If it’s wrong, does that mean God was wrong when He commanded it in the Old Testament?
Or is the death penalty right?
And was Jesus therefore wrong when he said “Turn the other cheek”?
Or is it wrong on a personal, vengeful level and right on a legal, law-enforcing level?
Should the state even base laws on religion?
Should religions be selling-out their beliefs by getting caught up in the fundamentally compromised world of politics?
Is it right to accept that, in a country with the death penalty, innocent people will mistakenly be executed?
Is is right to accept that, in a country without the death penalty, guilty-as-hell serial killers and rapists may go free and strike again?
At what point does someone become responsible for their own actions?
And if someone’s not altogether responsible for their own actions, through mental illness for example, should they ever be executed?
Even if they’ve done something truly abhorrant?
If you’re pro-life, are you therefore anti-death penalty?
If not, why not? Innocents are still dying.
If you’re pro-life, are you therefore anti-war?
If not, why not? Innocents are still dying, many of them babies.
Is it a numbers game? Acceptable losses, collateral damage?
What ratio of innocent victim to legitimate target are you therefore willing to accept?
If you’re pro-choice, are you therefore pro-war and pro-death penalty?
If not, is it therefore because it’s unacceptable to kill a human but not a fetus?
When does a fetus become a human?
When does life begin?
Is there a soul?
When does the soul become joined to the human body?
If there isn’t a soul, how do you know?
What about the times scientists have been wrong?
If there is a soul, how do you know?
What about the times priests have been wrong?
Don’t women have the right to decide what happens to their own bodies?
Don’t children have the right to be born?
Is abortion always wrong?
Even when birth would threaten the mother?
Even if the child would have no quality of life?
Even if the mother was raped?
Assuming you had the means, would you adopt a child if it meant preventing an abortion?
How many innocent people have to be executed before it’s accepted that the death penalty is seriously flawed?
How many guilty people have to reoffend, and how much more has to be spent on prisons and law enforcement, before it’s accepted that a more extreme deterrant is called for?
Does it matter if the death penalty disproportionately affects the poor and ethnic minorities?
What do you think about the poor and ethnic minorities in general?
Would you press the button to execute someone?
Would you let someone else?
Would you press the button to execute someone if there was reasonable doubt?
Would you let someone else?
Would you watch?
Why? Why not?
What’s worthy of execution? What isn’t? Where do you draw the line?
Would you vote for someone you disagreed with over the death penalty?
The death penalty provojes a thousand and one questions, weaving around other contentious issues, becoming a shibboleth for where you stand politically. The subject will be debated and insults will be thrown and politicians will make capital from it for years to come.
None of which helps Troy Davis, or his family, as of 11:08pm, Eastern Time, on September 21st 2011.
It was Peace Day.