Just a few hours ago, the State of Georgia executed Troy Davis for the murder of an off duty police officer. I must say these situations are very complicated and fill my soul with a deep sense of sadness and solemnity.
Obviously, I support a Biblical interpretation of the notion of dying for one’s murderous crimes. The tough question, however, is “What does the Bible mean by what it says about the death penalty?”
It is on this point that I feel the judicial system of the United States has it mostly wrong. Our system of justice is based upon the notion of “beyond a reasonable doubt.” One can be executed for a murderous crime if the jury determines that you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
Justice, in the Bible, however, requires NO DOUBT. Reasonable doubt and no doubt are totally different scales of measurement.
Additionally, in my view, the Bible condones the death penalty but does not require the death penalty. If the Bible required the death penalty for murders of passion, Cain would have been executed. If the Bible required the death penalty for premeditated murder, we would not have Moses. If the Bible required the death penalty for contract killings, we wouldn’t have King David. If the Bible required the death penalty for accessory to murder, we wouldn’t have the Apostle Paul.
I feel sorrow for the family who lost their wonderful brother, father, son, friend, and committed police officer.
Executing Troy Davis was not, in my opinion, what the Bible would have required. If the Bible doesn’t require Troy’s execution, then let mercy flow. Life in prison is my choice for convictions that are “beyond a reasonable doubt.” Save the death penalty for egregious cases where there is absolutely NO DOUBT.