On Friday, I spoke to Ben Jones, a 30-year-old marathoner who completed the Boston race before the bombs were detonated.
Jones, who lives in Lawrence, Kan., also happens to be a campaign strategist for Conservatives Concerned about the Death Penalty, a group that is far more resolute in its stance against capital punishment than its name would suggest.
“I’m against the death penalty in all cases, including this one,” said Jones. “I grew up supporting it for religious reasons, but I started changing my mind when I heard about innocent people being exonerated.”
Ben Jones said,
“What he did was awful, horrific and caused immense pain,” said Jones, “but going for the death penalty and getting it will keep the process alive for years and years.”
There are many who oppose executing Tsarnaev and for good reason according to Ben Jones. He wrote,
Two-thirds of Boston residents opposed the death penalty for Tsarnaev. So did the Catholic Church, saying that “society can do better than the death penalty.” Several family members of victims killed in the attack also urged a life without parole sentence, so as to avoid the prolonged and often painful legal process of capital cases.
Jones highlighted the many Biblical reasons to oppose the death penalty in general including,
Perhaps most importantly for Christians, Jesus refuses to speak in favor of an execution but instead stops it for the woman caught in adultery (John 8:1-11). Interestingly, in a poll asking whether Jesus would support government exercising the death penalty, only 5 percent of Americans said he would. If we don’t think that Jesus would support the death penalty, that should give Christians pause in championing it.
The death penalty’s use also puts innocent lives at risk, as Jones points out,
Since 1973, over 150 individuals in the U.S. have been wrongfully sentenced to death and later exonerated. A recent study estimates that 4 percent of individuals sentenced to death are innocent. There are admitted instances of innocent people being executed, and such irreversible mistakes likely have occurred in the recent past.
Digging into the details of capital cases reveals no shortage of spectacular mistakes and abuse by government.