Almost every person who reads this post is going to disagree with me on some level. How’s that for an introduction sentence? My high school English teacher would not approve.
My stance on the issues of abortion and the death penalty – specifically, seeing them as one issue – puts a lot of people in disagreement with me. The pro-life crowd, in my experience, favors the death penalty while the pro-choice crowd consists of many of the same people who protest the death penalty.
One group disagrees with me about half the time; the other does the other half of the time. But I’m not writing to convince you that you’re wrong (a task I’ve found rarely works); instead, my goal is to challenge you to really think about this issue.
If you come away from what I write (now or any other time) having given serious thought to the topic at hand, I have succeeded. Hopefully you won’t have decided that I am just some crazy idiot on the Internet, but if you do, it won’t be the first time. (and it probably won’t be the last.)
Yesterday was Sanctity of Human Life Sunday, so in a lot of churches across the nation, focus was given to the issue of abortion. I’m not going to get into the pro-life or pro-choice argument here. People aren’t generally swayed on the issue of abortion. Your opinion on abortion is very likely not likely to change.
For the record, I’m adamantly pro-life. Every life, every pregnancy, every time, without exception. I realize that’s not the most popular stance on the issue, but it’s where I stand.
A topic was brought up in church yesterday that I wasn’t expecting, but I thought it was amazingly relevant. I was with my Life Group (which is what other churches may call small groups or Sunday School classes), and a lady who I had never met suggested that one’s view on the issue of life should extend to the topic of the death penalty.
While actively resisting the urge to go hug my new friend, I was quietly explaining to those around me that she had a great point because many times people have opposing views on the abortion and death penalty issue. Either they oppose abortion and support the death penalty, or they favor abortion but oppose the death penalty.
At one point in my life, I was very much in support of the death penalty. “Kill them all, and let God sort them out” was my mindset. I’ve changed my stance on the issue over the last few years, largely because I found it inconsistent with my views on abortion. I’ve got some other great reasons for opposing the death penalty, too:
- The possibility of error in conviction leading to a wrongful death.
- The cost of imprisoning someone for life versus the cost of executing them.
- The concern that the power to kill is too much power to give the government.
Opposing the death penalty while being among political conservatives in Georgia doesn’t typically make me the popular guy in the room. Fortunately, popularity isn’t my goal. My goal is to stand for what I believe is right, and if I have to stand alone, that’s ok with me.
Today I’d like to challenge you to consider your own points of view on these issues and see if there’s a conflict that needs resolution. The core issue in both of these topics is life. Do you oppose the practice of killing criminals but support the slaughter of the unborn? Do you favor protecting the lives of the unborn but readily call for the execution of criminals?