The recent execution of Saddam Hussein once again brings a controversial topic to the forefront: Capital Punishment. Many have seen the vivid pictures of Saddam with a noose around his neck being marched to the gallows. He was tried and convicted by an Iraqi court for crimes against humanity. Saddam was arrogant and defiant through much of the trial….and apparently remained so up until his death. His guilt is not questioned. He was an absolutely despicable creature who had multitudes of innocent people tortured and executed. In his younger days, he had murdered opponents with his own hands. He once even had his own son-in-law knocked off. Assuredly, he wasn’t the first father-in-law to consider that, but few actually go through with it. But that was Saddam…..an evil, violent, and barbaric legacy…..that ended last week when the tables were turned on him, and HE experienced a taste of his own medicine. But how should Christians view the death of Saddam, and the Death Penalty in general?
For Saddam Hussein, the eternal “weeping and gnashing of teeth” has only just begun. In his last words, while waiting for the floor to open, Saddam was reciting a prayer to Allah and his “prophet” Mohammed. It’s a well-known mantra to Muslims: “There is no God but Allah, and Mohammed is his prophet.” The last word Saddam uttered before entering eternity was “Mohammed.” Unfortunately for Saddam, he was calling upon the WRONG PERSON for salvation. Speaking of Jesus, the Bible says, “There is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 2:12 NASB) Saddam chose the wrong path, and he’s paying for it at this very moment. We should shudder to imagine what his soul is enduring RIGHT NOW. And it should motivate us to share the gospel with the lost we encounter daily----They’re not all evil dictators, but they are all “evil sinners” (Luke 11:13, Romans 3:10) who will perish apart from Christ. But here’s another thought concerning Saddam, and others who are executed for their crimes------JUSTICE WAS SERVED.
If you oppose the Death Penalty…..I can respect your opinion. I’m willing to debate it….I just happen to think the Death Penalty is just, it’s suitable, and it’s even Biblical. I once worked with a man who was a “far left liberal.” Needless to say, we didn’t agree on a lot of political issues, since I’m a “far right conservative.” I like to joke that I’m SO politically conservative that I make Rush Limbaugh look like a Kennedy. In all honesty most Republican politicians are too liberal for me, so the “far left liberal Democrat” seems like a Martian to me. When I encounter one, I tend to roll my eyes and scratch my head quite a bit, but that’s beside the point. Anyway, back to my former co-worker. He was a liberal, who opposed the Death Penalty (that’s common)….but he ALSO opposed abortion (that’s UN-common). His rationale was that taking life is always wrong, no matter who it is. I understood his logic. It made sense. And I really appreciated his stand on abortion. In fact, I think Bill O’Reilly holds the same position…..but here’s where it falls apart. There is a DRAMATIC difference between an innocent child minding his own business in his mother’s womb AND a ruthless, cold-blooded murderer. Whether we like it or not-----THERE ARE SOME CRIMES WORTHY OF DEATH….and governments are God’s appointed institutions to see justice served….at least that’s what the Bible says. Paul wrote about Christians living under Roman rule and said: “But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil.” (Romans 13:4 NASB)
When you live under a totalitarian government, you should cry out to God for justice from the evil that has authority over you. When you live under a “just government,” you should thank God for His blessings and delight in seeing justice served. America has a “just government” that executes those “worthy of death.” NOW, Iraq does too…and justice was served on Saddam Hussein. Of course there’s no guarantee that the “just government” will remain “just.” America is
America has a “just government” that executes those “worthy of death.” NOW, Iraq does too…and justice was served on Saddam Hussein. Of course there’s no guarantee that the “just government” will remain “just.” America is
Strangely enough, many liberals in our country want to do away with the Death Penalty completely. Every time a convicted killer is executed, there will be picketers outside the prison defending the convict. The picketers may think they’re sweet, and maybe they are……but they’re NOT just. Justice should be served.
Of course the greatest irony of all is that many of the people who oppose Capital Punishment also SUPPORT abortion. This has to be one of the most bizarre lapses of logic and decency. They defend guilty murderers……and support the execution of INNOCENT CHILDREN. That’s just warped!….There’s no other way to describe it. It’s just warped! But that type of “warped” thinking is prevalent in our country today, and is well represented in Washington D.C. God is handing us over to our depravity….but I’ve already addressed that in a previous blog (The Judgment Our Nation Deserves), so I won’t go there again.
But I do want to mention a few Bible verses that relate to Capital Punishment. Those who oppose Capital Punishment will often sight the Sixth Commandment, “Thou Shall Not Kill.” (Exodus 20) This is such a ridiculous argument it hardly needs defended, but I’ll defend it anyway. First of all, the Hebrew word translated “kill” is much more accurate when it’s translated “murder.” The commandment is not addressing irritated campers who swat mosquitoes to death. It’s addressing MURDERERS. Secondly, and this is the biggest argument against those who use this verse to oppose Capital Punishment-----READ THE REST OF THE BOOK!.....The Old Testament gives detailed instructions for Capital Punishment. The Israelites were frequently commanded by God to “purge the evil from their midst.” Old Testament law HEAVILY taught Capital Punishment for whole lot more than just murderers. Everything from homosexuals to kids who sassed their parents could be executed. So if you want to oppose the Death Penalty, DON’T go the Old Testament for support. But what about the New Testament?
I’ve already cited Romans 13 above. Here’s a couple more verses. When Paul was defending himself before the Roman Governor Festus, he made this statement: "If, then, I am a wrongdoer and have committed anything worthy of death, I do not refuse to die; but if none of those things is true of which these men accuse me, no one can hand me over to them. I appeal to Caesar.” (Acts 25:11 NASB) Paul is clearly saying that some crimes are “worthy of death.” In fact he says he’s willing to be executed, if he has committed any of those crimes.
When Peter tried to defend Jesus by attacking a Roman soldier with a sword, Jesus said, “Put your sword back into its place; for all those who take up the sword shall perish by the sword.”--Matt 26:52 (NASB) This could be seen as a reference to one dying in battle, or when you consider what Paul said in Romans 13, this could be a reference to Capital Punishment. Peter was attacking a government official with a sword, and could face execution himself for such an act.
When a government executes a guilty murderer….justice is served. Justice is an attribute of God, and we should be glad to see anything remotely related to God coming from a government that so frequently opposes God. As a native Oklahoman, I was glad to see the Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh get executed. Justice was served. As an American, I would be glad to see Osama bin Laden executed. Justice would be served. And as a decent “earthling”….I was glad to see Saddam Hussein get executed. Justice was served. I don’t desire to see anyone go to Hell. I wish McVeigh and Hussein would have repented and turned to Christ……they would NOT. They remained unrepentant and defiant until the end. I also wish bin Laden would turn to Christ. Impossible? No. With God, “all things are possible.” (Mark 10:27) If Saul of Tarsus can become Paul the Apostle…..ANYTHING can happen. But regardless of what MIGHT happen. We would do well to support what SHOULD happen. Criminals should be arrested and prosecuted. And those worthy of death….should be executed. Then, and only then…..Justice will be served.