Tom Wright on what deaths we support or oppose…

I strongly encourage you all to read Tom Wright’s American Christians and the death penalty in today’s Washington Post.  Tom’s asking the same questions I’ve been asking for years, critiquing the dichotomy between pro-capital-punishment “Pro-Life” Christians on one hand, and anti-capital-punishment “Pro-Choice” folks on the other.  He’s right on both counts.  And I was especially moved by his closing question:

…how many folk out there were deeply moved both by the reading of the 9/11 victim names and by the thought that if they’d read the names of Iraqi civilians killed by your country and mine over the last ten years we’d have been there for several days?

2 thoughts on “Tom Wright on what deaths we support or oppose…”

  1. Michael Snow

    American evangelicals, in my experience, insist on the death penalty because ‘God commands it.’ The issue is confused as being a mater of loyalty to Scripture.

    I think it was Karl Barth who pointed out the theological implication of Numbers 35 whcih gives the reason for the death penalty, “…for blood pollutes the land, and no atonement can be made for the land for the blood that is shed in it, except by the blood of the one who shed it.”

    Either we accept the sufficiency of Christ’s atonement or we do not.

    1. Dan Martin Post Author

      That’s a fascinating take, Michael. As you may know, I believe the classic take on the Atonement also requires re-thinking…nevertheless this basis for capital punishment is one I hadn’t thought of. Take a look at the various articles under the subject of Atonement in the index at right if you’re curious for more.

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