An Asian Christian woman living in London blogging about the everyday issues of religion

Monday, 16 September 2013

Does A Christian Have A Right To Cheer For Capital Punishment?

I had always deplored capital punishment till now. An Indian woman was raped in Delhi, India in December 2012 and died as a consequence of horrific injuries. The agonies she suffered were something akin to torture that takes place in war situations, in my opinion. The rapists have been sentence to death by hanging. I cheered when I watched the news on TV. Should I have done this as a Christian? 

We always bring our own experiences to bear and in this case I saw the judgement as punishment for the high levels of misogyny that exists within the Indian society. An Indian woman is easily labelled and ridiculed  for any slight against the Indian patriarchal attitudes which can range from laughing in mixed company (one is seen as a loose woman for doing this) to refusing to agree to an arranged marriage (which means that the woman is demonstrating a level of independence that must not be tolerated). Feminism and the Indian society are not usual bedfellows. 

Being against capital punishment is so much easier when you don't feel that you have a stake in it. It is only an academic argument then and God knows that one can be as pious and sanctimonious as one likes without being called upon to have one's beliefs tested. 


  1. I do know exactly what you mean Jane. This case produced precisely the same reaction in me as you describe. Swiftly followed by first, guilt, then a need to try to justify my reactions.
    Those of us who like to think of ourselves as civilized find it easy to verbalise our (sometimes sanctimonious) beliefs on capital punishment.
    In an ideal world there would be no need for it, but this is not an ideal world.
    Justice and fairness are alien concepts for whole swathes of humanity (not just Indian women).
    Nothing can bring back the poor tortured victim of these disgusting men, but at least retribution will perhaps bring comfort to other women who live in fear of this type of behaviour.
    Christian? Well no, probably not, though the old testament is full of such things, but at is profoundly human.

    1. I love the way you have attributed the aspect of being human to a Christian life. Trying to live like a perfect human being is not possible all the time especially when huge injustices occur which cause one to rage and wish revenge on the perpetrators.

  2. "Should I have done this as a Christian?"

    Well, no.

  3. Thanks Nicholas. Are things always black and white in theology?