Would Jesus Believe In The Death Penalty?

Ken AshfordElection 2008, GodstuffLeave a Comment

Mike Huckabee got big laughs Wednesday night during the YouTube debate when he sidestepped a question about how Jesus might view capital punishment.  Huckabee responded by saying Jesus was too smart to run for public office.

Funny?  Not really.  Evasive?  Definitely.

The Arkansas Times notes the Huckabee has received the question before, and always dodged it.  Flashback to 1997, when Huckabee was governor of Arkansas:

On the eve of Arkansas’ recent triple execution, Huckabee made an appearance on an AETN call-in program broadcast statewide. A caller confronted him with a touchy question: How, how, as a minister of the Gospel, could he justify the state-sanctioned taking of life given the Bible’s many injunctions against slaughter and in favor of the Christian virtue of forgiveness?

Huckabee responded almost flippantly. First he cited Genesis to the effect that those who do violence will have violence done to them.

I’m assuming this is Genesis 4:15 — the whole slaying Cain bit.  Of course, in that passage, God does not say who will exact violence on those will do violence.  (Presumably, that is answered in

Next he claimed that there exist both Old and New Testament passages that support capital punishment, although he failed to cite any.

Yeah.  You would think between then and now, Huckabee would be able to cite the biblical verse in favor of capital punishment.  But then come the money quote:

"Interestingly enough, if there was ever an occasion for someone to have argued aginst the death penalty, I think Jesus could have done so on the cross and said, ‘This is an unjust punishment and I deserve clemency.’ "

Riiiight.  All Jesus said was "God, why hast thou forsaken me?"*. 

And since his gripe was to God rather than to the act of dying at the hands of the state, he must therefore have improved of state-sponsored execution.  Silence from Jesus about a subject connnotes agreement with it.  (We can assume, therefore, that Jesus supported the infield fly rule, since he is not quoted as saying anything on the subject).

Make sense?

Can’t believe this guy is polling so well….

* although the Bible is self-contradictory on this matter…

UPDATE:  Not related to the death penalty, but still yet another problem for Huckabee:

In June 1998, the Southern Baptist Convention issued a “statement on the family” that asserted, “A wife is to submit herself graciously to the servant leadership of her husband even as the church willingly submits to the headship of Christ.” Two months later, then-governor of Arkansas Mike Huckabee was one of 131 signatories to a full-page ad in USA Today specifically endorsing the Convention’s view on marriage:

You are right because you called wives to graciously submit to their husband’s sacrificial leadership.

Someone should ask him if he still believes this.