We are a nation obsessed with retribution and punishment and "justice."
Islamic extremists worship a god who hates. They use that hatred to justify terrible acts against their enemies. They live by the ancient eye-for-an-eye, tooth-for-a-tooth doctrine.
The god Jesus presented is diametrically opposite in character. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus urged his followers not to strike back at evil. Instead, he urged them to love their enemies and to pray for those who were abusive.
Which god do we worship, the one who loves or the one who hates? If we choose the former, how do we reconcile our desire for retribution with that one's love?
We who are whole have a responsibility to those who commit terrible crimes. We have a responsibility to understand what motivates them. We have a responsibility to heal them if we can. We have a responsibility to find ways to prevent future such crimes. Forgiveness and mercy are key elements in achieving those ends. What they did is over and done with and can't be changed. Our responsibility to the victim is to replace evil with good.
Capital punishment is a simple-minded solution to problems criminals present. It teaches us nothing. We cannot cling to the eye-for-an-eye, tooth-for-a-tooth doctrine and continue to call ourselves a Christian nation.
VIRGIL H. SOULE