#1031 for broadcast on 2CH Sydney, 8 Feb 2015
Australian citizens and convicted drug traffickers Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, two of the infamous “Bali Nine,” face imminent execution in Indonesia.
In Australia, capital punishment was last used in 1967, and in 2010 federal legislation prohibited capital punishment in all Australian states and territories.
While “God and the gallows” are perfectly compatible for many people of faith, others view the death penalty as barbaric.
Political, philosophical, social and religious convictions all play a part in forming one’s view on capital punishment. History and geography also play a significant part, as the quite divergent discourses in the U.S. and Australia illustrate.
I oppose the death penalty, on the grounds that it violates the principle that every human person is made in the image of God, and should be treated with commensurate respect and dignity.
I am also persuaded by arguments about discrimination in the justice system on the basis of race, gender and poverty; and by the lack of evidence that the death penalty has any bearing on capital crime rates.
I’m Rod Benson for the NSW Council of Churches.