Religious viewpoints on capital punishment
The death penalty is inconsistent with Buddhist teachings, since philosophically, capital punishment and Buddhism are a false paradox. Yet, evidence suggests that most Southeast Asian countries practiced capital punishment long before the Buddhist influence emerged in India in 400 to 500 B.C.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints stated in the "Public Issues" section of the Church's official website (accessed July 25, 2008):
"The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints regards the question of whether and in what circumstances the state should impose capital punishment as a matter to be decided solely by the prescribed processes of civil law. We neither promote nor oppose capital punishment.
The scriptures speak both for and against the system of capital punishment. The scriptures give the ruler or the government the power to use capital punishment. However, the saints and mahatmas do not believe in capital punishment. They believe in reforming people. There are a large number of instances in which saints have reformed criminals, in some cases so much so that the reformed people themselves became saints.
The views of American Muslims on the death penalty vary somewhat, but the range is narrow compared to the enormous disagreements among Christians. All Muslims accept the permissibility of the death penalty because it is addressed in the Qur'an. However, our views range from those who would apply it for a moderately short list of crimes (short compared to the enormous list of capital crimes in the old testament) to those who would apply it to a somewhat shorter list still, and finally, to those who would call for a moratorium on the death penalty in America altogether.
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