On Wednesday, Alabama passed the most restrictive abortion law in America. On the same day, Alabama also executed a man who was a participant in a grizzly quadruple murder in 1997.
It was interesting seeing how those two stories are being taken together in the media. The New York Times ran an article titled “a day after banning abortions, Alabama executes a murderer.” The LA times ran a headline that said, “Alabama’s antiabortion governor urges respect for life, will oversee 7th execution.”
I’ve hard this argument before levied against those who are pro life but also support the death penalty, as if it’s some sort of moral inconsistency. For the life of me, I don’t understand why this position should have to be defended.
It’s really quite simple. I believe a baby should be allowed to live. I believe a quadruple murderer should not.
I think that a person who supports abortion and opposes capital punishment is the one who needs to answer for that stance. Because it treats a murderer as being more deserving of life than a baby.
Some people oppose both abortion and capital punishment. I respect that view. There are a number of thoughtful arguments that can be made on that subject, and at least it has consistency to a moral principle.
I hold my view because I believe that life is precious. Every human is created in the image of God and is worthy of dignity. The most fundamental right that humanity has is the right to life (because all other rights presuppose a right to the life through with other rights are exercised.) And so I believe that a baby has the right to be born and to live.
If a person deprives someone else of their right to life, that is so wicked, so grotesque, so heinous of a thing to do that in the process of depriving someone of that right, the assailant has forfeited their right to life.
I don’t expect everyone to agree with my view, but that’s how I look at the issue.
As a Christian, the Old Testament certainly allows for capital punishment. Genesis 9:6 is a good example of this: “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image.”
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Josh Benner has a Master of Divinity from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He has served churches in Minnesota and Illinois. He enjoys writing about faith and culture. He lives with his wife Kari in St. Louis.