Monday, April 17, 2017

Death Penalty Debate in the Philippines

One of Duterte's most controversial and popular campaign promises was the reinstatement of the death penalty.

This promise reflects his "get tough on crime" policy and now it is one step closer to becoming a reality.
Death penalty for drug-related and other crimes?  Which crimes?
  1. Treason
  2. Qualified piracy (including firing upon the vessel, abandoning victims, and murder)
  3. Qualified bribery (demanding a bribe from anyone facing the death penalty or life imprisonment)
  4. Parricide
  5. Murder
  6. Infanticide
  7. Rape (various circumstances)
  8. Kidnapping and serious illegal detention 
  9. Robbery with violence
  10. Arson
  11. Plunder (at least 50 million pesos)
  12. Importation of drugs
  13. Selling, trading, dispensing, delivering drugs
  14. Maintenance of a den, dive, or resort (a drug house)
  15. Manufacturing drugs
  16. Possession of drugs
  17. Cultivating plants classified as drugs or that are sources of drugs
  18. Unlawful prescription of drugs
  19. Misappropriation of confiscated drugs, paraphernalia, and proceeds by a public officer
  20. Planting evidence
  21. Carnapping (when rape or murder occurs)

That seems like a lot of crimes but mostly the death penalty is being reinstated for the crime of murder.  For example carnapping.  Unless its accompanied by murder or rape then it does not qualify the criminal for the death penalty.

This bill still has to be approved by the Seante before Duterte can sign it into law.  In the meantime there are many voices being raised to oppose it. No voice is as loud as that of the Conference of Bishops.
“Dear sisters and brothers in Christ – let us not allow our wells to be poisoned by bitter water; let us uphold the sanctity of life and make a stand against death penalty,” the pastoral letter, signed by CBCP president and Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas, read in masses nationwide on the third Sunday of Lent stated. 
The prelates stressed that while victims of heinous crimes deserve justice and reparations, criminals remain “children of God” who should be given a chance to repent and reform.
Its quite funny that there is an Archbishop named Socrates and he is against the death penalty. 

I don't want to take the time and space to analyse his full statement but this:
Jesus was never an advocate of any form of “legal killing”. He defended the adulterous woman against those who demanded her blood and challenged those who were without sin among them to be the first to cast a stone on her (John 8:7). 
is just plain wrong.  If this woman had been stoned it would not have been legal at all. Where was the man?  It takes two to tango and God commands the death of both.

Leviticus 20:10¶And the man that committeth adultery with another man's wife, even he that committeth adultery with his neighbour's wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.

Also this statement:
Even with the best of intentions, capital punishment has never been proven effective as a deterrent to crime.
The death penalty is first and foremost a penalty, a punishment.  It is not a deterrent. It can act as a deterrent but the heart of man is persuaded by nothing when he is intent on doing evil. Plainly Archbishop Socrates does not know what evil lurks in the hearts of men.

There are many solid reasons to be anti-death penalty. The fact that corrupt prosecutors looking for a conviction have caused many innocent men to be put on death row is the most compelling argument.

However you cannot be a Christian or a Catholic and oppose the death penalty on the basis of the Scriptures. God proscribes the death penalty.
Genesis 9:6: Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.

Exodus 21:16: ¶And he that stealeth a man, and selleth him, or if he be found in his hand, he shall surely be put to death.

Exodus 21:17: ¶And he that curseth his father, or his mother, shall surely be put to death.
Leviticus 20:9: ¶For every one that curseth his father or his mother shall be surely put to death: he hath cursed his father or his mother; his blood shall be upon him.
Leviticus 20:11: And the man that lieth with his father's wife hath uncovered his father's nakedness: both of them shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.
Leviticus 20:12: And if a man lie with his daughter in law, both of them shall surely be put to death: they have wrought confusion; their blood shall be upon them.
Leviticus 20:13: If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.
Those are just a few verses where the Lord commands that men be put to death for certain crimes. There is no chance to repent or reform.  There is only a swift putting away of the sin from their midst.

"But that's the Old Testament.  We are under grace and not under the law anymore." A good objection and a large subject that will not be covered in the blogpost.  

However here are some verses from the New Testament where the death penalty is also proscribed.
Acts 25:11: For if I be an offender, or have committed any thing worthy of death, I refuse not to die: but if there be none of these things whereof these accuse me, no man may deliver me unto them. I appeal unto Cæsar.
Paul acknowledges there are crimes worthy of death and he does not refuse the death penalty if he were guilty of such crimes.

I Peter 4:15: But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men's matters.

I Peter 4:16: Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.

The suffering Peter speaks of is imprisonment and death. He recognises that murderers and thieves suffer death.  He also recognises that Christians suffer death too.  Peter tells us we should shun being put to death as wicked men but rejoice in martyrdom for Christ.
Romans 13:4: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.
Paul recognises that the state has the power to execute criminals.  He does not refute this.

We see that the Bible does not refuse to assign death as the lot of certain criminals.  Don't be fooled by the Catholic Bishops Conference.  Signs like this one are lies that twist scripture.

Exodus 20:13: Thou shalt not kill.
When you quote this verse in order to prove that war and the death penalty are evils that God forbids you are making a fool of yourself and making God out to be evil since he commands men but put to death for certain crimes and he commanded the Israelites to kill all the heathen in the land of Canaan.
Deuteronomy 2:33: And the LORD our God delivered him before us; and we smote him, and his sons, and all his people.

Deuteronomy 2:34: And we took all his cities at that time, and utterly destroyed the men, and the women, and the little ones, of every city, we left none to remain:

I Samuel 15:3: Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.
You can be a Christian and be anti-death penalty.  Just don't bring the Scriptures in to the argument because they oppose that view.  It's better if a Christian believes what the Bible teaches rather than oppose it.

II Timothy 2:15: Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

No comments:

Post a Comment