back to article Illinois scrubs death penalty

The governor of Illinois yesterday officially abolished the death penalty in the state, more than 10 years after executions there were halted amid fears innocent people could be condemned to die. Democrat Pat Quinn described the decision as the "most difficult" he's made during his tenure, but insisted: "If the system can't be …


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  1. Blue_Skunk

    herp a derp

    'She said: "I am a Christian. I never believed in killing nobody else. But the pain you suffer every single day... I say take them out."'

    I see religious double standards are still alive and well

    1. Oninoshiko

      On Murder.

      actually, "retzach" (both Exodus 20:13 and Deuteronomy 5:17) translates to closer to "murder" then to "kill."

      The significance of the difference is quite high. Capital punishment is not murder, killing a opponent in wartime is not murder, killing in defense of self/family is not murder.

      It's quite unfortunate that Christians and Catholics have proven time and time again their propensity for inaccurate translations. I think maybe they should start requiring their members to learn the original languages of their holy works, like the Jews do.

      But I suppose the arguement could be made we are talking about Christians, not Jews, so I press must press on.

      Despite Martin Luther's use of the "kill" translation, his interpritation of this section is fairly inline with how I would read it:

      "We have now completed both the spiritual and the temporal government, that is, the divine and the paternal authority and obedience. But here now we go forth from our house among our neighbors to learn how we should live with one another, every one himself toward his neighbor. Therefore God and government are not included in this commandment nor is the power to kill, which they have taken away. For God has delegated His authority to punish evil-doers to the government instead of parents, who aforetime (as we read in Moses) were required to bring their own children to judgment and sentence them to death. Therefore, what is here forbidden is forbidden to the individual in his relation to any one else, and not to the government." (

      With the implied extension that, when acting as an agent of the government it is not forbidden, this is a reasonable interpretation. Martin Luther doesn't directly address matters of self-defense, which one may conclude puts it in the realm of the proscribed, an interpretation (of the original work, not Martin Luther's commentary) I would reject.

      So too with Matthew Henry's Interpretation:

      "The sixth commandment concerns our own and our neighbour’s life (v. 13): "Thou shalt not kill; thou shalt not do any thing hurtful or injurious to the health, ease, and life, of thy own body, or any other person’s unjustly.’’ This is one of the laws of nature, and was strongly enforced by the precepts given to Noah and his sons, Gen. 9:5, 6. It does not forbid killing in lawful war, or in our own necessary defence, nor the magistrate’s putting offenders to death, for those things tend to the preserving of life; but it forbids all malice and hatred to the person of any (for he that hateth his brother is a murderer ), and all personal revenge arising therefrom; also all rash anger upon sudden provocations, and hurt said or done, or aimed to be done, in passion: of this our Saviour expounds this commandment, Mt. 5:22. And, as that which is worst of all, it forbids persecution, laying wait for the blood of the innocent and excellent ones of the earth" (

      He includes the things that lead up to murder (which basically can be summed up as the majority of the "seven deadly sins"), as murder. I don't know if I can accept that, but I understand certainly understand it. It's worth noting, again, the emphasis is on murder, not killing (A distinction which is made clear) in this commentary.

      I think maybe your interpretation of capital punishment as proscribed and therefore hypocritical for a Christen is wanting.

      All that said, I am opposed to capital punishment, my reason has nothing to do with religion (catholic, jewish, or otherwise). I just have a problem with the poorly made psudo-religious arguments on this topic.

  2. Blake St. Claire

    "I say take them out"?

    "I am a Christian. ..."

    No, she's not.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Sure she is

      Luke 19:27 gives her all the get-out she needs.

      1. Teddy the Bear


        Mark 12:29 doesn't.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          No, but

          Luke 19:27 does.

          So you have to pick and choose which verses to follow. She has chosen the nasty bits.

  3. Anonymous Coward

    Not a Christian definition

    "I am a Christian. I never believed in killing nobody else. But the pain you suffer every single day... I say take them out."

    I have every sympathy for this women but...

    I'm sorry you are not a Christian, just someone who reads the bible a lot

    1. Is it me?

      The clue is....

      The double negative.

      "I never believed in killing nobody" means "I believe in killing everybody"

      Engrish as wot she is spoke.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Double-negative misinterpretation

        Actually, "I never believed in killing nobody"

        translates more accurately to "I have always believed in killing some people".

    2. Teddy the Bear
      Thumb Down

      Not a Christian definition

      "I'm sorry you are not a Christian, just someone who reads the bible a lot"

      May I slightly modify that statement to:

      "I'm sorry you are not a Christian, just someone who reads *selected parts of* the bible a lot *and fails to actually think about what's being read*".

      Ta very much.

  4. The Indomitable Gall

    It's all a conspiracy...

    They're abolishing the death penalty so we can extradite Assange.

    Pass me the Bacofoil, my head feels naked...

  5. Stefing

    Baby Jebus

    "Take them out" - it's what Jesus would have wanted.

    1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

      "I am a Christian"

      "...Except for when it conflicts, with my own, more important, beliefs. I am more important that Jeebus after all."

      How about you just ditch your ridiculous religious notions and join the free-thinking grown-ups, i.e. secular humanists?

      1. Is it me?


        Obviously not that free thinking if you can't accept religious belief as being a free choice, or can't see why people might think their religious beliefs are not ridiculous. part of grown up debate is accepting that other people have a different opinion.

        1. Naughtyhorse


          Yet people suffering with other delusions, e.g that they are napoleon, christ, assange or whatever are locked up.

          it's for our safety, ffs think of the cheeeldren.

  6. Naughtyhorse

    the civilised world

    Welcomes the state of Illinois.

    what took you so long.

  7. Ben Bawden

    Good news

    16 down, what, 34 to go?

  8. Christopher Slater-Walker

    If it's such a good deterrent....

    ...then why are there so many people on death row in the USA?

    Perhaps Americans are all naturally so murderous that without capital punishment, the population of the USA would halve itself overnight?

    Personally I've always felt that capital punishment has much more to do with revenge than justice. Easy for me to say, however, since neither I nor anyone I know has been at the sharp end of murder.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      ... that without capital punishment, the population of the USA would halve itself overnight?

      In what way would that be a problem?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Prolongs life...

      There are some areas of Los Angeles where teenagers on death row have a longer life expectancy than their free peers.

    3. Naughtyhorse

      one possible reason

      if you qare black and working class and a merkin then being on death row actually increases your life expectancy.

      from the book of sad but true!

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Three branches

    "If the system can't be guaranteed 100 per cent error-free, then we shouldn't have the system. It cannot stand."

    Better abolish the whole executive branch of government then.

    1. Alan Esworthy

      Why stop with just one branch?

      see Title.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I find it a sad state when making the decision not to kill another human being, who at that point presumeably is in prison and no further threat to anyone, is classed as 'difficult'.

    1. chadp

      All about the context

      As in, it was difficult to decide whether this would kill my chances for re-election.

      1. Scott Herter

        Not quite right

        The real tough part was who could he shake down for the most money. You see, there have only been four state governers sent to prison in the entire history of the United States (you Brits stop laughing about the entire history bit) and three of them are from Illinois. And if we can get Blogo convicted some time soon, we can have 4 out of 5!

        Heck, if we can get Blogo sent to prison soon, we can have two governers in prison at the same time, one republican and one democrat. Who you gonna vote for now!

        I'll get me coat...

        1. Anonymous Coward

          Welcome to Illinois

          Criminals to the left, scoundrels to the right.

          I think the other governors of Illinois just didn't get caught. Heck we might as well just elect someone who's already in prison and cut out the middle-step!

  11. The Bit Wrangler

    But the pain you suffer every single day...

    ... would be unlikely to go away just because you enacted some vengeance on someone who could be made to look like the perpetrator.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Is the USA finally showing signs of maturity?

    Oh, and sorry Pam Bosley. You might claim to be a Christian but you're not. A pity because one of the few things religion does have going for it is providing ways to deal with and accept pain.

  13. JaitcH

    Murder by government is too extreme when measured against it's failing justice system

    Too many people have been exonerated, after years in jail, using modern investigative techniques which proves either the investigations were botched or the court proceedings failed.

    Either way, killing by government is too extreme as it can't be undone whereas improperly jailed people can always be released and small compensation made by financial resources to those found innocent.

  14. Gerrit Hoekstra

    No more dumping of victims' bodies in adjoining Wisconsin

    Chicago gangsters up to now hedged their bets by dumping their victims in Wisconsin: should they eventually be connected with the crime, they would avoid the Illinois death penalty because the body was not found in Illinois. Wisconsin does not have the death penalty (but has other barbaric traits like everyone talking funny through their noses). This resulted in south Wisconsin cops forever having to repatriate bodies dumped on their turf. They can now at last get back to eating cheese and cheering the Greenbay Packers.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Death Penalty for Titles

    So which is it? Christianity favors the death penalty, or not?

    If the death penalty was rescinded because it is irreversible (the 'oopsie' problem), does this mean that Iran has solved that problem by leaving the death decision to an inerrant power (i.e. God)?

    1. Dave 125

      Re: Death Penalty for Titles

      > So which is it? Christianity favors the death penalty, or not?

      Definitely Not. See Matt 26:52. If Christianity was all about death to non-believers, that would have been the flashpoint (which could have been the swordsman's intention). But Jesus was there and he said the equivalent of "put it away stupid", and in another account of the same event healed the servant's ear.

      Jesus said the two greatest commandments were to love God and to love your neighbour, and that everything in the Law and Prophets hangs off those two (Matt 22:37-40), and gave a new commandment which is (for Christians) to love each other and that the world would know we are his disciples from that (John 13:34-35). That's it. Nothing about death in any of those, and they're the top three, which means everything else must be read in the context of those, so if you DO find anything about death, it doesn't overrule or contradict those.

      While I feel for the lady in question it's not God's best choice for death to be repaid with death but to repay evil with good. Grace and forgiveness are the only option for Christians; Jesus made that abundantly clear, and if she's demanding the death penalty then she's not operating according to the faith but according to her old carnal nature (and worse, if she's not prepared to forgive then she's putting her own forgiveness from God at risk).

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        The bits that support killing

        Mostly the bits which support killing are obvious examples of lines added after the fact. Luke 19:27 is a perfect example, it is one line right at the end of Luke 19 that is a complete change in tone and just happens to have Jesus calling for ethnic cleansing. Someone clearly got hold of an early manuscript and added something to the bottom of this page that served their purposes.

        Unfortunately, to remove this obvious tampering would be seen as playing God, or worse yet censoring God. Thus we get people creating complex philosophies explaining how you can love someone and kill them at the same time according to God's law. This then leads to people like Pam Bosley deciding she can support revenge killings and be a Christian at the same time.

  16. Alan Esworthy
    Thumb Up

    The only proper circumstance for a death penalty... when it is carried out at the time of the intended crime by the intended victim.

  17. Gilgamesh

    "Kill them all; for God knows His Own"

    Arnaud-Amaury, Abbot of Citeaux and military leader of the Cathar Crusade

  18. Ascylto
    Big Brother


    Welcome, Illinois and Pat Quinn, to the real world.

    Pat ... Why was it so difficult?

    "The fruit of my experience has this bitter aftertaste...Capital punishment, in my view, achieved nothing except revenge." Albert Pierrepoint (British Hangman), 1974.

  19. mike_anderson25

    Still having trouble conforming?

    Anyone who still thinks it's better to off someone rather than add them to the growing prison population should take a gander at the film 'Execution.' Effectively (for those who are unaware of the film's existence of course) you watch all the wonderful ways us humans have dispatched of one another over the years of our tumultuous history.

    You soon get the capital punishment opinion knocked the fuck out of you.

    1. Sam Therapy
      Thumb Up

      Never watched the film but

      I upvoted your post for the point you made.

      Killing another human being in cold blood is disgusting; ritualized, state sanctioned killing in cold blood is several orders of magnitude worse.

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