The Two Different Cases Regarding Capital PunishmentMaria HallEnglish 112Thesis : In principle a case can be made on moral grounds both supporting andopposing capital punishment.
Two different cases can be made. One is based on justice and the nature of amoral community. This leads to a defense of capital punishment.
The second isbased on love and the nature of an ideal spiritual community. This leads to arejection of capital punishment.JUSTICE AND THE NATURE OF MORAL COMMUNITYA central principal of a just society is that every person has an equal right to”life, liberity, and happiness.
” Within that, an arguement for capitalpunishment forms along the following lines: some acts are so evil and sodestructive of a community that they void the right of the perpetrator to life.A community founded on moral principals has specific requirements. The right tobelong to a community is not unconditional.
The privilege of living andpursuing the good life in society is not certain. The essential reason on whichcommunity is built requires each citizen to honor the rightful claims of others.The precious live in a moral community must be so highly honored that those whodo not honor the life of others void their own right to membership. Those whoviolate the personhood of others, especially if this is done persistently as ahabit must pay the ultimate price. This must be done for the sake of thecommunity which was violated. We can debate whether some non-lethal alternativeis a suitable substitute for the death penalty. But the standard of judgment iswhether the punishment fits the crime and if it honors the nature of the moralcommunity.
LOVE AND AN IDEAL SPIRITUAL COMMUNITYChristian live, is unconditional. It does not depend on the worthiness or valueof those to whom it is directed. It is persistent in seeking the good of othersregardless of whether they return the favor or even deserve to be treated wellon the basis of their own wrongdoing. An ideal community would be made up pffree and equal citizens devoted to a balance between individual needs and theadvancement of common good.
Communal life would be based on mutual love inwhich equality of giving and receiving was the social practise. Everyone wouldcontribute to the best of ability.What would a community based on this kind of love do with those who committedbrutal acts of terror, violence, and murder? Put negatively, it would not liveby the philosophy of “an eye for an eye,a tooth for a tooth, and a life for alife.” It would act to safeguard the members of the community from furtherdestruction. Those whe had shown no respect for life ould be restrained,permanently if necessary, so that they could not endanger othe members of thecommunity. An ideal community would show mercy even to those who had shown nomercy.
It would return good for evil. Some kind of service to the communitymight be required as a way of partially making amends.In brief, is the argument for and against capital punishment, one founded onjustice and the nature of moral community, the other resting on love and thenature of an ideal spiritual community. If we stand back from this descriptionand make an attempt at evaluation, one point is crucial. The love ethicrequires a high degree of moral achievement and maturity. It is more suitablefor small, closely-knit communities in which members know each other personallyand in some depth. Forgiveness is best in a setting in which people canparticipate in each aother’s lives.
In short, for the moment the Christian witness to society is this: firstdemonstrate that capital punishment can be administered in a just and efficientmanner. Then we will debate with you as to whether capital punishment is inpriciple necessary, fitting and right or whether a humane society will find non-lethal alternatives to protect citizens from persistently violent criminals.Until then the church should say “no” to this extreme measure.