A Higher Court of Things

September 23, 2011

By Rev. Ronald Rolheiser

We argue back and forth about whether or not [the death penalty] is a deterrent to crime, whether or not it eases the hurt of the families of the victims, and whether or not it is humane; but each of these questions is arguable and each side compiles its own statistics and anecdotal evidence to support its arguments. Simply on the basis of justice, a strong case can be made either way. However, if we move the argument into the realm of Christian discipleship, the ambiguity disappears: for a disciple of Jesus, capital punishment is always wrong and should never be done (independent of any arguments about justice) because it goes against the very heart of the gospel, namely, we are supposed to forgive murderers not kill them.

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