Is the Death Penalty Cruel and Unusual Punishment?
Yes, the Death Penalty has no moral basis because it certainly is a ‘cruel and unusual’ punishment because it directly contravenes 3 of the most respected documents in the world today: the U.S Constitution, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Bible. The practice clearly contravenes the ‘cruel and unusual’ clause that the Bill of Rights in U.S Constitution declares must not be used when meting out punishment. The Death Penalty goes against the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which declare that the that human beings have two basic human rights – the right to life and the right against torture or subjection to any merciless, unfeeling or humiliating punishment. In addition, every major religion including the Bible’s New Testament denounces the Death Penalty as an ineffective and socially destructive punishment.
The Death Penalty is ‘cruel and unusual’ because every person’s right to life is given by God and only He can take life. The State has got no right to interfere in God’s divine rules. In addition to the ones executed, their family members are also very adversely affected; they are made orphans or widows and their agony is prolonged by mandatory appeals and ever probing media coverage. The ‘cruel and unusual’ nature of the Death Penalty is the main reason why over two-thirds of the world’s nations have chosen to eradicate the practice (these include the U.K which did so in 1998), while only 59 nations (including the U.S) have chosen to persist with it; even during a meeting of the United Nations General Assembly in December last year, 106 member nations voted in favor of a stop to the use of the Death Penalty, as compared to 46 countries that voted against the moratorium, and 34 nations that chose not to vote.