Capital Punishment is morally wrong. Do you agree or disagree? Give reasons for your answer showing that you have thought about more than one point of view. You refer to Christianity in your answer.
‘Capital Punishment is morally wrong.’ Do you agree or disagree? Give reasons for your answer showing that you have thought about more than one point of view. You refer to Christianity in your answer.
Courts punish people who have broke the law in a variety of ways; some people get imprisoned; some have to pay fines; some have to do community service and for those who drink and drive get a driving ban. In some countries, people get executed – this is called Capital Punishment. Crucifixion, boiling in oil, drawing and quartering, impalements, beheading, burning alive, crushing, tearing asunder, stoning and drowning are all examples of Capital Punishment. During last year, 2000, at least, 457 prisoners were executed in 27 countries and 3,058 people were sentenced to death in 65 countries. These figures include only cases known to Amnesty International; the true figures are definitely higher. In 2000, 88 % of all known executions took place in China, Iran, Saudi Arabia and the USA. In China, the limited and incomplete records available to Amnesty International at the end of the year indicated that at least 1,000 people were executed, but the true figure was believed to be much higher. In Saudi Arabia, 123 executions were reported, but the total may have been much higher. 85 people were executed in the USA. At least 75 executions were carried out in Iran. In addition, hundreds of executions were reported in Iraq. Countries that do not provide the death penalty include Australia, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, United Kingdom, and Uruguay. 75 countries and territories have abolished the death penalty for all crimes. Countries that provide the death penalty include Afghanistan, Bangladesh, China, Iraq, Jamaica, Philippines, United States of America and Zimbabwe. International human rights treaties prohibit anyone under 18 years old at the time of the crime being sentenced to death. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the American Convention on Human Rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child all have provisions to this effect. More than 110 countries have laws, which provide for the death penalty for at least some offences and laws especially excluding the execution of child offenders. A small number of countries, however, continue to execute child offenders. It was only in 1998 when United Kingdom abolished the death penalty for all crimes. In the United Sates of America, the Death Penalty is currently allowed in one of five ways: hanging (the traditional method of execution throughout the English-speaking world), electrocution (introduced by the New York State in 1890), the gas chamber (adopted in Nevada in 1923), firing squad, or lethal injection (introduced in 1977 by Oklahoma). The majority of states provide the Death Penalty by lethal injection.
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The definition of moral or immoral is complex. Most experts agree that a moral act is one which society believes according to its own value. An immoral act is the opposite. An important question is whether these values are absolute or relative. Absolute values apply to all people at all times. Relative values vary according to time and place.
Jesus never gave his followers detailed teaching about Crime and Punishment. However, he did teach them about attitudes, which are important when thinking about Crime and Punishment. Jesus spent much of his time with people who were thought by others to be sinners. Jesus told many parables (e.g. Forgiving Father) which showed that God forgave sinners and was happy especially when a sinner reformed and turned back to God. ‘When some were about to stone a woman for adultery, Jesus said: “Whichever one of you has committed no sin may stone her first’’. (John 8:7) Everyone went way because they realised that they had all committed sin.’ Many Christians use the teaching of Jesus to show that punishment and forgiveness need to go together. They believe that punishment has to help reform the criminal. Forgiving others and asking forgiveness are an important part of Christian life. The ‘Our Father’ includes the words: ‘Forgive us our trespasses (sins) as we forgive those who trespass (sin) against us’ The Catholic Church teaches in the Catechism that the death penalty may still be used. However, the Catechism states that the cases in which it may be used are vary rare, if not practically non-existent.
The arguments in favour of Capital Punishment:
- The law should be based on ‘An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth’.
- Revenge is a natural human emotion.
- It deters (puts off) potential murderers.
- A so-called ‘life sentence’ is not punishment enough because they will be on the streets again in a few years.
The arguments not in favour for Capital Punishment:
- The law condemns murder and then goes and then goes on to murder in the name of the law.
- Society turns the executor into a murderer.
- In the past, the wrong person has been hanged.
- The death penalty is inhumane.
I believe that people should be sentenced to death on the basis of their crime. For example, if a person murdered or killed another person with motive, they should be sentenced death; but, if it is an accidental murder, then shouldn’t be killed. Basically, if the person wanted to kill the other person, they should be given the death penalty.