Tuesday 29 January 2013

Reading the daily newspaper can be at times a distressing experience. Today there are reports of four murders; a boy of 16 stabbed despite crying for mercy; a woman of 44; a grandmother after a robbery; a pensioner stabbed as he opened the door of his home.

Last week we read of the church organist murdered on his way to Christmas Mass; a husband killing his estranged wife in a hair salon; two street sellers murdered without cause; and young child strangled for too much crying. Yet still we hear cries of horror at the mention of capital punishment. Why is it that social workers and politicians are so out of tune with the majority of the country on this issue?

We have Church people raising their eyes heavenwards at the very thought of sentencing murderers to death. All very well if you never venture out into the big wild world or lead a sheltered life. Those of us who have seen the effects of murder, and especially the relatives of victims, know the true horror.

I have lost count of the number of times I have heard it trotted out that a Christian cannot possibly support capital punishment. This indicates a lack of knowledge of the Bible. Scripture declares, ‘the Lord God said to Moses, anyone who strikes a man and kills him shall surely be put to death.

It is of course immediately said that is Old Testament stuff. That does not discount the command of God. This is a command for all time, and whilst this authority is given in the Old Testament, it is not cancelled or overruled in any other part of Scripture. In the New Testament, Jesus several times acknowledged the authority of the Old Testament, and said He had come to fulfil the Law not reject it. In his Letter to the Romans, Paul wrote of authorities holding the sword for the execution of judgement.

Society has to be protected and the massive increase in the number of murders requires the ultimate punishment to deter others. The number of murders is becoming alarming, reducing the severity of the crime to the level of an assault. We read and hear of murder (at least) on a weekly basis despite the massaging of figures by the Home Office. Only the ultimate sanction is likely to deter.

Some people argue that it does not act as a deterrent and quote statistics. To accept figures quoted by politicians shows an incredible naivety. Those of us who have had experience in the legal world know only too well figures will show what the authors want them to show.

We are out in wilderness at present with a cry for reality, but the time will surely come when the majority will force their voice to be heard.

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