1. Gov. Malloy’s biblical confusion

    To: Connecticut General Assembly and
    media throughout Connecticut

    From: Dudley Sharp

    Date: April 21, 2012

    Gov. Malloy’s ignorance of the death penalty, within scripture, is par.

    He states:

    “I don’t want to overemphasize my Catholicism here,” the governor, who grew up in a family of eight children and went to Jesuit-run Boston College, told me. “But I know my religion. I know religions in general. In the New Testament, the one place where Jesus talks about the death penalty, he says, ‘Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.’ When I’ve reflected on the death penalty, the reality is I frequently ponder that passage.” (1)

    The Governor may, frequently, reflect, but without understanding.

    First, Jesus makes quite a few references to the death penalty, not just one (2).

    One of many examples:

    Jesus: ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and ‘Whoever curses father or mother must certainly be put to death.’ Matthew 15:4

    This is a New Testament command, which references several of the same commands from God, from the OT (3).

    With the Governor’s referenced passage, we have:

    John 8:6 : “They said this to test (Jesus), so that they could have some charge to bring against him.”

    This passage is very clear. The Pharisees were trying to entrap Jesus, by getting Him to violate Roman law or God’s law. Jesus was a bit to smart for that.

    Even anti death penalty nun, Helen Prejean, often wrong on death penalty issues, states:

    Even Jesus’ admonition “Let him without sin cast the first stone”, when He was asked the appropriate punishment for an adulteress (John 8:7) – the Mosaic Law prescribed death – should be read in its proper context. This passage is an entrapment story, which sought to how Jesus’ wisdom in besting His adversaries. It is not an ethical pronouncement about capital punishment.”

    “It is abundantly clear that the Bible depicts murder as a capital crime for which death is considered the appropriate punishment, and one is hard pressed to find a biblical proof text in either the Hebrew Testament or the New Testament which unequivocally refutes this”

    Sister Helen Prejean, Dead Man Walking.

    It was, however, an ethical pronouncement about the death penalty. Jesus could not say the adulteress wasn’t subject to the death penalty, because the Pharisees would claim Jesus had violated God’s law.

    Jesus simply avoided the entrapment, by shaming the Pharisees, who retreated.

    More complete review of J0hn 8 at Footnote 4.

    This is very similar to the other arguments against the death penalty – they’re “Dead Wrong”.


    1) “Catholic activists pushing politicians to turn tide against the death penalty”, Washington Post, April 19, 2012

    2) God and the Death Penalty, by Pastor Bob Enyart, Theology Online,

    3) This passage is about the importance of God’s law over man’s laws or traditions and about not perverting scripture to serve earthly wants, very pertinent, in the context of Gov. Malloy’s statement. Jesus brought specific OT passages into His teachings to emphasis the importance of them and to make clear they are still relevant in the present time.

    4) John 8 and the death penalty: The Woman Caught in Adultery
    Compiled by Dudley Sharp

    a) What about the woman caught in adultery? From “Why I Support Capital Punishment”, by Andrew Tallman, sections 7-11 biblical review, sections 1-6 secular review See Part 11

    “the Pharisees wanted to make Jesus a heretic for opposing capital punishment, but He evaded their trap. The tremendous irony is that now, two thousand years later, people who claim to love Jesus teach that He was precisely the heretic His enemies wanted to paint Him as.”

    b) “Sanctity of Life & the Death Penalty: Flip sides of the same ‘Divine’ coin”, Richard Eric Gunby, Quodlibet Journal: Volume 5 Number 2-3, July 2003
    ISSN: 1526-6575 John 8:2-11 (NRSV)

    “Therefore their motives (to entrap Jesus) were nothing but evil. They were not seeking to follow God’s Law-Word in godly fashion; rather, they were attempting to employ surreptitiously what Moses said, towards their own evil ends of trying to trip Jesus up. What a foul thing.”

    “This cannot be read as an example of Jesus doing away with the law. Far from it! This is an example of Jesus, again, going by the clear unencumbered dictates of the law and not allowing it to be used towards evil ends in His presence. It is Jesus together with the Law triumphant over His enemies and their tradition. This is clearly an upholding of the law.”

    http://www.quodlibet.net/articles/gunby-sanctity.shtml as of 4/24/10

    c) John 8: The Woman Caught in Adultery – Dealing with Capital Offenses Lawfully

    “John 8 in no way sets a precedent that would eliminate the penalties for committing capital crimes such as adultery, murder, rape, sodomy, abduction, etc. Instead, it re-establishes them and demonstrates the continuity of Theonomic Law into the New Testament era initiated by Christ. It is only the ceremonial elements of O.T. Law like instrumental music during worship, blood sacrifices, avoidance of certain meats and food/fabric mixtures, New Moon celebrations etc. that were done away with at Christ’s crucifixion. These things are made clear in the Epistles of Paul (Galatians 2-3) who re-establishes the old principle that “obedience is better than sacrifice”.

    “The Pharisees, upon hearing Christ condemning them by quoting the context of the Law and knowing that they were without witnesses (v.17) turned their accusations against him as a true witness of the Law. (v.13) Jesus responded to their “fleshly” accusations (v.15) by revealing to them that he was not only a true witness of the Law but rather the author of it. (vs.16,58) He was one of the three witnesses of Heaven, the second person of the Triune God. (1 John 5:7) Let us not fall into the same error as the Pharisees by circumventing the Law. Let us rather honour it by demanding that our ministers of the Law enforce it. Doing so will enhance the proclamation of the Gospel and sinners will understand that if the temporal punishment of sin is so great, how much more the eternal punishment that God will bring upon those who disobey is righteous commands. Let us “Go, and sin no more!” (v.11)

    e) Excellent review of the challenges to the authenticity of John 8
    http://www.multiline.com.au/~johnm/religion/spurious.htm as of 8/6/10

    Start here: • John 7:53 – 8.11: The “woman taken in adultery” story: Metzger’s statement. Just before page 105 and through page 201



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