Death Penalty from a Secular Humanist Point of View
The United States remains in the minority of nations in the world that still uses death as penalty for certain crimes. Many see the penalty as barbaric and against American values. Others see it as a very important tool in fighting violent pre-meditated murder.
From my point of view as a secular humanist, death penalty should be banned as a form of punishment.
Secular humanism is a philosophical school of thought that advocates the use of reason, compassion, scientific inquiry, ethics, justice, and equality. It appeals to agnostics, atheists, freethinkers, rationalists, skeptics, and materialists. Secular Humanism often finds itself in conflict with religious fundamentalism over the issue of separation of church and state.
They believe that "moral values derive their source from human experience." Since most believe that an afterlife is nonexistent, they regard life here on earth to be particularly precious. They are highly motivated to alleviating pain and misery around the world. Many are active in refugee, human rights, anti-death penalty, environmental groups, etc.
They believe not in God, but that people create their own meaning in life. They tend to have very liberal beliefs about controversial ethical topics, like abortion, corporal punishment of children, death penalty, prayer in schools, homosexuality, physician assisted suicide, etc.
Even if one supposes that capital punishment is morally justifiable, there are many good reasons to oppose it.
1. Sometimes, there are people wrongly found guilty and sentenced to death, and, in all likelihood, some of them have been, and will be, executed. In 1987, a study was published by the Stanford Law Review. They found some evidence that suggested that at least 350 people between 1900 and 1985 in America might have been innocent of the crime for which they were convicted, and could have been sentenced to death. 139 actually... [continues]
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