By Vernon W. Redekop
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Extra info for A life for a life?: death penalty on trial
Leviticus 20:13) 21. Having intercourse with one's mother-in-law. (Leviticus 20:14) 22. Becoming a prostitute, if the daughter of a priest. (Leviticus 21:9) 23. Being found not a virgin at the time of marriage. (Deuteronomy 22:20) Page 27 24. Raping or consenting to rape. (Deuteronomy 22:2426) Hurtful Acts Associated with Death 25. Kidnapping. (Exodus 21:16; Deuteronomy 24:7) 26. Keeping a dangerous ox. (Exodus 21:2832) 27. Oppressing refugees or people on welfare (widows and orphans). (Exodus 22:23) 28.
People will get both protection (the strong arm of the law) and the "joy" of getting even with all who are hurting them. Do we really want a government characterized by a "get-tough" mentality? What about the statement "Crime is a disease. Meet the cure"? The ad suggests that the cure is radical surgerycutting out, or cutting down the bad people. The "war-oncrime'' mentality carries an ironic twist: it supposes that a life-destroying revenge can be the means to a life-giving cure. Many Christians support this image of government with a sentence taken out of context from Romans 13.
Jesus' death involved a struggle with the forces of evil. His death illustrates that working for justice will likely involve suffering. It also means that forgiveness is available to anyone who is deserving of death. Questions for Reflection and Discussion 1. Rather than seek revenge on his tormentors, Page 53 Jesus prayed for their forgiveness. How can we go about turning over to God the fate of our oppressors? 2. Who today is suffering for the work he or she is doing for justice? 3. Reflect on the meaning of mercy and forgiveness.
A life for a life?: death penalty on trial by Vernon W. Redekop