Tags: Religion | christian | death penalty | church | liberal

9 Christian Denominations With Most Liberal Stance on Death Penalty

By    |   Wednesday, 06 May 2015 02:38 PM

The opinions Christians have about the death penalty are as varied as the number of denominations among churches of that faith.

While some point to the 10 Commandments and the order not to kill, others point to Old Testament actions that looked favorably upon death sentences.

For many Christians, however, the issue is not that open and shut, and more and more Christians are turning to the leaders of their denominations to provide a distinct answer to the age-old question: Can Christians and the death penalty go hand in hand?

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Surprisingly, even churches that are generally considered conservative, like the Roman Catholic church, often stand on the more liberal side of this equation by speaking out against the death penalty. Here are a few churches that lean liberal on the death penalty question, or at least don’t actively speak out against it:

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints allows for civil law to determine whether or not the death penalty can be used. Its website says, “We neither promote nor oppose capital punishment.” 

Roman Catholic Church

In the Roman Catholic Church, there is a general disagreement with the use of the death penalty. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' website said in discussing the anti-death penalty stance of the church, “While the Old Testament includes some passages about taking the life of one who kills, the Old Testament and the teaching of Christ in the New Testament call us to protect life, practice mercy, and reject vengeance.” However, many Catholic theologians in the first half of the 20th century were in favor of the death penalty, the Catholic Education Resource Center said, adding, “The Catholic magisterium does not, and never has, advocated unqualified abolition of the death penalty. I know of no official statement from popes or bishops, whether in the past or in the present, that denies the right of the State to execute offenders at least in certain extreme cases.” 

Pentecostal Church

The Pentecostal Church has no official stance, which can be viewed that it doesn’t approve or disapprove.

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Evangelical Lutheran Church

The Evangelical Lutheran Church has spoken out against use of the death penalty, but also recognizes “that God entrusts the state with the power to take human life when failure to do so constitutes a clear danger to society,” the church’s website said. The church objects to the death penalty “because it is not used fairly and has failed to make society safer. Its practice undermines any possible alternate moral message since ‘the message conveyed by an execution, reflected in the attention it receives from the public, is one of brutality and violence.’”
 
American Baptist Church

The American Baptist Church, since 1982, has opposed the death penalty, according to the Pew Research Center. 

Episcopal Church

The Episcopal Church has spoken out against the use of the death penalty since 1958, the Research Center said.

Protestant, Orthodox and Presbyterian Churches

Protestants tend to oppose abortion, according to a paper called “The Death Penalty: Policies of Various Religious Groups,” on ReligiousTolerance.org.

The Research Center said the National Council of Churches, which speaks for 35 Protestant and Orthodox churches “has advocated for the abolition of the death penalty since 1968.”

The Presbyterian Church has opposed the death penalty since 1959, the Research Center said.

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The opinions Christians have about the death penalty are as varied as the number of denominations among churches of that faith. While some point to the 10 Commandments and the order not to kill, others point to Old Testament actions that looked favorably upon death.
christian, death penalty, church, liberal
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2015-38-06
Wednesday, 06 May 2015 02:38 PM
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