Love your neighbor = support the death penalty

A Connecticut man was sentenced to death Monday for a night of terror inside a suburban home.  Read here.

Did you know that the ELCA is committed to the abolition of the death penalty?[1] Read the ELCA policy statement here and a critique here.

Where do you stand? With the jury? Or the ELCA?

A series of academic studies over the last decade has shown that the death penalty acts as a deterrent to murder. Each execution deters an average of 18 murders, according to a 2003 nationwide study by professors at Emory University. (Other studies have estimated the deterred murders per execution at three, five and 14).  Read more here.

“Science does really draw a conclusion. It did. There is no question about it,” said Naci Mocan, an economics professor at the University of Colorado. “The conclusion is there is a deterrent effect.”

A 2003 study Mocan co-authored, and a 2006 study that re-examined the data, found that each execution results in five fewer homicides, and commuting a death sentence means five more homicides.

“The results are robust, they don’t really go away,” he said. “I have opposed the death penalty, but when my results show that the death penalty (deters) — what am I going to do, hide them?”

Liberal law professor, University of Chicago’s Cass Sunstein, another critic of the death penalty, responded to these findings:  “If it’s the case that executing murderers prevents the execution of innocents by murderers, then the moral evaluation is not simple.” Read here.

“Mercy to the guilty is cruelty to the innocent,” as Adam Smith wrote. See Thomas Sowell on the death penalty here.



[1]The “mission” of the ELCA includes political lobbying on this and other issues through its one national and 19 state lobbying offices.

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