- Virginia Brown
In Praise of Capital Punishment
A common criticism made by pro-life critics is that pro-lifers aren’t consistent because they support capital punishment. The thinking goes, “If pro-lifers were consistent, they would oppose the death penalty, not support it. Because they aren’t consistent, their pro-life position is faulty.” Such an argument depends on the rightness of capital punishment. Should Christians support the state’s right to execute criminals?
Absolutely. The Bible presents clear testimony in both the Old (Gen 9:5–6) and New (Rom 13:4) testaments regarding the legitimacy of the death penalty. One commentator ties these two passages together when he explains, Paul would not have flinched in endorsing the right of ruling authorities to practice capital punishment, since Gen 9:6 supports it by appealing to the fact that human beings are made in God’s image.
This issue seems cut and dry to me. God allows the state to wield the sword. What else does He need to say on the matter!? Nothing.
God permits the death penalty because life is sacred. To be pro-life means that we uphold the value of life, even to the point of ending the life of those who harm others. Life is so special that it must be protected in this way. If it isn’t, then the sacredness of life is lost. A consistent pro-life position requires Christians to support capital punishment.