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The Death Penalty in America

The Death Penalty in America

The law of God is, “Thou Shalt Not Kill” (Bible 79 ), and every system of ethics and rules of our society echoes that law. For decades, state and federal leaders have struggled with opposing views of the death penalty. Many minds have endured this difficult question-Who says it is right to take another human’s life because of an act that he/she committed?

The death penalty is the most severe sentence that can be administered to a criminal (Capital Punishment 1). There are only fourteen states in the United States that prohibit capital punishment, Iowa being among them (Death Penalty 1).

In the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution of the United States, it is stated that cruel and unusual punishment is prohibited. In opposer’s minds, capital punishment is classified as cruel and unusual. There are many methods of execution used by the various states. These range from hanging to firing squads. These methods are extremely barbaric practices that occur in a supposed modernized civilization.

When considering what a disgrace capital punishment is to our society, the Bible offers a great deal of guidance. In the book of Matthew, verses one and two, a council of religious leaders condemned Christ. These religious leaders had to persuade the Roman government to sentence Jesus to death because the did not have the authority to do it themselves. In biblical times, religious leaders were often considered to be lesser than only the Roman government and God Himself. People realized that humans are not supposed to have authority to execute fellow humans, and that is why so few people possessed that power.

Statistics now show that the infliction of the death penalty is becomi…

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…I feel very strongly, however, that the answer is clear. Since childhood we have been taught to follow the “Golden Rule,” or, do unto others as you would have done unto you. Supporters of the death penalty need to be reminded of this often and think about what they are in favor of standing for.

Works Cited

Capital Punishment: Life or Death..

“Cruel and Unusual Punishment.” The Economist 17 Feb. 1996:27.

Death Penalty.

“Death Penalty Debate Continues.” America 10 May 1997:3.

Endres, Michael E., The Morality of Capital Punishment. Mystic, Connecticut: Twenty-Third, 1985.

The Holy Bible. Matthew chapter 27, verses 1, 2.

What the Bible Says About the Death Penalty.

Death Penalty is Another Name for Revenge

“An execution is not simply death. It is just as different from the

privation of life as a concentration camp is from prison. It adds to

death a rule, a public premeditation known to the future victim, an

organization which is itself a source of moral sufferings more terrible

than death. Capital punishment is the most premeditated of murders, to

which no criminal’s deed, however calculated can be compared. For there

to be an equivalency, the death penalty would have to punish a criminal

who had warned his victim of the date at which he would inflict a

horrible death on him and who, from that moment onward, had confined him

at his mercy for months. Such a monster is not encountered in private

life.” -Albert Camus

There have been at least 349 people wrongly convicted of crimes

punishable by death since 1900. -Stanford Law Review 1987. How can

fallible human beings allow themselves to impose a punishment that is

irrevocable? Capital Punishment is cruel, especially in botched

execution cases. It is cheaper to contain a prisoner for life than it is

to kill one. The death penalty is imposed unequally among the races.

Capital punishment isn’t an effective crime deterrent. Innocent persons

will inevitably be executed as long as capital punishment remains a part

of our legal system. For these reasons, capital punishment should be


Capital punishment is cruel and unusual. Many would argue this statement

false, but how can an execution that requires repeated attempts be


On December 12th, 1984 Alpha Otis Stephens was electrocuted. The first

jolt of electricity, which lasted for two minutes, did not kill him.

Officials waited for six minutes to allow Stephens’ body to cool, so

physicians could examine him. Upon examination, it was declared that a

second jolt was needed. During the six minute interval, it was reported

that Stephens took 23 breaths. -

Donald Eugene Harding was executed in a gas chamber in the state of

Arizona on April 6th, 1992. Cameron Harper (a reporter for KTVK-TV)

said, “I watched Harding go into violent spasms for 57 seconds.” Harper

continued, “Then he began to convulse less frequently. His back muscles

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