The death penalty is a barbaric relic of an age when the Old Testament’s eye-for-an-eye trumped the New Testament’s tone of “vengeance is mine . . . says the Lord.”
Supporters and opponents of the death penalty can use the Bible to argue either side. The Catholic church, and most mainline Protestant denominations, take the side of those who would abolish it. On the other hand, many evangelical denominations, such as Southern Baptists, are in favor of retaining it. Since that wing of Protestantism is dominant in Alabama, it’s no surprise that Alabama is one of four states that combined to hand down two-thirds of the death sentences in 2012.
This past year, Florida added 21 inmates to its death row, California added 15, Texas added nine, and Alabama, whose population is much smaller than the others, condemned seven more to death.
Alabama and its cohorts are swimming against the tide since executions and new death sentences are down nationwide. Why?
The exoneration of people wrongly convicted has caused doubts about the justice of executions. Those who argue economics point out that the cost of a capital-murder trial and all the appeals that follow make the death sentence as costly as life imprisonment in many cases.
Studies also have raised questions about the death sentence as a deterrent since there is little evidence to support the contention that a person is less likely to commit a capital crime in a death-penalty state.
With the death penalty falling out of favor in so many states and among certain religious groups, now is an appropriate time for legislators to take up the matter and, after thoughtful and prayerful consideration, bring Alabama into the column of states where the death penalty has been abandoned.
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After years of trials, special task forces and seizures, it appears little has been resolved with regard to gambling in Alabama. With VictoryLand reopening and Greene County casinos long open for business, the state looks to be right back where it started.
Casino gambling is illegal in Alabama. Voters in some counties gave their approval to conduct games of “charity bingo.” Yet casinos are operating in areas of the state, each filled with machines that look suspiciously like slot machines. If voters envisioned legislation creating the opportunity for churches and other charitable organizations to hold the kind of “Friday night bingo” games most associate with “charity bingo,” that’s not what they got.
The issue should be resolved.
If casino gambling operations are allowed to exist in Alabama, they should be taxed and regulated consistently throughout the state. Right now, that is not the case. ...