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George N. Boyd argues against the traditional position of the opponents of capital punishment that no crime ever "deserves" the death penalty, and suggests that the debate is not over what murderers deserve, but rather about how society should express and defend its fundamental values. His recommendation as to the best way to accomplish this is to acknowledge some murderers do "deserve" to lose their lives, but that society is better served by a commitment to the sanctity of human life by abstaining from taking it.
Even if one is sympathetic to the claim that a murderer deserves to die, there are compelling reasons not to entrust the power to decide who shall die to the persons and procedures that constitute our judicial system.
One of Rome’s prisoners gained unprecedented notoriety, partly as a result of his execution at their hands, and today the Roman equivalent of the electric chair is a religious symbol for hundreds of millions of Christians. Now, as during Roman times, capital punishment is nearly always reserved for the outsider, the feared and hated in our society.
Many church members seem to agree with the surrounding culture that those in prison deserve to be there, and the more they suffer, the better. Jason Byassee describes several Christian groups who have been successful in their different approach to "Prison Ministry."
A cogent defense of democratic ways already exists for us; we have only to render anew the counsel Lincoln offered in 1838. Included here is Lincolnís address, set in the context of the 1970s.
The theory that capital punishment deters crime is being reestablished by its proponents, evidence that there is no measurable difference in the homicide rates of capital-punishment and non-capital-punishment states.
A judge must have humility to seek his primary insights from outside his own moral reasoning: from the text of a constitutional provision, its historical background, the nationís widely recognized traditions, and the democratic body that passed the law that the judge is reviewing.
The author examines drugs, race and the American penal system.† He asserts that America is continuing to wage war, but† with a different weapon -- prisons -- and that incarceration is a new form of lynching.
A review of four books covering the field of capital punishment. The empirical grounding in the arguments of the authors makes a powerful and eloquent case for the abolition of the death penalty.
The subversive activities of the FBI, CIA and Department of Defense have seriously undermined the security of the Republic, within and without. Absent strong public pressure, the Congress may be unable to sustain a critical posture toward the executive branch with its insistent claim that national security requires public trust in secret power.
At its best the law is a guide to motives and actions that point toward what is holy. As a people, we do not wish to suffer under the law as institutionalized injustice that stands in the way of justice and decency. We seek a balanced vision of the law as necessary, and based on justice and suffused with love and mercy.
The extent of Christian confusion, clerical masochism and destructive illusions bodes ill for the future. A central and urgent task for the theologian is to address the problems of violence and the need for order within a legal democratic framework.
Maybe that grand goal of the good society is brought into being not by vigilante types, nor yet by romantic revolutionaries, nor by any visionary ideologies and scenarios of the right or left, but by the ambiguous resolution of human tragedies in thousands of little courtrooms across the land.
The author argues that the United States ought to accept the provision for an International Criminal Court, as worked out in Rome in the summer of 1998 and agreed to by most of the nations participating in the discussions.
A review of four books on the death penalty. Christians do not have the last word in the moral and ethical right of the state to engage in premeditated murder. For Jesus, the solution to the problem of the broken human relationship is not retribution -- not even the limitation of the lex talionis, equal damage -- but forgiveness.
Christians ought to be able to persuade non-Christians that the present prison system is not working and that, even on purely pragmatic grounds, its brutality and lack of counseling and support programs do more harm than good.