Arguments against death penalty fall short

Published 8:53 pm Wednesday, June 27, 2001

By Staff
To the editor:
There has been a renewed interest in the death penalty in recent weeks. Most comments that are against it fall into one of two categories. First, there is the religious appeal that it is against the commandment that says, "Thou shalt not kill." The second approach is that it is not a deterrent to murder.
In the first case, those who appeal to the commandment have not done their homework in Bible study. The commandment, Exodus 13:20, refers to murder by a person, not justice by the civil authority. You will note that in the very next chapter, Exodus 21:12, it says "He that smiteth a man so that he die, shall be surely put to death."
The second objection, that capital punishment is not a deterrent, may or may not be true depending on which survey or poll you read. What is true is that it is irrelevant. We are talking about punishment, not deterrence. In a essay on the death penalty, the Rev. E.H. Taylor says, " … It is defensible as retributive, deserved punishment."
There is much more to be said in support of the death penalty as justice, but you like your letters to the editor to be brief and to the point, so I shall end here.
Very truly yours,
Charles W. Laue

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