Crime and Punishment

Greg Gwin

“Murder: The willful and malicious taking of human life. This crime, according to the Bible, should always be punished with death. But in our day, especially in our country, it generally brings with it only a good deal of notoriety, and not death. But we may rest assured of this, that God will one day visit on the people of this country a fearful retribution for the indulgence which they show to the crime. Take the life of him who willfully and with malice takes the life of his fellow man - do this surely, do it in all cases, and murder will cease. Fail to do this, and you breed mobs; for the world is apt to feel that a murderer hung by a mob is a less evil than a murderer turned loose by a corrupt court of law, to murder again at will. That is a morbid and most pernicious sentiment which forgets what is due to God, to society, and to the murdered, through sickly sympathy for the murderer. It is devoid of justice; nor is it any proper expression of mercy."


One might imagine that the above essay was written by a conservative commentator in 2011. Instead, it was written by Moses Lard in his commentary on the Book of Romans -- in 1875! If Lard, in 1875, was alarmed by the way men were callously ignoring God's will in regard punishment of criminals, what would he say today? Never has there been a time when men so blatantly defied the plain teachings of the Bible in this matter. And, having sown the wind, we are reaping the whirlwind. Violent crimes, with victims selected at random, are on a dramatic increase.


Experience has shown that tolerance for criminals, and an inordinate concern for their rights while ignoring the rights of the victims, has only led to a steady increase in crime. As Lard said, we ought to do God's will - execute the murderers, and murder rates will surely fall.