Capital Crime & Punishment by J. Daryl Charles

Capital Crime & Punishment

Reflections on Violating Human Sanctity

by J. Daryl Charles

Among Western nations there is a generally growing sentiment in favor of abolishing the death penalty. This sentiment, it should be noted, is more disposed simply to view the death penalty in unqualified terms as cruel, barbaric, and unsuited to enlightened contemporary culture than it is to wrestle with the complexities of public policy and the meaning of criminal justice—e.g., what is just, what punishments are proportionate, which categories of criminals should be permanently removed from civil society, what sorts of crimes are heinous and worthy of ultimate sanctions, what obligation the governing authorities and lawmakers have in protecting and preserving civil society, and what steps a just society should take to ensure and facilitate restitution for victims.

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J. Daryl Charles is the Acton Institute Affiliated Scholar in Theology & Ethics. He is the author or editor of twenty books, including Retrieving the Natural Law (2008), Natural Law and Religious Freedom (2018), and, most recently, Just War and Christian Traditions (forthcoming). He is also co-editor of Abraham Kuyper, Common Grace: God's Gifts for a Fallen World, Volume 3 (2020). He is a contributing editor to Touchstone.

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