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"Hot" religious topics


Capital punishment:
All viewpoints on the death penalty.

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electric chair About this section:

This section of our website deals with the execution of criminals found guilty of having committed very serious crimes.

This used to be a universal practice in North America. However, in recent decades, almost all democracies in the world have abandoned the death penalty. The U.S., Japan, and South Korea are the only exceptions. Of course, many dictatorships and theocracies in the world retain the death penalty as a terror weapon.

In North America, as of 2015-MAY-29:

  • 19 states in the U.S. and the country of Canada have abolished the death penalty.

  • During 2015, the Legislature in Nebraska has voted to abolish the death penalty. Governor Pet Ricketts (R) has vetoed the bill. However, the Legislature overode the veto by a vote of 30 to 19. 30 votes was the minimum required to successfully override a veto. Surprisingly, there was considerable support from conservative lawgivers who objected to the expensive and bureaucratic process needed to execute people, and who felt that ending people's lives is not a proper function of government.

  • Previous to Nebraska's ban, Connecticut and Maryland were the most recent states to eliminate executions. Maryland is the only state south of the Mason-Dixon line to have done so. However, Connecticut still retains 11 inmates on death row who may be executed in the future.

  • Californian adults voted in Proposition 34 -- a citizen initiative -- on election day in early 2012-NOV. Voters were able to choose between two options: to preserve capital punishment or to replace it with life imprisonment without any possibility of parole. The final vote was 52.8% in favor of the more expensive option -- retaining the death penalty -- and 47.2% for ending executions. If it had passed, it would have saved the state about $100 million a year.

Like other topics elsewhere in this website, we try to explain objectively all viewpoints. Thus, no matter what your beliefs are, you will certainly see material with which you strongly disagree and other material with which you will agree. If you don't want to see your beilefs challenged you might want to leave this web site, and stick with other information sources that are biased either in a liberal or conservative direction which matches your own views.

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Topics covered in this section are:

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An innovative T-shirt:

Picture of t-shirt As of 2015-MAY, Amnesty International sells a remarkable unisex T-shirt that shows the U.S. states that still have the death penalty as red stars and those that don't as white stars. The star representing Texas appears to have trailing blood smear, apparently because of the enormous number of executions per capita in that state. The caption says "Abolish the Death Penalty." Amnesty International is working to ensure that more red stars will flip to white. They enclose a stencil with some fabric paint so that you can change red stars to white as additional states abolish capital punishment. See: offers free shipping for Amazon Prime members.

Because this shirt will likely be a conversation-starter, AI has supplied three arguments against the death penalty:

  • Two wrongs don't make a right.
  • The death penalty system is too flawed to be fixed, and risks innocent lives.
  • There are more constructive ways to address violent crime!

To which we would like to add: (Bias alert)

  • It is more expensive to execute someone than to keep them in jail for life.
  • Most Americans favor life sentences without any possibility of parole, instead of execution.
  • Whether you are executed or not depends a lot on how much money you have to spend in your defense, and your skin color.
  • Stopping the death penalty:
    • Is a pro-life position.
    • Keeps more prison guards employed.
    • Helps create a culture in which human personhood is so highly valued that not even the state is allowed to kill people.

One great thing about this T-shirt is that you can proudly wear it if you are a supporter of the death penalty. All you have to do is to erase the word "Abolish."

Other T-shirts, both for and against the death penalty are available on the Cafe Press web site at: They also sell bumper stickers, cups, wall clocks, tote bags, hats, mugs, and buttons

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Copyright © 1995 to 2013 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally published: 1995-JUN-8
Last updated 2015-AUG-04

Author: Bruce A Robinson
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