Republicans Must Not Be Hypocritical On Life
1. Pushing for low-income housing while putting growth controls on development.
2. Not supporting international trade agreements and claiming support for third world poverty efforts.
3. Pushing civil libertarian positions on drugs but then at the same time pushing nanny state positions on tobacco and food/obesity.
These are simply examples and its clear that often positions a political party or member takes can be seen as contradictory. One of the positions the left and the public at large can see as hypocritical is the dominant stance of the Republican Party on life, particularly abortion and the death penalty. The Republican party will most likely in the near future not abandon its stance on abortion (to do so would be political suicide) yet it should should move towards a conclusive pro-personhood stance advocating against the death penalty.
Brad V layed out the major reasons for opposition to the death penalty in terms of its ability deter, punish, or remove a threat. Obviously murderers are not a threat to society if they are sentenced and forced to serve life in prison. While prison is fairly tame in our modern society, who would actually want to sit there for life and is not dying (albeit 10-20 years later) a easy opt out? I'd rather fry for 1 second in an electric chair than spend decades more in prison. The fact is there is no evidence that the death penalty actually prevents homicide, especially when you consider that many of the people who commit murder are not mentally stable. While considering the effectiveness of the death penalty in stopping homicide, we also must consider how much it costs to prosecute and put someone to death. According to the death penalty information center, Texas spends an estimated $2.3 million dollars per case. In other states it costs even more per case due to the extensive legal process involved. From a cost-benefit case, this is not financially intelligent especially when looking at other possible uses such as increased law enforcement. While touching on the determent and financial aspects, another issue that I won't go further into is wrong decisions (check out Northwestern's study) and executing innocent citizens.
The ultimate issue though for Republicans is whether they see justice in the death penalty and do they find it moral and ethical to take someone's life even if they have done a horribly bad thing. Many will take "an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth" position but is the way our society should run and is this a moral or even Christian position. When someone hurts you physically, mentally, possibly even financially in a wrongful manner, the next move should not be to get back at them or get even. It should be to address their sin openly and ask them for repayment in a "sorry" or other justified manner. If legal issues were violated and can't be settled personally, then the answer is to obviously go to court and find retribution. While a murderer may not ever be able to pay the people they hurt back for killing someone in their family or close friends, compassion and forgiveness should be our main response. In the following passage, Jesus's main point was to expose the hypocrisy of the Pharissees. But I believe this passage is important and strikes a precedent of the kind of compassion and forgiveness we ought to show also.
1But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. 2At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. 3The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group 4and said to Jesus, "Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?" 6They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.
But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. 7When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, "If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her." 8Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.
While there are passages in the Bible that show pro death penalty tendencies (Genesis 9:6), the Bible does not offer strict guidelines to the procedure. In fact, the Bible does not offer much guidance to what role the government should play in our society. However, the Bible does advocate justice, compassion, forgiveness, etc. and in my opinion, we should let God handle life and death, not society. People can be transformed through hearing the Gospel and time, prison, and grace often does change people. While protecting society and advocating justice, Republicans must also be consistent in promoting pro-life views and supporting the existence of individuals. The hypocrisy on life within conservative circles must end.