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Death Penalty

Death Penalty
Ronald Roy — Feb. 6, 2014

Casting aside what has become a common belief, if not a joke, that the death penalty was removed from our justice system because a very guilt-stricken Gloria Macapagal Arroyo did not wish it imposed on her after serving out her purloined term at the presidency, let us focus on a growing call for capital punishment’s restoration amidst the rising tide of criminality.
The issue of the death penalty is an issue as old as the concept of “justice” itself, predating as it does to the primacy and essentiality of “human life”, as recognized in the Old and New Testaments, indeed not only by the apostles, saints, prophets and some of today’s clergymen, but also by no less than Jesus Christ himself, who was sentenced to death after an unjust and wrongful trial but who, nonetheless, in accord with his Father’s plan, submitted himself to the sentence of crucifixion to redeem all of mankind from its wrongful deeds.
It will be recalled that capital punishment was abolished after GMA came back from a visit to Pope Paul ll who had allegedly asked her to consider the repeal of our death penalty law, thereby leaving strong undertones that such would also be God’s wish, if not command.
Much has been said about the pros and cons about capital punishment from great minds down the ages: saints, prophets, philosophers, legislators, politicians, criminologists, penologists, sociologists, biblical scholars and what have you, but there cannot be a source greater than the Bible on which to form judgments about the most exceptional gift of all from the Creator: human life. Hereunder are some compelling statements advocating capital punishment as an institution of divine justice.
One: In the New Testament, St. Paul, recognizing the legitimacy of capital punishment, says, “It is not without purpose that the ruler carries the sword. He is God’s servant who inflicts His vengeful wrath upon the wrongdoer.” (Romans 13:4)
Two: It is because humans are created in the image of God that capital punishment for premeditated murder was a perpetual obligation. The full weight of biblical data weighs in its favor. This is the one crime in the Bible for which no restitution was possible. (Numbers 35:31, 33)
Three: “The Christian community is called upon to articulate standards of Biblical justice, even when this may be unpopular. Capital justice is part of that non-negotiable standard. Society should execute capital offenders to balance the scales of moral judgement.” (Charles W. Colson)
Four: St. Thomas Aquinas finds all biblical interpretations against capital punishment “frivolous”, citing Exodus 22:18: “…wrongdoers, thou shalt not suffer to live.” Unequivocally he states, “The civil rulers execute, justly and sinlessly, pestiferous men in order to protect the peace of the state.” (Summa Contra Gentiles, lll, 146)
Five: God himself instituted the death penalty for murder (Genesis 9:6), and Christ regarded capital punishment as a just penalty for murder. (Mathew 26:52).
Six: “Life is sacred, and that is why God instituted the death penalty. Therefore, whoever takes innocent human life forfeits his own right to live.” (Rev. Reuben Hahn)
Seven: St. Thomas Aquinas, in Summa Contra Gentiles, Book lll, 146, says, “The fact that the evil, as long as they live, can be corrected from their errors does not prohibit the fact that they may be justly executed, for the danger that threatens from their way of life is greater and more certain than the good which may be expected from their improvement. They also have at that critical point of death the opportunity to be converted to God through repentance. And if they are so stubborn that even at the point of death their heart does not draw back from evil, it is possible to make a highly probable judgement that they would never come away from evil to the right use of their powers.” (End of citations)
The foregoing are but some of many persuasive Bible-based reasons why capital punishment should be maintained as a permanent policy of the State, and no further need is seen to ventilate the non-debatable fact that the death penalty is a deterrent to crime.
In the specific Philippine setting where the death penalty’s immediate restoration is seen as imperative, policy makers will do well to be guided by two overriding principles deducible from the biblical text on capital punishment, namely: 1) The restoration of the death penalty is imposed on them as a mandate from God, and 2) Capital punishment is applicable only in cases of premeditated murder.

(https://musingsbyroy.wordpress.com | 09186449517 | @ronald8roy | #musingsbyroy)

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