Ethics & Religion
A Column by Michael J. McManus
 

Home
Page

For Current Column
See the Home Page

 

About the
Columnist

 

Search this
Site...

 

Column Archives
List of all columns 
2021
2020

2019
2018
2017
2016
2015
2014
2013
2012

2011

2010

2009
2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

For 2003 and earlier
only the title is listed.
Use the Search Function
to find the article.

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999

1998

 

About The
Columnist

 

Email
Comments
to Mike

Ethics & Religion
Column #2,058
Jan. 19, 2021
End The Death Penalty?
By Mike McManus

Monday was Martin Luther King Jr. Day. If still alive, he'd be celebrating his 92nd birthday.

A day earlier, on Sunday, his son, Martin Luther King III said his father recognized "the severity and inequality" of the death penalty. He spoke out against the disproportionate execution of young black men, often barely older than children at the time of their crimes.

For 17 years there were no federal executions. However, President Trump ordered a dozen executions in the past seven months - a "barrage of executions," a "bloodbath which exceeded the executions of all states combined in 2020," King asserted.

The Old Testament clearly condones and even commands capital punishment for such crimes as homicide, striking one's parents, kidnapping.

However, the New Testament has a different view. The Sermon on the Mount rejects "an eye for an eye." John 8:3-11 mentions a woman caught in adultery being brought before Jesus for judgment. Jesus said, "Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her." They went away, one by one.

Jesus said to her, "Go (and) from now on, do not sin anymore.'"

I lived in Montgomery, Alabama as a teenager when Dr. King was pastor of Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, from which he led a boycott of the city's buses to force an end to racially segregated seating. Although I delivered the local newspaper, which I read daily, the paper did not report upon King's leadership. But I remember seeing black maids walking from their homes to work - rather than ride the bus.

At the time, at age 28, King wrote an article for the Christian Century, asking, "How is the struggle against the forces of injustice to be waged? There are two possible answers. One is to resort to the all too prevalent method of physical violence and corroding hatred. The danger of this method is its futility. Violence solves no social problems; it merely creates new and more complicated ones."

King offered an alternative strategy he called "nonviolent resistance." He cited the work of Mohandas Gandhi, who pursued Indian independence with nonviolence which "is not a method for cowards; it does resist." King wrote, "The nonviolent resister is just as strongly opposed to the evil against which he protests as is the person who uses violence."

How does nonviolence get its force if there is not pain, fear and intimidation that violence offers? King wrote, "Nonviolent resistance does not seek to defeat or humiliate the opponent, but to win his friendship and understanding." He argued that "at the center of nonviolence stands the principle of love."

Love, King believed, can be muscular, unsentimental and transforming. He trusted because he believed that "the universe is on the side of justice."

King was assassinated less than a dozen years later. However, King had a dream that we remember today. It is worth recalling his exact words that were spoken during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom on August 28, 1963 on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial:

He said he had a dream that is "deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: `We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.'

"I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood..."

"I have a dream that my four little children will live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

"I have a dream today."

In 1957 Martin Luther King Jr. was asked if God approves of the death penalty. He replied, "I do not think God approves the death penalty for any crime." He explained that "capital punishment is against the better judgment of modern criminality and, above all, against the highest expression of love in the nature of God."

I am grateful that his son is still pursuing his father's dream of an end to capital punishment. I pray he will be successful.

_________________________

Copyright (c)2021 Michael J. McManus, President of Marriage Savers and a syndicated columnist. To read past columns, go to www.ethicsandreligion.com. Hit Search for any topic.

 

  Since 1981...
2000+ Columns
  LATEST ARTICLE
  Februrary 23, 2021: Column 2063: RAISE THE MINIMUM WAGE
  Recent Columns
  Observing Lent
  Celebrating Marriage Week
  A Case for Pro-Life
  End The Death Penalty?
  Christian Choices Matter
  2020 Was A Terrible Year
  Suicides Rates Are Rising
  The Biblical Sexual Standard
  How to Cut the Divorce Rate in Half
  Divorce Rate Is Falling
  How To Save Marriages
  55 Years of Marriage
  How To Cut America's Divorce Rate
  Suicide Rate Rising
  Overcoming Porn Addiction
  The Devastation of Pornography
  Marriages Are Falling - But Improving
  Divorce Rates Are Falling
  Cohabitation: the Enemy of Marriage
  How To Reduce Suicide
  How To Stop Drug Addiction
  Cut Federal Funds for Planned Parenthood
  The Horror of Soaring Suicides
  Make Adoption More Appealing
  The Addictive Nature of Pornography
  Abortion Becoming Illegal
  Protecting Girls from Suicide
  The Worst Valentine: Cohabitation
  Pornography: A Public Health Hazard
  Sextortion Kills Teens
  Cohabitation: A Risky Business
  Recent Searches
  gun control, euthanasia, cohabitation, sexting, sextortion, alcoholism, prayer, guns, same sex marriage, abortion, depression, islam, divorce, polygamy, religious liberty, health care, pornography, teen sex, abortion and infanticide, Roe+v+Wade, supreme court, marriage, movies, violence, celibacy, living+together, cohabitation, ethics+and+religion, pornography, adultery, divorce, saving+marriages
©2021 Michael J. McManus syndicated columnist  / mike@marriagesavers.org
Ethics & Religion at http://www.ethicsandreligion.com
82 Tuckaway Lane, Kilmarnock, VA 22482 / 804-435-5192
President & Co-Chair Marriage Savers / www.marriagesavers.org
Site Sponsored by enktesis.com