Pure Evil: This Is Why We Have a Death Penalty

Young Gabriel’s life was made in God’s image – it was sacred and inviolable. These two humans tortured him to death.

This is why any civilized, moral society will have a death penalty:

A mother has been jailed for life and her boyfriend sentenced to death for the murder of her eight-year-old son who they tortured and abused until he died because they thought he was gay.

Pearl Fernandez, 34, and Isauro Aguirre, 37, were sentenced on Thursday for the May 2013 death of her son Gabriel.

Over the course of several months, the pair tortured Gabriel at their home in Los Angeles by locking him up in cabinets, beating him with bats and shooting him with BB guns.

The boy was taken to hospital on May 23, 2013, after he stopped breathing. He had pellets lodged in his lung and groin and had a fractured skull.

According to evidence put forth by the prosecution, little Gabriel was forced to sleep in a cabinet, blindfolded. Exhibiting behavior that the judge could only appropriately declare animalistic, Fernandez and Aguirre actually force-fed the poor boy feces.

Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit Himself, Paul writes in the book of Romans, that we as individual human beings are not to exact revenge on our own, lashing out in some vain effort to secure vigilante justice. He writes, “Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord” (12:19).

God will indeed dispense justice as only He can. But how does God dispense justice here on Earth? Don’t stop reading Paul’s words in Romans. Just paragraphs later, we get our answer:

“The one in authority (government) is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer” (13:4).

The Holy Spirit’s message to men attempting to live moral, Godly lives is not confused and it is not contradictory. We are to take no license in exacting our personal vindictiveness on one who we believe has done us wrong. God tells us to focus on forgiveness while trusting Him to execute wrath. And how will He do it? Through his “agent of wrath,” the civil authorities who, “do not bear the sword for no reason.”

Young Gabriel’s life was made in God’s image – it was sacred and inviolable. These two humans tortured him to death in the most animalistic, monstrous ways imaginable. To say that their debt for such a heinous act can be paid by living in prison is an insult to the sacred nature of Gabriel’s precious life. While we should not personally lash out on his behalf, we should be mindful that godly authority wields the sword for people like this.

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@AlexWilson-Thanks for the reply. I think we're just not going to agree here. It seems to me that you are taking one facet of consequence (that of eternal life and the consequences of sin before a just and Holy God) and unfairly applying it to a different realm of civil justice (in which man is accountable to man for injustice and crimes here on earth).

Likewise, it appears that you are comfortable in taking a blood sacrifice of Jesus and applying that as a balm of forgiveness for people who are not even in the faith and who have not received forgiveness from God for that sin. It really does seem the proverbial apples/oranges discussion to me.

And I can assure you, contrary to some here, that I am not 'bloodthirsty'. But I am a staunch advocate for solid exegesis, and it seems to me that you have approached this topic from a predominantly eisegetic perspective. The very fact that we would overturn an explicit teaching of scripture--especially on a topic of this great an importance--based on what we believe to be an inference seems to be very unstable soil, in my opinion.

Nonetheless, I do very much appreciate the polite conversation!

Alex Wilson
Alex Wilson


1.) I don't know that its explicitly taught, but I would say that it's at least implicit in that sacrifice also predated the mosaic law, going all the way back at least to Abraham sacrificing the ram in place of Issac and I would argue to the Garden of Eden, shortly after Adam and Eve sinned when God slays animals not only to literally cover their nakedness with animal skins, but more importantly to cover their sin with shed blood and point to the way that sin would ultimately be covered by Christ. We no longer sacrifice animals, even though the shedding of blood is required to cover sin.

Also even in the OT, murders weren't always put to death for their crime, despite the requirements of the law. Cain, Moses, and David were all allowed to die a natural death despite their commission of murder. In the case of Cain, God even protected him from others who would seek his death in retribution.

2.) Mainly because Romans 13 seems to permit governments the use of capital punishment.

I'm actually coming from the opposite direction as you then since I was formerly a supporter of capital punishment and have only recently changed my view. My main reason for opposing it isn't for moral reasons, if I thought we could reliably execute only the guilty in a way that isn't prohibitively expensive, then I would be fine with having it as a punishment in most instances of homicide. Even in cases like the one above, the wholly inadequate safeguards we have in place to help prevent people from being executed for crimes they didn't actually commit will likely result in the state spending millions litigating the case through the appeals process and even if they're successful in doing so, the defendant is more likely to die of old age than to be executed. I would much rather that money be spent on something meaningful, rather than be wasted on pursuing an execution that's unlikely to even occur.


@IndyArcher - too bloodthirsty to answer a question. what a shame. you won't answer it because you know I'm right about innocent people being put to death, but you can't bring yourself to say "that isn't right and i don't support that" because ultimately you just want some criminals to die. i get it, you get hard off of death. just like god commanded in blah blah blah 13:69


@streiff- pardon the bluntness, but while you do raise an interesting issue, your approach constitutes much of what I find disgusting in online discourse, as your natural stance seems to be that of lobbing ad hominems at someone with whom you disagree. I neither need nor desire that, so I'll let it go there and continue conversation with those who can approach things with passion and civility.



Thanks, @alex Wilson-

Here's my thing: I agree with you that government is absolutely responsible for punishing crime. Murder would be at the top of the chart fo crime, I think we'd both agree. When Jesus died for the sins of man, it seems we would agree that his death, while atoning fully for the sins of those who believe, does not mean that people get a free pass for criminal activity by claiming to "believe".

Where it seems that we diverge is simply and solely on the issue of capital punishment. You make the connection with Jesus' shed blood making the death penalty no longer a 'requirement' to 'shed the blood' of the one guilty of murder, but I believe you said it's an option, just not a necessity.

My question would be, then, two-fold:

  1. Where is that explicitly taught? Romans 13 obviously offers God's approval of "violence" by the government for wrong behavior (thus the 'sword' of punishment), but I don't find anything in God's Word that truly states anything that somehow "undoes" the command in Genesis 9.

  2. If Jesus' blood has met the requirements of capital punishment of "all men who shed men's blood", then why would it not be wrong to put someone to death if Jesus has already covered that punishment through his sacrifice?

I appreciate the dialogue, Alex. I actually pastor a congregation that is part of a historically pacifistic tradition, so this is an issues that I've looked at in depth, and in which I frequently find myself in theological conflict with some of my peers.