A Southern Baptist seminary president says Christians should support the death penalty, but not necessarily how it is administered in the United States today.
Albert Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, said in a CNN commentary May 1 that “the Bible clearly calls for capital punishment in the case of intentional murder.”
“The death penalty was explicitly grounded in the fact that God made every individual human being in his own image, and thus an act of intentional murder is an assault upon human dignity and the very image of God,” Mohler said.
“In the simplest form, the Bible condemns murder and calls for the death of the murderer,” he said. “The one who intentionally takes life by murder forfeits the right to his own life.”
At the same time, Mohler said Christians should be outraged at “economic and racial injustice in how the death penalty is applied.”
“There is very little chance that a wealthy white murderer will ever be executed,” Mohler said. “There is a far greater likelihood that a poor African-American murderer will face execution.
“Why? Because the rich can afford massively expensive legal defense teams that can exhaust the ability of the prosecution to get a death penalty sentence.”
Mohler said talk about abolishing capital punishment points to a problem with society at large, and less with the death penalty itself.
“American society is quickly conforming to a secular worldview, and the clear sense of right and wrong that was Christianity’s gift to Western civilization is being replaced with a much more ambiguous morality,” he said.
“We have lost the cultural ability to declare murder — even mass murder — to be deserving of the death penalty.”
Mohler said the “secularizing of human identity” has made murder a less heinous crime in the minds of many Americans.
“Most would not admit this lower moral evaluation of murder, but our legal system is evidence that this is certainly true,” he said.
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SOURCE: Associated Baptist Press