Beliefnet
J Walking

I’ve received several emails and read several comments about the death penalty – the gist is that I am wrong by opposing the death penalty. Two points:

First, that may well be correct. I may be wrong. Perhaps the death penalty is appropriate. I tend to side, however, with something the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops wrote a few years ago:

Our nation should forgo the use of the death penalty because:

The sanction of death, when it is not necessary
to protect society, violates respect for human
life and dignity.

State-sanctioned killing in our names diminishes
all of us.

Its application is deeply flawed and can be irre-
versibly wrong, is prone to errors, and is biased by
factors such as race, the quality of legal represen-
tation, and where the crime was committed.

We have other ways to punish criminals and
protect society.

Second, my belief that President Bush should have watched Saddam Hussein’s entire execution has nothing to do with belief in the relative morality of the death penalty and everything to do with taking responsibility for one’s actions. Plain and simple, he should have witnessed the execution.

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