By Vernon W. Redekop
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Extra resources for A life for a life?: death penalty on trial
Not a sensitive administration of law, but an overwhelming force seeking revenge. Through force of muscle and technology, the problem will be solved. People will get both protection (the strong arm of the law) and the "joy" of getting even with all who are hurting them. Do we really want a government characterized by a "get-tough" mentality? What about the statement "Crime is a disease. Meet the cure"? The ad suggests that the cure is radical surgerycutting out, or cutting down the bad people. The "war-oncrime'' mentality carries an ironic twist: it supposes that a life-destroying revenge can be the means to a life-giving cure.
He did not suggest that the sinners and tax collectors be treated as they had treated others. When Jesus befriended tax collector Zacchaeus, the man responded by returning fourfold any money he had wrongfully collected. In relating Jesus' teaching to the death penalty, remember that those executed are often from the weakest communities in society. They tend to be poor, black, Native American, or a member of a visible minority group. Jesus made a special point of befriending persons from minority groups unpopular within the dominant culture.
Do your answers involve your religious faith? This book will assume that answers to these questions are important to you and others like you. You know that real people get killed by electric shock, hanging, injection, or firing squads; that real parents mourn the loss of a child who has been executed. You also understand that real victims suffer from the loss of spouse, children, and friends. They can spend years planning revenge. This book also assumes that our decision about the death penalty involves religion on its various levels.