A legislative commission in Maryland has recommended that the state abolish capital punishment. This report cites several reasons to drop the death penalty, including racial disparity, jurisdictional disparity, substantially higher costs (yes, as opposed to life in prison), detrimental effects on victims' families, the risk of executing an innocent person, and no evidence of deterrence.
There are lots of reasons to be against the death penalty. There is exactly one reason to be for it: believing in the retributive justice of "an eye for an eye". I have little to say to people of non-Christian faiths, or no faith, who support the death penalty for this reason, other than to reiterate all the practical problems with capital punishment (Jews who support capital punishment should read this).
But to my fellow Jesus-followers who support, or are ambivalent about capital punishment, I'd issue this challenge: You have placed your faith in violence and revenge rather than in the Jesus who taught us to forgive our enemies, who flatly rejected "eye for an eye" thinking, and who died to save even (or especially) the worst of us. Who is not willing that any should perish. Who begged for forgiveness for his killers, while they were killing him. Repent.
I hope the state legislature of Maryland listens to this recommendation. Last year New Jersey abolished capital punishment. There is momentum to end this cycle of revenge and violence, even in the South. Let's pray for grace in violent times.