Does Justice Demand the Death Penalty?

by David Baer

Michelangelo

The Last Judgment / Michelangelo, Sistine Chapel

The philosopher Immanuel Kant believed justice required the death penalty, and many today, following Kant, have argued that to abolish capital punishment is to undermine principles of justice essential to a healthy body politic. The Christian churches, historically committed to the idea of retributive justice, long supported the death penalty, turning against it only in the twentieth century. Indeed, Pope John Paul II came close to rejecting the death penalty altogether in the encyclical Evangelium vitae. What do these competing evaluations of the death penalty teach us about justice and punishment? Does justice require the death penalty or not?

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Are Hungary’s Churches Confronting Their Communist Past?

by Laura Viktoria Jakli and Jason Wittenberg

Source: evangelikus.hu

Source: evangelikus.hu

Háló 2, a collection of original essays and primary source documents spanning the first half of the cold war, is an important study of Hungarian Lutheran church-state relations under socialism. The collection chronicles the dilemmas faced by leaders of the Lutheran church as they struggled to reconcile the church’s spiritual mission with socialist ideology. The editors focus specifically on two church leaders—Bishop Zoltán Káldy (1958-1967) and Bishop Ernő Ottlyk (1967-1982)—whom the state recruited as informants. The essays and documents in Háló 2 reveal how each of these leaders wielded his authority and managed relations with the state. The overall conclusion is that under their leaderships the church became fully subordinate to the regime.

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