Christ, Christians & Capital Punishment


Last year, I came to a startling conclusion: That the debate over the death penalty in the United States is largely among Christians, but has ignored the capital sentencing which is at the center of that faith. The result of this epiphany is Christ, Christians & Capital Punishment.

In this article, I argue that the story of Christ parallels modern capital practice in many respects: Christ was turned in by a paid informant (Judas), arrested in a strategic manner, given an arraignment and stood mute, was tried, convicted and sentenced, appealed to two separate sovereigns, and finally was denied a pardon.

These similarities lead to two primary conclusions for the Christian citizen. First, the death of Jesus Christ, an innocent, indicts a modern death penalty system that continues to threaten the execution of innocent men and women. Second, the trial of Christ suggests structural reforms of capital sentencing, if we are to retain capital punishment.

My argument directly confronts the majority view among conservative Christian legal academics and politicians, who tend not to include the story of Christ himself when addressing Christian positions on the death penalty.


Comparative and Foreign Law | Criminal Law | Criminal Procedure | Law and Society | Religion Law

Date of this Version

March 2006