Tag Archives: Moral equivalence

Pro-capital punishment = pro-life

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I received a comment on this old post so I thought I would re-run it.

First, the comment.

I could only get through about the first few paragraphs before getting bored of the same old hypocrisy.  If killing people is wrong, then killing anyone is wrong. And that includes killing those that kill.

My reply:

Can you see the difference between A and B?

A. Innocent but unwanted human being crushed and dismembered in the womb with no appeals.

B. Convicted rapist / murderer put to death in least painless way possible after surviving 10+ years of appeals.

If you can’t, then rational dialog here will be impossible.

Too many people confuse the principle of capital punishment and the practice. There is nothing wrong with capital punishment in principle: A life for a life. There can be things worth debating about CP in practice.

There are 20,000+ abortions in the U.S. per week and one capital punishment. If anyone thinks CP is unfairly applied then they are welcome to oppose it. But if they are pro-legalized abortion then I will mock them until my fingertips are raw.

The original post

Huh?  How can a pro-capital punishment position be considered pro-life?  OK, I’ll concede that it isn’t particularly pro-life for the one receiving the death penalty.  But it is pro-life for the rest of us.  For what it is worth, I do prison ministry and know more murderers than most people do.  I’m not all hot-blooded about killing people, I just don’t like to see bad arguments on either side of the issue.

I realize that the media, pro-choice people and comedians like to mock the alleged inconsistency of pro-lifers who are also pro-capital punishment (“They oppose killing in the womb but don’t mind it for those outside the womb!  Ha!”).    I’ve heard many Christians poke fun at it as well.

But that argument is just a foolish sound bite, as it assumes that killing an innocent unborn human being is morally equivalent to killing a convicted murderer.   One is innocent, the other guilty.  If they want to argue against capital punishment then they need better reasoning than that.

Capital punishment is pro-life in that it regards the taking of innocent human life as the greatest crime, and thus deserving of the greatest punishment.  It also recognizes the deterrent effect as well as the prevention of future murders (executed criminals hardly ever kill again).  Therefore, it seeks to preserve additional innocent lives.  This is consistent with the pro-life view that abortions are permissible if the life of the mother is at stake.

If people want to make jokes about inconsistencies, a better example would be those who don’t mind the crushing and dismemberment of innocent human beings (without anesthetic) but protest when a convicted murderer is to be executed and who want to ensure he dies as painlessly as possible.

As always, I am pro-choice provided that the unborn get the same 10 years of appeals that convicted murderers do.

Perhaps we should just call capital punishment “123rd trimester abortions.”  Then the pro-choicers would support it.

Finally, consider how many pro-legalized abortionists wax philosophical about how we just don’t know when life begins.  Aside from the scientific fact that life begins at conception, they never consider erring on the side of caution.  If you aren’t sure where life begins, wouldn’t it be prudent to err on the side of life?  But here’s the bigger irony: While they ignore that rather obvious point, they have no problem saying we should never use capital punishment because we might be executing someone who is innocent.

I realize that there can be legitimate concerns about whether capital punishment is always applied fairly, but that is a topic for another day.  Just for the record I do have concerns about how it is applied in the U.S. If we used a Biblical model for justice (i.e., two eye witnesses and punishments for perjury equivalent to the crime in question) then I’d be more comfortable with it.

Also see ineffective arguments against capital punishment and somewhat effective arguments against capital punishment.