Contra capital punishment; evaluation of statistics and arguments

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China, Iran, Vietnam, America, and Saudi Arabia. Perhaps this list of countries, including the world's largest communist nation and a Muslim nation comparable to a nuclear time bomb, would seem odd to include the United States of America as an element, but it should not. This list of countries reveals something that has gone terribly wrong in America, a nation which, supposedly, stands for certain "unalienable rights" of "Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness." This is a ranking, beginning with the Republic of China, of nations that executed the largest number of citizens in 2004 via capital punishment ("Facts and Figures on the Death Penalty"). As young persons of America, we must be alarmed at the systematic and governmental destruction of our fellow citizens. As Kofi Anon, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, sardonically inquired, "Does it make sense for the state to hire murderers to kill defenseless victims on death row, in order to prove that hiring murderers to kill defenseless victims is morally wrong?" In the not-so-distant future, we will be inheriting the reigns of the federal, state, and local governments, and now is the time for us to insure that we are not inheriting the reigns of death. We must firmly reject these reigns and realize that capital punishment is historically unchristian, economically disadvantageous, and socially prejudicial, standing as a perverse monument of a truly horrific past.

Any knowledge whatsoever of the early Christian writers reveals a profound disgust for capital punishment, a tool of decidedly pagan rulers. The fourth century writer, Lactantius, comments:

For when God forbids us to kill, He not only prohibits us from open violence, which is not even allowed by the public laws, but He warns us against the commission of those things which are esteemed lawful among men. Thus it will be neither lawful for a just man to engage in warfare...nor to accuse any one of a capital charge....Therefore, with regard to this precept of God, there ought to be no exception at all but that it is always unlawful to put to death a man, whom God willed to be a sacred animal. (Lactantius)

Tertullian, a second century Christian author, also stands out, like Lactantius, for his complete anathema against capital punishment. Some modern Christians detach themselves from the traditional roots of Christianity and cite many Old Testament verses in support of capital punishment. However, this approach completely misinterprets the Christian heritage of America, confusing with the United States with some bulwark of Judaism instead. If these persons look at the rest of the Old Testament, then they would find plenty of Judaic laws they disagree with, such as laws against clean-shaven clergy (Lev. 21:5) or the eating of pork (Deut. 14:8). For if the laws of "an eye for an eye" are binding on Christians, then certainly are the rest of the commandments of Pentauch, the first five books of the Old Testament. Therefore, supporters of capital punishment must surely have ulterior motives either to transform America into a Jewish state, to drag the nation back into the heathen eras, or to coerce the country into unacceptable lies.

For many, capital punishment seems economically advantageous. However free these people are to opine, does not excuse their inability to check the facts. Recently, Professor Jeffrey Fagan of Columbia Law School was brought into a death penalty trial to represent the high costs of capital punishment nationwide. He said that:

The costs of capital punishment are extremely high. Even in states where prosecutors infrequently seek the death penalty, costs of obtaining convictions and executions in capital cases range from $2.5 to $5 million dollars per case (in current dollars), compared to less than $1 million for each killer sentenced to life without parole. Local governments bear the burden of these costs, diverting $2 million per capital trial from local services -...
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