Sanctity of Life, Pro-Life and Capital Punishment

If someone you loved was assaulted and murdered, wouldn’t you demand justice?

Wouldn’t you want to protect your family, friends and others from such a brutal event ever happening again?

Wouldn’t you want the murderer permanently removed from society?

To ensure a murderer never kills again, wouldn’t the surest and quickest way be to end the murderer’s life?

Throughout history, many cultures have supported the “eye for an eye” justice system, whereby an offender is granted an equal punishment to match their wrong-doing. In the case of killing another person, this often meant death.

Surprisingly, most pro-life organizations do not take a position on the death penalty. While sanctity of life is often discussed in those circles, the tendency is to focus on right to life for unborn babies, the elderly or the infirmed. This may be for several reasons.

  1. The notion that life is sacred and worth protecting is an easier pitch when showing pictures of cooing babies or regal elderly than it is to argue a convicted serial murderer’s life has intrinsic value and should be spared.
  2. To be most effective, many organizations targeting cultural change opt to pick a single goal and focus on achieving it with laser-fine intensity. The idea is to achieve more with focused effort on a single cause than to thin your efforts over the herculean task of social change using a scattershot approach. In furthering the sanctity of human life movement, pro-life organizations predominately target protecting unborn babies. They do this through a number of activities, including lobbying, traditional marketing, educating and assisting community groups such as churches, pregnancy service centers and student organizations.
  3. Still, why not simply state a position on capital punishment and then let it rest at the sidelines? Why maintain a stance of “no stance” on the death penalty at all? There may be a feeling that addressing capital punishment—even at a surface level—gives the pro-choice opposition more ammunition. Think about it. If you are a pro-abortion leader who is trying to do your part to undermine the pro-life argument, which would you rather bring to your audience’s attention?

    1. The pro-life movement supports the right of the unborn to continue living; a right they say supersedes any desire the mother has to be free of the pregnancy.
    2. Or

    3. The pro-life movement wants to protect the murderer who slaughtered someone’s son or daughter, husband or wife, mother or father.

Right. Option B would be much harder to defend. In the United States, up until the late 1960’s, people were still being mob-lynched for race, religious beliefs and criminal activity. Other places across the globe are still seeing terminal mob-justice today. For example, following the earthquake that rocked Haiti in 2010, suspected looters were lynched by angry mobs. In South Africa, drug dealers and gang members have recently been hanged by vigilante groups.

“An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi