John Shook of the Center for Inquiry offers a Humanist take on the death penalty:
Humanism cannot support the death penalty.
Humanism stands for valuing the lives of all, individual human rights, justice for everyone, and governments that defend all of their people. These grounds alone are sufficient for abolishing the death penalty. Humanism also stands for elevating human dignity and pursuing the nobler virtues of common humanity. Even if some perfected criminal system could execute only the truly guilty, such murderous machinery is still unworthy of us. Any institution that still encourages vengeance and retribution over equal social justice and protection of everyone is a decrepit perversion of civilization.
It’s a short, important read. Check it out.
As long as there can be any doubt in the process, the fact that an innocent person could be executed should be appalling to all of us. Even if the proof in a case was rock solid, what purpose does execution serve other than satisfy some sort of horrid blood lust deep within us?