Tragic events in a Connecticut town have fueled the ongoing controversy over the death penalty and even launched some advocates into uncharted waters. The United Methodist Church of Cheshire, CT has always been a politically active group of believers, but recently when three members of the congregation were brutally killed, the long-time capital-punishment advocates were shocked into silent deliberations.
The killings have not just stunned the congregation, they have spurred
quiet debate about how it should respond to the crime and whether it
should publicly oppose the punishment that may follow. It has also
caused a few to reassess how they feel about the punishment.
One member's opinion:
â€œI think weâ€™ve all rethought it because itâ€™s pretty easy to believe
something when itâ€™s far away and then when something happens and itâ€™s a
real situation you have to examine what you believe,â€ said Dr. Brown.
First of all, as citizens of a democratic society, it's important that we don't abuse our power-of-opinion by cultivating uninformed convictions, but I think we likewise should be leery of allowing emotions to inform our views. One prosecutor quoted in the article (who is uninvolved with the case) hit the nail on the head:
â€œOur job is to enforce the law no matter who the victim is or what the
victimâ€™s religious beliefs are. If
you started imposing the death penalty based on what the victimâ€™s
family felt, it would truly become arbitrary and capricious.â€