Karla Faye Tucker
June 13, 1983, Karla and her boyfriend, Daniel
Garrett, broke into a Houston apartment and murdered
the two occupants with a pick ax. At her brief
trial, Karla admitted her guilt outright and told
the jury that no punishment was severe enough
for her crime. But while Karla requested a life
sentence, the jury recommended the death sentence,
after a mere 70 minutes of deliberation.
On February 3, 1998, Karla was executed by lethal
injection in Huntsville, Texas, the first woman
executed in Texas since the Civil War. She asked
for clemency, and a number of human-rights and
conservative Christian groups rallied behind her,
but their cry fell on deaf ears. The Texas Board
of Pardons and Paroles denied her request for
clemency (16-2 vote), and Governor Bush refused
to grant a reprieve. Karla is now in the wonderful
presence of the Lord.
Karla's case captured the nation's attention
as satellites beamed the testimony of Jesus Christ
around the world and reawakened the turbulent
debate over the death penalty, an issue that had
grown dormant in these tough-on-crime times. Is
there a place for mercy in our legal system today?
Are we called to carry out God's vengeance? Or,
is this just a natural response of the vindictive
nature of fallen man? What do you think?
What Would Jesus Do . . . ?
..concerning the death penalty? "Who cares?"
may be the response of a non-Christian (someone
who has not yet received the sacrificial death
of Christ on the cross for sin). But as Christians,
we are to care what Jesus would do concerning
the death penalty.
As a Christian, what did Jesus do through you
in the case of Karla? Did He demand strict justice?
Her death? Did He mock her? Or say she deserved
to die? Or was His death on the cross sufficient
I know what He did through me. He wept for Karla
and flowed through me with great compassion and
mercy. He became righteously angry that politics,
vengeance, retaliation, and pride took her life,
instead of doing what He requires--doing right,
loving mercy, and walking humbly before Him (Micah
I heard Jesus say, "He who is without sin
among you, let him cast the first stone at her"
(John 8:7). Then His brother James said, "For
there will be no mercy for you if you have not
been merciful to others. But if you have been
merciful, then God's mercy toward you will win
out over His judgment against you" (James
Old Testament Death Penalty Sins
There are forty-two death-penalty sins in the
Old Testament. If the death penalty can be justifiably
applied for murder, why can't it be justifiable
for all the other sins below?
- Murder - Gen. 9:6; Ex. 21:12-14,20,23; Lev.
24:17,21; Num. 35:16-34; Deut. 19.
- Failing to circumcise - Gen. 17:14; Ex. 4:24,25.
- Eating leavened bread during feast of unleavened
bread - Ex.
- Smiting Parents- Ex. 21:15.
- Kidnapping - Ex. 21:16; Deut. 24:7.
- Cursing Parents - Ex. 21:17; Lev. 20:9.
- Negligence with animals that kill - Ex. 21:28-32.
- Witchcraft - Ex. 22:18.
- Bestiality - Ex. 22:19; Lev. 18:23-29; 20:15,16.
- Idolatry - Ex. 22:20.
- Making holy anointing oil - Ex. 30:33.
- Putting holy anointing oil on strangers -
- Making the holy perfume - Ex. 30:38.
- Defiling the Sabbath - Ex. 31:14.
- Working on the Sabbath - Ex. 35:2.
- Eating the flesh of the peace offerings in
- uncleanness - Lev. 7:20,21.
- Eating the fat of sacrifices - Lev. 7:25.
- Killing sacrifices other than at the door
of the tabernacle - Lev. 17:1-9.
- Eating blood - Lev. 17:10-14.
- Incest - Lev. 18:6-29; 20:11-22.
- Eating sacrifices at the wrong time - Lev.
- Consecration of children to idols - Lev. 20:1-5.
- Spiritualism - Lev. 20:6,27.
- Adultery - Lev. 20:10; Deut. 22:22-30.
- Sodomy/Homosexuality - Lev. 20:13.
- Relationship with a menstruous woman - Lev.
- Whoredom - Lev. 21:9; Deut. 22:21,22.
- Sacrilege - Lev. 22:3.
- Refusing to fast on day of atonement - Lev.
- Working on atonement - Lev. 23:30.
- Blasphemy - Lev. 24:11-16.
- Failure to keep the Passover - Num. 9:13.
- Presumptuous - Num. 15:30,31.
- Gathering firewood on the Sabbath - Num. 15:32,36.
- Failure to purify self before worship - Num.
- False prophecy - Deut. 13:1-18; 18:20.
- Leading men away from God - Deut. 13:6-18.
- Stubbornness and rebelliousness - Deut. 21:18-23.
- Gluttony - Deut. 21:20-23.
- Drunkenness - Deut. 21:20-23.
- Backbiting - Deut. 17:2-7.
- False dreams and visions - Deut. 13:1-18.
The top executioners today are China, Ukraine,
Belarus, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, and a
few others. The same countries who persecute Christians
the most. China executed 4,200 people last year,
verses 74 in the USA. China executes bandits,
thieves, unsavory businessmen, and political diviants.
We have a long way to go to catch up, but by implementing
all the Old Testament sins, executing criminals
as young as 13, and eliminating certain legal
procedures and appeals, we should be on our way
to catching up. Can the American conscience handle
scores of executions a day?