Bryan Fischer
Judeo-Christian tradition would have saved three lives in Alabama
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By Bryan Fischer
February 16, 2010

The Judeo-Christian tradition, which underpins all of Western jurisprudence, plainly calls for the death penalty as a just response to murder.

God delegates his own authority to the state in both Genesis 9:5-6 and Romans 13:1-7 to execute those who without cause shed the blood of another human being.

Genesis 9:6 reads, "Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image."

Paul reminds us in Romans 13:4 that the magistrate "does not bear the sword in vain." The sword, of course, is a weapon of lethal force.

(In passing, it's worthy of note that the Sixth Commandment does not prohibit killing of all kinds, but rather specifically prohibits the shedding of innocent blood. The best and most up-to-date translations read "Do not murder" rather than "Do not kill.")

Capital punishment is thus the ultimate expression of the sanctity of human life. When we put murderers to death, we as a society are declaring that human life is so sacred that, if you take a human life without cause, you will be required to forfeit your own.

Every act of murder defaces the image of God, and the shedding of such innocent blood "defiles the land," to use another phrase from the Judeo-Christian tradition.

Amy Bishop, the apparent murderer of three fellow faculty members at the University of Alabama-Huntsville last Friday, shot her brother to death in 1986, following an argument between the two. Although her mother claimed the shooting was accidental, she fired the gun three times, including once at virtually point-blank range into her brother's chest, then stuck the gun in the chest of a car salesman in a getaway attempt, pointed it at a passing car, and had to be disarmed when police finally took her into custody.

The police released Ms. Bishop that same day, under orders from then District Attorney Bill Delahunt, who is now a Democrat congressman representing that district. Delahunt has wisely decided not to seek re-election. The blood of Friday's three victims is certainly on his hands as well as those of Ms. Bishop.

Bottom line: Amy Bishop should have been executed in 1986 for the murder of her brother. The fact that Rep. Delahunt failed to do his Christian, legal and civic duty then resulted in the murders of three more innocent victims in 2010.

Mercy is the observe of justice, the reverse side of the same coin. Justice to murderers is mercy toward those who loved the victims, and execution has the additional salutary effect of deterrence — an executed murderer will never kill again.

So what some claim is a cruel feature of the Judeo-Christian tradition — the call for capital punishment — in the end turns out to be the most compassionate thing of all. Three human beings would be alive today — and three families would not be bereft of loved ones — if authorities had only listened to their better angels 24 years ago.

© Bryan Fischer

 

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