Thesis : In principle a case can be made on moral grounds both supportingand opposing capital punishment. Two different cases can be made. One is based on justice and the nature of amoral community. This leads to a defense of capital punishment.
The secondis based on love and the nature of an ideal spiritual community. This leads toa rejection of capital punishment. JUSTICE AND THE NATURE OF MORAL COMMUNITYA central principal of a just society is that every person has an equal right to”life, liberity, and happiness. ” Within that, an arguement for capitalpunishment forms along the following lines: some acts are so evil and sodestructive of a community that they void the right of the perpetrator to life. A community founded on moral principals has specific requirements. Theright to belong to a community is not unconditional.Order now
The privilege of livingand pursuing the good life in society is not certain. The essential reason onwhich community is built requires each citizen to honor the rightful claims ofothers. The precious live in a moral community must be so highly honoredthat those who do not honor the life of others void their own right tomembership. Those who violate the personhood of others, especially if this isdone persistently as a habit must pay the ultimate price. This must be donefor the sake of the community which was violated. We can debate whethersome non-lethal alternative is a suitable substitute for the death penalty.
Butthe standard of judgment is whether the punishment fits the crime and if ithonors the nature of the moral community. LOVE AND AN IDEAL SPIRITUAL COMMUNITYChristian live, is unconditional. It does not depend on the worthiness or valueof those to whom it is directed. It is persistent in seeking the good of othersregardless of whether they return the favor or even deserve to be treated wellon the basis of their own wrongdoing.
An ideal community would be madeup pf free and equal citizens devoted to a balance between individual needsand the advancement of common good. Communal life would be based onmutual love in which equality of giving and receiving was the social practise. Everyone would contribute to the best of ability. What would a community based on this kind of love do with thode whocommitted brutal acts of terror, violence, and murder? Put negatively, itwould not live by the philosophy of “an eye for an eye,a tooth for a tooth, anda life for a life. ” It would act to safeguard the members of the communityfrom further destruction. Those whe had shown no respect for life ould berestrained, permanently if necessary, so that they could not endanger othemembers of the community.
An ideal community would show mercy even tothose who had shown no mercy. It would return good for evil. Some kind ofservice to the community might be required as a way of partially makingamends. In brief, is the argument for and against capital punishment, one founded onjustice and the nature of moral community, the other resting on love and thenature of an ideal spiritual community. If we stand back from this descriptionand make an attempt at evaluation, one point is crucial. The love ethicrequires a high degree of moral achievement and maturity.
It is more suitablefor small, closely-knit communities in which members know each otherpersonally and in some depth. Forgiveness is best in a setting in whichpeople can participate in each aother’s lives. In short, for the moment the Christian witness to society is this: firstdemonstrate that capital punishment can be administered in a just andefficient manner. Then we will debate with you as to whether capitalpunishment is in priciple necessary, fitting and right or whether a humanesociety will find non-lethal alternatives to protect citizens from persistentlyviolent criminals. Until then the church should say “no” to this extrememeasure.
CAPITAL PUNISHMENTMaria Hall English 11203/14/97Mr. StevensCategory: Law