Viewpoint: Death penalty deprives those killed of God’s grace

By Emilly Martinez
Copy editor

The recent execution of Troy Davis in Georgia has greatly saddened me. I will not pretend to know every detail of the case, nor will I assume to know better than the Supreme Court whether or not he was guilty.

When I say I am against capital punishment, I am not looking to explain the flaws in our justice system or the errors in evidence testing that have sent innocent people to death – although those could be reasons enough to end the death penalty.

I am against capital punishment because I believe it denies God’s grace to those who need it most.

Almost every day I read the Associated Press news wire and see stories of terrible crimes and murders that have been committed, and often I find myself thinking, “this is why we have the death penalty; they deserve to die.” But who am I to say who deserves to live?

Yes, placing people in prison is costly to taxpayers, but as a taxpayer I would rather pay for people to stay in prison where God can continue to work in them than for all hope to be lost through their deaths.

The penalty of sin is death, says Romans 6:23. Maybe I am reading it wrong, but I believe that applies to all sin. As a society, we tend to rank sin but God does not. In fact, Romans 3:23 says all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

It is only through Jesus that we’re saved from the death we deserve, so as Christians, how do we say one person deserves to die more than the rest of us?

By implementing the death penalty we say someone should not receive God’s grace – that whatever they did was so terrible that it would be too much grace, too much mercy, for God to forgive them or for them to live.

People do horrible things and should be removed from society for correction, but death is not the answer. Everyone is capable of turning to God, and if they do not, at least we will be able to say we did not act to stop the possibility of salvation.

For those who believe that justice would not be served if the death penalty were not an option, remember that, as Ecclesiastes says, there will come a time that we will all stand before God and he will judge both the righteous and the wicked for every deed – and surely his sense of justice surpasses our own.

Emilly Martinez is a senior journalism – public relations major from Houston and is a copy editor for the Lariat.