Theology on Tap

Capital punishment


  • Categories: Faith
  • Event posted: Sept. 29, 2011
  • Last updated: Sept. 16, 2014

Event details

Early this month at the Republican presidential debate, Rick Perry was applauded for presiding over 234 executions during his term as Texas governor. “I think Americans understand justice,” Perry explained. “I think Americans are clearly in the vast majority of cases, supportive of capital punishment.”

Just last week Troy Davis was executed in Georgia after national protests. Even a plea from the Pope was unable to sway the six Roman Catholic Supreme Court justices. Days leading up to the execution, comparisons were made between Davis and Lawrence Brewer, an unapologetic white-supremacist. Brewer was one of three men found guilty of the murder of James Byrd Jr, an African American dragged to death behind a truck.

What shapes our sense of justice? Do the Gospels say anything pertinent for us today about capital punishment?

In Matthew, Jesus says, “You have heard that it was said, an for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person... you have heard that it was said, love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you...” (5:38-39, 43-44)

What about the story in John 8:3-11, where Jesus saves an adulteress from being stoned to death?

Can these teachings apply to our laws? What about our society?

When can we judge? How do we keep our society safe? Is there is a time and place for capital punishment?

Theology on Tap is Tonight (5:30) at Henry's bar (upstairs at 8th & New Hampshire).


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