One of the usual arguments against the death penalty is the commandment, “Thou shall not kill.” On its face, that would seem to be a valid argument, but it’s not.

First of all, the command is given to individuals, not to government. The Bible makes clear that government has certain responsibilities that are not given to individuals, one of which is to punish those who do evil, even to the point of “wielding the sword” if necessary. Domestically, that’s accomplished with our justice system when it works properly. When we face a foreign adversary, it is our military.

Taken to its logical conclusion, applying “Thou shall not kill” to the government would require police to disarm – and even soldiers for that matter – for fear that they might kill someone in the line of duty.

There are legitimate elements of debate on the death penalty. But this is not one of them.

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