Capital Punishment and Christianity
The Morality of Capital Punishment
What Abolitionists Say and What They Mean
Death Penalty Related Sites
Putting to death people judged to have committed certain extremely heinous crimes is a practice
of ancient standing, but in the United States in the latter half of the twentieth century, it has
become a very controversial issue. Changing views on this difficult issue and many legal
challenges to capital punishment working their way through the courts resulted in a halt to
executions in the United States in 1967. Eventually, the Supreme Court placed a moratorium on
capital punishment in 1972 but later upheld it in 1977, with certain conditions.
My state of New York is a state that practiced capital punishment since its colonial days, then
abolished it in 1965. But now, as of September 1, 1995, the death penalty is back in the books in
accordance to Governor Pataki's campaign promise. As a staunch supporter of the death penalty,
I consider this to be a good thing for my state and its citizens.
Indeed, restoring capital punishment is the will of the people, yet many voices are raised against
it. Heated public debate centers on questions of deterrence, public safety, sentencing equity, and
the execution of innocents, among others. I have listened and read the arguments opposing the
death penalty and I find that they are not at all convincing. Here's why:
Return to Contents
THE DETERRENT EFFECT OF CAPITAL PUNISHMENT:
One argument states that the death penalty does not deter murder. Dismissing capital punishment
on that basis requires us to eliminate all prisons as well because they do not seem to be any more
effective in the deterrence of crime.
Others say that states which do have the death penalty have higher crime rates than those that
don't, that a more severe punishment only inspires more severe crimes. I must point out that
every state in the union is different. These differences include the populations, number of cities,
and yes, the crime rates. Strongly urbanized states are more likely to have higher crime rates than
states that are more rural, such as those that lack capital punishment. The states that have capital
punishment are compelled to have it due to their higher crime rates, not the other way around.