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Is The Death Penalty Right or Wrong? Part 1

While preaching near Toronto, Canada I talked with a man who was the youngest police chief in Ireland. He said, “Dr. Boys, you might be interested to know that we asked nineteen convicted killers if they would have killed if Ireland had the death penalty.” He said, “All the killers replied that they would not have killed if Ireland had a death penalty.” Well, that’s from the experts!

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I think we can agree that if the death penalty is right then it is also good and if it is wrong, it is also bad? Of course, our first concern should be, what does the Bible teach about the state putting people to death? If we can ascertain that, then it doesn’t matter what philosophers, theologians, sociologists, criminologists and weeping, whining, and whimpering liberals have to say about the subject.

Genesis 9:6 clearly teaches that if a man sheds another person’s blood, then his life will be taken by the government. Moses wrote, “whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.” When a person premeditatedly takes a life, he not only assaults society but also attacks God since man was made in His image. For those who accept the Bible as binding on what we believe and practice, that should settle the issue.

However, sincere people tell us that God also told us, “Thou shalt not kill” so killing is wrong, but informed Sunday school pupils know that that verse means, “Thou shalt do no murder.” And of course, we should not murder. If there were a Bible prohibition against all killing then we would be prohibited from killing a fly, beef, hog, etc. Nor could we kill in times of war or self defense, but that is not the issue. The issue is murder.
We are experiencing about 20,000 killings each year in the US, but back before the states stopped putting killers to death, we “only” had 10,000 per year. When the death penalty was stopped in 1965, an additional 10,000 people were killed each year! We had been executing about 50 killers per year, but we stopped executing killers, and the result was 10,000 additional innocent people being killed each year! We only execute one killer for every 10,000 victims! That’s why I say we are playing with the death penalty even though three-fourths of Americans want killers executed. It’s not vengeance but justice.

Some states are back to executing killers, but we are only playing with the death penalty. Execution is still not sure and very slow coming to the killers. A killer should know that after a fair, fast trial and one appeal, he goes to the chair! He should be in the grave before the first anniversary of his victim’s death. Will the number of killings go down if each state really gets serious about executing the killers? I’m not sure, but that’s not the issue. Killers deserve to die. The blood of innocent ones cries out for justice, and one thing is sure: the executed killer will never kill again. Often, the bleeding hearts tell us that a man must be insane to take a life so they put him in a mental hospital, but studies show that they are back on the streets in a few years. I said years ago, “If they are truly insane, lock’em and leave’em. If sane, try’em and fry’em.”
But why not be humane and give the killer life in prison without possibility of parole? That still doesn’t satisfy the scriptural demand that killers be killed, nor does it speak to justice. It also puts prison guards in jeopardy.  Why not kill a guard during an escape attempt? Why not kill a fellow-prisoner during a fight?  After all, the killers have nothing to lose. A life sentence can’t be any longer than life! And why shouldn’t thieves or kidnappers kill witnesses if there were no death penalty hanging over their heads?

To hear death penalty opponents talk, you would think that our only argument is the deterrent effect of the death penalty. That is only an insignificant argument. (however, an executed killer never kills again)!  They often point out that states without the death penalty have about the same killings as those that do execute killers. Of   course, no one says that all killers are deterred. We know that no law deters everyone. But we do not know how many thousands of men thought of taking a life, then considered the death penalty and changed their minds.

Furthermore, we do know that many criminals have not taken guns to their crime scene because they might be forced to kill someone and “get the chair.” That is a deterrent.
While preaching near Toronto, Canada I talked with a man who was the youngest police chief in Ireland. He said, “Dr. Boys, you might be interested to know that we asked nineteen convicted killers if they would have killed if Ireland had the death penalty.” He said, “All the killers replied that they would not have killed if Ireland had a death penalty.” Well, that’s from the experts!

Tags: death penalty, , thou shalt not kill