Religion and the death penalty

An insightful article by Walter Berns.

Whatever the reason, there is surely a connection between the death penalty and religious belief.

Indeed, the divine instruction is founded on the knowledge of God:

Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made man.

Genesis 9:6

Berns goes on to link belief in the death penalty to a heart passionate for justice:

Punishment has its origins in the demand for justice, and justice is demanded by angry, morally indignant men, men who are angry when someone else is robbed, raped, or murdered, men utterly unlike Camus’s Meursault. This anger is an expression of their caring, and the just society needs citizens who care for each other, and for the community of which they are parts. One of the purposes of punishment, particularly capital punishment, is to recognize the legitimacy of that righteous anger and to satisfy and thereby to reward it. In this way, the death penalty, when duly or deliberately imposed, serves to strengthen the moral sentiments required by a self-governing community.

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