• Demanding Less than Death for Capital Crimes Cheapens Life’s Value

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    Surge Summary: Anti-death penalty forces have lately turned up to overturn a planned execution. As usual, their arguments are unpersuasive – and miss the most important point.

    In the midst of everything else, the debate over the propriety of the death penalty continues. How can an advanced civilization take the lives of some evildoers in retribution of their misdeeds.

    Peter Heck informs:

    Last week the social justice world was worked into a lather over the execution of 40-year-old Brandon Bernard. As is so often the case, the woke crowd flagrantly exploited base emotionalism to turn offender into victim, refusing to even say the names of the actual victims, Todd and Stacie Bagley. That was the Christian youth minister couple who offered Bernard and his accomplice Christopher Vialva a ride when asked, and later shared Jesus with them even as Vialva shot them both in the head while Bernard burned them in the trunk of their own car.

    Forgiveness of the two killers was granted by Stacie Bagley, whose last words, “Jesus loves you,” surely rang in their ears up until the moment of their just executions. But the woke crowd demanded more. They demanded that forgiveness come not just from the victims of the heinous crime, but from the government that bears the moral imperative to punish it. Sometimes social justice seems breathtakingly at odds with justice.

    The anti-capital punishment crusaders deplored the other side, as usual resorting to a “relentless barrage of whataboutisms, dishonest comparisons, and false choices”.

    But Heck spied something in the heated back-and-forth: “None of them [death penalty opponents] actually addressed the morality of the death penalty.”

    • There were those who brought up the tragic cases of innocent people being executed. It’s a legitimate objection. There’s a reason our Founders created a judicial system where the burden of proof rests with the government. It is far better to live in a society where guilty people sometimes walk free than one where innocent people are sometimes executed. But notice, any argument about the execution of innocents is actually an argument to improve the judicial system, to demand eyewitness, DNA, or otherwise verifiable proof of guilt beyond circumstantial. But it is not an argument for or against the morality of a death sentence.

    • ”There was plenty of talk about race and the disproportionate application of the sentence. … [T]hat is an argument about fixing racial disparities within the judicial system; it is not an argument for or against the morality of a death sentence.

    • There were a number of references to the other countries of the world that carry out executions– countries like China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan. … As appealing as guilt by association logical fallacies may be, they do not amount to an argument for or against the morality of a death sentence.

    Of course, he “pro-life hypocrites” card was tossed on the table. How can you anti-abortion types also endorse the taking of a criminal’s life? Seems kinda contradictory!

    Heck provides a compelling response:

    • First, it is completely logical to hold that the value of a human life is so great, that demanding anything lessthan life as an accounting for its deprivation cheapens the victim’s inviolable human soul. … But beyond that, suffice it to say that those who advocate a personal right to kill innocent human babies in the womb, yet argue that government must not execute the vilest offenders of human rights, are attempting to shout down others from atop a pit of moral quicksand. “Kill babies/don’t execute murderers” is a much harder ethical sell than “Don’t kill babies/execute murderers.”

    And then there were those who decided to declare moral absolutes without citing any standard by which they were issuing it. One of them even ran for president not long ago!:

    Sorry, “Mayor Pete”, but as with so many other controversies, just sayin’ it don’t make it so. The appeal to Moral Law, as reflects Peter Heck, “obviously necessitates the existence of a Moral Lawgiver”. So where’s His brief against capital punishment? Where does the Judge of the Universe forbid punishing certain malefactors with the ultimate, human sanction?

    As is so often the case with progressive moralists addressing marquee ethical, right/wrong issues (whether abortion, sex, war, the death penalty and the like), they dodge the fundamental questions.

    We’ve heard the periphery objections, all of which have merit and deserve to be addressed. But the core moral question – is it even morally permissible for a civil society to demand less than an accounting of blood for the intentional, unjustified taking of an innocent human life? For those who hold life in its sanctified, highest regard, it’s hard to imagine believing so without cheapening the value of a being bearing the inviolable image of Almighty God.

    A thoughtful consideration reveals the application of the death penalty, when deserved, is pretty pro-life after all.

    The views here are those of the author and not necessarily Daily Surge

    H/T: Disrn

    Image: CC BY-SA 3.0;  http://alphastockimages.com/; Nick Youngson; http://www.nyphotographic.com/; https://www.thebluediamondgallery.com/legal/capital-punishment.html

    Peter Heck is an author, speaker, and teacher from Kokomo, Indiana. An author of nine books, Peter’s opinions have been published in The Washington Times, Washington Post, USA Today, and on CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News.

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