The Morality of Capital Punishment: An Exchange
Duquesne Law Review, Vol. 29, p. 719, 1991
14 Pages Posted: 24 Sep 2011
Date Written: September 23, 2011
During the month of December, I participated in a debate about the death penalty with Dr. Ernest van den Haag. The debate was sponsored by the newly-formed Duquesne Law School chapter of the Federalist Society. During this debate, I expressed the view that secular society lacks “permission” to impose the death penalty. Dr. van den Haag responded at the time that “we give ourselves permission.” Later, Dr. van den Haag agreed to a brief, further exploration of this theme in the pages of the Duquesne Law Review. What began for me as an exploration of God’s permission for the death penalty in a secular state, has evolved into a consideration of the religious assumptions underlying the death penalty in a secular state. In order to identify these assumptions, it is first necessary to examine the secular justifications for the death penalty given by Dr. van den Haag.
Keywords: capital punishment
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