime say whatever they chose to the condemned inmate during the scentencing phase. We also allow suviving victims to witness the execution. The purpose of these two steps is to help the victims to experience closure. It not only has not been effective but I think it is morally wrong. I believe the Bible teaches us that the condemned inmate has a right to die with dignity and should be allowed to do so. Otherwise, we, the state become as the condemned inmate.

BE Blessed

-- Anonymous, November 24, 2003

You know Brother Gibson:

I understand the crimes that John Muhammad committed, and I believe that he is an evil man. He appears cool, detached and shows no remorse for what he's done. Unfortunately, there are people in this world like this, but I still cannot justify the death penalty. Cain slew Abel and God banished him to the land of Nod. When Jesus was questioned about taking a life he said to worry about a person's spirit more than his physical being. Therefore, I do not believe in the death penalty. But it is hard to look evil in the eye and not want to end its existence.

There is still one thing picking at me in this case. It bothers me in the spirit. The prosecutors, on learning of the death penalty sentence rejoiced. With all that John Muhammad did, I still believe it is wrong for prosecution (in whatever trial) to rejoice at a death sentence.

-- Anonymous, November 26, 2003

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