Today being Good Friday, I have to confess that I have long pondered the fact that so many self-described Christians are pro-death penalty. One would think that people who claim to worship a deity that manifested as an innocent man who was brutally executed would be against the execution of criminals... especially since eventual exonerations are not uncommon. The incompatibility of the death penalty with the teachings of the Gentle Nazarene becomes even more stark when one ponders the actual words of the Gospel (in this case Matthew 5:
38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ 39 But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. 40 And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. 41 If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. 42 Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
It's almost as if death penalty supporters don't really care that innocents have been executed... it seems that other considerations are at work in the application of the death penalty.
Bumper stickers that say "Keep Christ in Christmas" are quite popular... maybe we need ones that say "Keep Christ in Christianity".