“The Death Penalty is Legal”
While discussing abortion with a couple of colleagues the other day, I was blown away by their cavalier perspectives on this issue. One presented abortion as the answer to child abuse (more on him later), and the other said we should keep abortion legal because “we legalize all other murder.” She was referring to the death penalty.
The death penalty, however, is just that: a penalty. It is the state-sanctioned killing of the guilty. Regardless of one’s personal views or theological position on capital punishment, God is clear that He abhors the shedding of INNOCENT blood (Proverbs 6:17; Deuteronomy 19:10; Isaiah 59:7; Psalm 106:38 and Jeremiah 22:17). To cite the existence of the death penalty as a defense for why abortion should be legal is logically inconsistent, ethically disingenuous and morally reprehensible!
If an innocent man is killed via the death the penalty, indeed the blood of that innocent man is on the hands of the state, and God WILL avenge his blood (Proverbs 6:17; Deuteronomy 19:10). Yet, that innocent man would have lost his life because the death penalty was wrongly/unjustly applied to his case, not because the death penalty in and of itself is designed to kill the innocent. Biblically speaking, the death penalty’s purpose is a matter of justice, namely to punish those who’ve murdered the innocent (Genesis 9:6). In Romans 13, Paul is clear that our government is meant to serve God’s purposes - to maintain His order in the earth for the good of humanity. For wrongdoers, the government “carries the sword” to exact justice and dispense retribution (Romans 13:1-7). Abortion, on the other hand, was legalized as a matter of convenience. It was designed to end the lives of the innocent, and in 100% of abortion cases the innocent do die.
Since 1973, when Roe v. Wade made abortion legal for any reason, more than 60 million innocent lives have been taken through abortion. Since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976, 1497 individuals have been executed. Moreover, of the 29 states with capital punishment laws, only nine have actually used them in the past 30 years, with each averaging one execution per year during this time period.
Indeed, the only legalized murder we have in America is abortion, and its actual damage far outweighs any damage done by the death penalty - real or hypothetical. Even if one considers the death penalty a great moral wrong, its existence is still no excuse for legalized abortion, and it certainly doesn’t make abortion a moral right.