Introduction

Amnesty’s annual report (2012) has China topping list of executions with over 1,000, Iran second with 314, US fifth with 43. The United States only country in the Americas practicing execution.  (see YNet News)

The Amnesty International report says 682 executions in 2012 in all countries other than China  were verified to have been carried out last year —only two more than 2011 —as five countries carried through with the death penalty for the first time in many years…The country that had the highest increase in the number of executions was Iraq, with almost double the 68 killed in 2011. (see Amnesty International)

Canada, on the other hand, does not have a death penalty. (see 35 years of abolition) In most cases, the most serious sentence for murder is life imprisonment with no possibility of parole for 25 years. However, if a person has a long history of violent crime, then they can be declared a “dangerous offender.” With this classification they are given an indefinite sentence with little chance of ever being paroled.

An Angus-Reid poll released in March, 2012,  suggests three out of five Canadians (60%) support reinstating the death penalty for murder. (see Amnesty International)

Sources: Amnesty International  and  Religious Tolerance.org

Assignment:

Do some research to find out the arguments for and against capital punishment (death penalty)?  There are some links below to start off with.  Then take a stance on the following statement:

Should Canada reinstate the death penalty for criminals who commit first-degree murder?

This does not have to be in the form of a formal essay, but be sure to support you arguments with factual information.  Include in your discussions, the answers to the following questions.

  1. How does Ezekiel 33:11 apply to the question of capital punishment? “As I live, says the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from their ways and live.”
  2. The concept of equal retribution “Life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot” (Deuteronomy 19:21) was actually given in order to control the all-out vengeance that had taken place up to that time. What does Jesus tell us about vengeance?  Read Matthew 5:38-42; Luke 6:27-36; Romans 12:19, and 1 Peter 3:9 to find out.  (Just go to NRSV Bible, and type in the book, chapter and verse.  When you do this, the verse(s) will come up.) How do these scriptures apply to modern day capital punishment?

Here are some links to start off with:

Against arguments:  Catholic Culture and Amnesty International USA

Pro arguments:  Pro death penalty and  Pro death penalty page (keep in mind some of these are websites of individuals, so one has to question their reliablity for statistics, etc.)

Contains both arguments:  Religious Tolerance and  Arguments for and against

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