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The Death Penalty

Before we can decide whether the death penalty is a morally good institution, we must ask whether or not it is an effective one. Some say that the death penalty is vengeful, while others claim it is a deterrent to heinous crimes. There are also religious aspects to the death penalty, but even in religion, questions should be asked as to the reason. The families of those who have been wrongfully accused and sentenced to death are obviously living with terrible anger and resentment towards the governing bodies who institute the death penalty. So with all this in mind, where do we go with this issue?

The result of the death penalty in certain countries and states

In countries where the death penalty is law, heinous crimes such as first degree murder are less prevalent. This fact has been a large motivation for many people to call for the death penalty in their own country or state where it is not practiced. Countries such as South Africa reported that after the death penalty was done away with, crime exploded exponentially and a general disregard for the law was the result.

Ethics of the death penalty

Many who support the death penalty claim that it is morally right to take the life of a person who took the life of another. This actually has a deep religious base to it too. Orthodox Jewish law states: “An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.” However, many Christians are against the death penalty because of their beliefs that God should be the sole judge of a man’s actions and that people should forgive each other. This raises many interpretational questions as to which religious path to follow on this issue. Are humans morally wrong for implementing the death penalty, or morally wrong for not implementing it?

Those wrongfully accused

There have been a number of people falsely accused of murder and sentenced to death for crimes they did not commit. Families of these people are outraged and immediately put themselves in the anti-death penalty camp. However, their motives may be skewed because of their emotions.

There are many issues that must be discussed regarding the death penalty and for now, each country or state must decide for itself which path to take. We must weigh up the moral aspect, the religious aspect, and the historic aspect to consider before simply blurting out what we think we believe.

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