The senator for my district (SD 19), Matt Rosendale, argues that Christian values must positively influence Montana's decision to end the death penalty. I voted for Rosendale and appreciate his service. As a Christian and pastor from Senate District 19, I have to disagree with Sen. Rosendale's position on this issue.
Rosendale wrote that "(ending the death penalty) is consistent with Christian values, which teach us to show mercy and compassion." Mercy and compassion, however, are not contradictory to justice. Proverbs 11:21 teaches that God will not leave the wicked unpunished. Would Rosendale interpret this to mean that God is not compassionate or merciful? Likewise, Rosendale wrote of Jesus saving the adulterous woman, saying, "He who is blameless throw the first stone." To what extent should we apply this to our judicial system? What judge or what jury is without sin? Perhaps we should not sentence anyone to jail or order them to pay a fine? Jesus was rebuking a mob engaging in vigilante justice by some who had committed the same crime.
Romans 13 is clear. It is the government's job to punish lawbreakers. In fact, this passage clarifies that the government can distribute justice through "the sword" (implying death). Jesus said to "render unto Caesar what is Caesar's." It is Caesar's job to carry out justice and make the tough decisions. Justice is a bigger issue than the expense differentials between capital punishment and life imprisonment.