by Moody Adams
“In 2006, John Grisham was compelled to publish his first work of non-fiction, The Innocent Man, a haunting account of a small-town baseball hero railroaded onto death row for a rape and murder he did not commit," writes Carol Memmott in USA Today. “In his new legal thriller, The Confession, Grisham again dips into his strongly held anti-death-penalty convictions to tell the story of the fictional Donté Drumm, who at 19 is found guilty of murdering a high school cheerleader in Slone, Texas.”

Mr. Grisham goes to foreign countries to teach people the Bible, yet he himself does not accept its authority. “Thou shalt not kill” is a commandment given to individuals. The Bible teaches that individuals should not take vengeance, not kill, but forgive. Government, on the other hand, is commanded to take the life of a murderer: “Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man” (Genesis 9:6). This preceeds the Old Testament law of Moses.

The Lord has commissioned government to execute justice: “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? Do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake” (Romans 13:1-4). God has ordained government to minister justice, using the sword when necessary.

When Jesus Christ was suffering the death penalty, dying for our sins, He stressed that the government's power to take His life was given to the government by God: “Jesus answered , Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin” (John 19:11).

Mr. Grisham attacks capital punishment because mistakes are made. Of course, some innocent people have been executed. But innocent people are also put in prison. If mistakes mean stopping the death penalty, then we should close all the jails and prisons. Obviously, unequal justice is preferable to no justice.

The truth is, we all support the death penalty. People may differ on who should receive it, but they believe in the death penalty.

If you believe in a military force to prevent a hostile takeover of our nation, or to stop killers like Hitler, you believe in the death penalty. If you believe in an armed police force that is suppose to shoot a murderer gunning down children in a school, you believe in the death penalty. These are both cases of government delivering the death penalty, without reading them their rights, having a trial, nor an appeals process. Sometimes killing is the only option to prevent more killing.

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