RELIGIOUS VIEWS: Christians Concerned about Execution of Innocent People
A recent poll by NationalChristianPoll.com found that two-thirds of active Christians who oppose the death penalty are concerned about judicial error that could lead to an innocent person being executed. The poll also found that of Christians who do support the death penalty, 60% do so because of biblical teachings. According to a Pew Forum poll from 2007, the strongest supporters of the death penalty are white evangelicals, with 74% approval. However, John Whitehead, president of the conservative Rutherford Institute, remarked , “It's anti-evangelical to kill people. Christianity is redemptive. But you can't redeem people by extinguishing them."
Overall support for the death penalty is at 62% according to the 2007 Pew Forum poll. Most Protestant churches and the Roman Catholic Church oppose capital punishment, though many of their members support it.
James Skillen, president of the Center for Public Justice, noted that many people do not understand the biblical history behind the use of the death penalty and how that history has been misused. He said, "My sense is that historical depth and thinking through the principles of moral decisions about this matter isn't done."
(“Capital Doubts,” by Sarah Eekhoff Zylstra, Christianity Today, February 19, 2008). See Religion and Public Opinion.