Re: Sister Catherine Nichol (Billings), Letter: Death penalty isn't the Christian way, Billings Gazette, April 01, 2009
From: Dudley Sharp, contact info below
The Sister made a number of errors common to anti death penalty folks. With many of the religious, they only review the anti death penalty literature and refuse to fact check it. For Church leadership and for this debate, that represents a disservice to the truth, as well at to their flock.
1) The Sister contends that those Christians who support the death penalty are "people (that are) stalled in the Old Testament." "We read in the Bible, 'Jesus said, You have heard it said, 'An eye for an eye,' etc., 'but I say to you ...' " No! In effect, "Love one another" can't be kill one another."
REPLY: There is almost no end to the Saints, Popes, biblical and theological scholars who find New Testament support for the death penalty - Saints Thomas Aquinas and Augustine, for two.
"Review: Catholic Death Penalty Support: Modern Scholars" (among others)
2) The Sister claims: "There's a much better option - life imprisonment with no parole. Many outstanding members of the clergy have already testified to this."
REPLY: There is no "better" about life without parole. It is a decidedly different sanction than the death penalty. Juries have the option, between those two sanctions, thereby allowing them to choose what they find as the better of the two, for the crime before them. Neither the Sister nor those clergymen have expressed why locking up one another for life so expresses "love one another". Biblically, there is a well known distinction between how we, personally, respond to those who harm us and how the government should respond to those criminals who harm the innocent.
3) The Sister states: "That no mistakes have been made is a mistake to claim. Other states have discovered their fatal errors."
REPLY: Which states, Sister? There is no proof of an innocent executed in the US, at least since 1900. The evidence is that the death penalty is a superior protector of innocents, over a life sentence.
Review: The Death Penalty Provides More Protection for Innocentsose
4) The Sister states: "As to economics, it simply doesn't hold water to claim that a life sentence is more expensive than a death sentence. Researched data has disproved that position."
REPLY: Well, no. Some studies are simply horrible in their lack of thoroughness. And, if all states imposed the death penalty as does Virginia, then true life cases would, almost always, be more expensive than the death penalty.
Review: "Cost Savings: The Death Penalty" first comment at
5) Let us hope and pray that Montana can join the "leadership" in our country on this issue with abolishment of the death penalty!
REPLY: It is very likely that the Sister has no clue as to what horrid "leadership" that has been.
"Rebuttal to Governor Richardson - Repeal of the Death Penalty in New Mexico"
"Why did Gov. Richardson repeal the death penalty? His legacy"
"DEAD WRONG: NJ Death Penalty Study Commission"
Response, at bottom. One of four response to New Jersey Assembly Speaker Roberts.
Dudley Sharp, Justice Matters
e-mail email@example.com, 713-622-5491,
Mr. Sharp has appeared on ABC, BBC, CBS, CNN, C-SPAN, FOX, NBC, NPR, PBS , VOA and many other TV and radio networks, on such programs as Nightline, The News Hour with Jim Lehrer, The O'Reilly Factor, etc., has been quoted in newspapers throughout the world and is a published author.
A former opponent of capital punishment, he has written and granted interviews about, testified on and debated the subject of the death penalty, extensively and internationally