Like many of you, I struggle with the political issue of the death penalty. I tend to oppose it in principle, but then find myself subconsciously rooting for an execution whenever I hear a victim’s truly wrenching story. But here’s a question I’d love to hear feedback on . . .
It’s core to Christian faith that death is immediately followed by a heavenly eternity in the presence of Jesus. Despite differences of Bible interpretation – “depart and be with Christ” vs. the concept of unconscious soul sleep before the Second Coming resurrection – the glory of paradise is the next vivid moment for anyone who dies in the Lord.
With this common hope in our view, why are we still prone to support capital punishment for criminals, many of whom thankfully have the opportunity to repent and be saved while incarcerated? Karla Faye Tucker, the infamous Texas murderer, was converted in prison and a born-again Christian when she was lethally injected. Sam Tannyhill came to Christ through the Faith For Today ministry and went to Ohio’s electric chair with confident hope that in a (seeming) moment, he would be in Jesus’ presence.
So if we honestly do wish to punish wrongdoers for their truly heinous crimes, isn’t a dreary lifetime of gray existence behind bars better than the “twinkling of an eye” trip to the golden streets, banquet feast of the Lamb, and ten thousand years bright shining as the sun?
And what are the emotional implications for something like the Terri Schiavo case?
Just wondering what some of you think . . .