The Pope is wrong on the Death Penalty
by Bishop Tom Brown
Pope Francis has called for a “dialogue”, and this opinion piece is my side of the dialogue. I can court the favor of some by singing kumbaya with the Pope, but that would not lead to real dialogue. Instead, I offer my respectful analysis of the speeches he gave before Congress and the United Nations.
I agreed with almost everything the Pope said, especially regarding the call for us to do more to save the refugees and the need to be respectful to the immigrants in our country.
My disappointment has mostly to do with what the Pope left out and deemphasized.
It was a cardinal mistake for the Pope not to mention the name, Jesus Christ. This is a glaring omission. While I agree we should cut down on carbon emissions, this will not lead to the salvation of humankind. Jesus Christ is our salvation. Following His teachings will lead to a better world.
Another problem I had was with the Pope’s refusal to directly condemn abortion or same-sex marriage. He opted, instead, to make ambiguous statements which could be construed to mean he disagrees with abortion and homosexual marriage. However, he had no trouble being clear on his condemnation of the human cause of global warming, yet he could not muster enough courage to condemn even greater threats to our humanity. The casual observer could easily conclude that the Pope is more concerned with cutting carbon emissions than saving the lives of the unborn.
While the Pope gave a nod to the benefits of capitalism in our country, his call and theory to redistribute wealth in order to promote equality is, in my view, anti-capitalism, and will not promote prosperity for all.
There was only one thing I totally disagree with the Pope and that is his call for the global end to the death penalty.
The Pope of all persons should know that God instituted the death penalty through human governments. He did it after the global flood: “I will demand an accounting for the life of his fellow man. Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made man” (Genesis 9:5-6).
God instituted the death penalty for two reasons: first to deter the human race in becoming as wicked as they became, which led to the necessity of God judging the human race with a flood. The second reason for the death penalty was to show the sanctity of human life. Humans are not another animal that can be killed without the ultimate penalty.
God emphasized to Noah that humankind is made in “the image of God” and, therefore, to kill a human is to kill something divinely sacred. The only just compensation for a life taken is for the murderer to give up his life. This is just and shows the sanctity of human life.
Both the Pope and myself believes in the sanctity of life—all life from conception to death—however, I believe he is sincerely wrong in how to show that sanctity. The Pope emphasizes the lives of murderers, but by doing so, he minimizes the lives of the victims and their families. This is inherently inhumane, unjust and shows lack of mercy toward the victims. It dehumanizes the victim and makes the life of the murderer more important than the life of the innocent.
Concerning the sanctity of the lives of murderers, there is no better rehabilitation than the death penalty. More murderers have repented and accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord because their days are numbered than those let out of prison. Who wouldn’t get their lives straighten out when they know the date of their death?
Finally, I want to thank Pope Francis for visiting the United States and for the inspiration he has been to many millions of Americans. I especially thank him for his magnanimous spirit for dialoging with us, rather than laying down the law. God speed!