Religion peace and justice

Religion peace and justice- paper 604 OCR

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  • Created by: loui days
  • Created on: 31-05-10 16:51


Why do people commit crime against property?

- Revenge -Alcohol -Desperation (money) -Peer pressure -Boredom

Why do people commit crime against a person?

-Prejudice -Pressure (gangs) -Revenge -Hate/dislike

-Desperation (money) -Street credibility (reputation)

Why do people commit crime against the state?

-Revenge -Incentive (money) -Bribery -Pressure -Rebellion -hate/dislike

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Aims of punishment


  • To discourage people from committing a crime
  • Types of punishment: fines and caution
  • Fits in with Christian teachings as it doesn't take revenge on those who have done wrong but simply encourages them to abide by the law.


  • To protect others in society from the criminal
  • Types of punishment: imprisonment, tagging and probation
  • Fits in with Christian teachings as this punishment is for the good of others as well as the offenders well-being.
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Aims of punishment


  • To help the offender become a better person
  • Types of punishment: Probation and community service
  • This fits in with Christian teachings as this punishment ensures they learn from their mistakes and change for the better


  • Revenge for those who have been wronged
  • Type of punishment: Capital punishment and imprisonment
  • This fits in with some Christian teachings and conflicts with others. In Leviticus 24 is says 'the principle is a life for a life' meaning people should pay for what they have done. However in Matthew 5 it says do not take revenge on the one who wrongs you.
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Aims of punishment


  • To allow the offender to make up for what they have done
  • Types of punishment: Community service and fines
  • This fits in with Christian teachings as it shows that the offender is able to admit they are in the wrong and ensures they are given the chance to try and repair the damage they created.


  • To make sure that people respect the law
  • Types of punishment: Caution and suspended sentence
  • This fits in with Christian teachings as it says in Roman 13: 'Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities'. Meaning everyone should respect those in power. However this is assuming God has placed them there.
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Capital punishment

Definition: Capital punishment is the practise of executing a person as punishment for a certain crime after a proper legal trial.

Arguments for capital punishment:

  • In the new testament there is mention of capital punishment:

-Matthew 15- 'He who speaks evil of father or mother,let him surely die'.

-John 19- When Pilate decided whether or not to crucify Jesus, Jesus tells him that the power to make the decision has been given to him by God.

  • If you commit the ultimate crime, you must pay the ultimate price
  • Capital punishment is like suicide. If the criminal chooses to commit a particular crime they have chosen to surrender his life to the state if caught.
  • Society must protect the most vulnerable e.g. the young and the elderly, capital punishment is a good mean of doing so.
  • Capital punishment is not ruled out completely but in practise it should never be necessary-the Catechism
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Capital punishment

Arguments against capital punishment:

  • Playing God: so people argue that if we prematurely kill someone we are prevent them from serving their purpose on earth. God brought us onto earth therefore only he has the right to take us off earth. -Ecclesiastes 3 'A time to be born and a time to die' Shows how God gives and takes away life as he pleases.
  • Sanctity of life- In genesis it says Christians were made in the image of God. Many people believe because of this we are special and should therefore preserve the life we have here on earth. Life is too sacred to be taken away unnecessarily.
  • Pointlessness-By killing they offender you will not bring the victim back to life. By killing the offender you are essential committing the same crime as them and are just as bad as them
  • Many people also argue that even after a trial so people may be innocent and will be wrongly put to death for a crime they didn't commit.
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Elizabeth Fry

Prompted by a family friend, Fry visited Newgate Prison. The conditions she saw there horrified her. The women's section was overcrowded with women and children, some of whom had not even received a trial. They did their own cooking and washing in the small cells in which they slept on straw.

She returned the following day with food and clothes for some of the prisoners. She was unable to further her work for nearly 4 years because of difficulties within the Fry family, including financial difficulties in the Fry bank. Fry returned in 1816 and was eventually able to find a prison school for the children who were imprisoned with their parents. She began a system of supervision and required the women to sew and to read the Bible. In 1817 she helped found the Association for the Reformation of the Female Prisoners in Newgate.

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Elizabeth Fry

Thomas Buxton, Fry's brother-in-law, was elected to Parliament for Weymouth and began to promote her work among his fellow MPs. In 1818 Fry gave evidence to a House of Commons committee on the conditions prevalent in British prisons, becoming the first woman to present evidence in Parliament.

Her work made the lives of prisoners a lot better and gave children the chance to be educated. Elizabeth was a Quaker and her Christian views are reflected in the work she did. She wanted prisoners to be treated humanely- Matt 5 -'Love your neighbour as you love yourself'.

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Treatment of criminals


  • Romans 13: This passage says that those in power are 'God's servants' and you should therefore respect them and do good. By doing evil against those in power you do evil against God. Therefore they have the power to punish you.
  • Matthew 22:21: There are two sides of the law you must respect- God's law and the emperors low, respect both. 'Well, then, pay the emperor what belongs to the emperor, and pay God what belongs to God'.
  • Jeremiah 21:12b- Make sure justice is served everyday. Protect those who are being wronged otherwise you are doing evil.
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Social injustice

Social justice is concerned with equal justice in all aspects of society. This concept demands that all people have equal opportunities. It means that everyone has equal rights no matter race, age, gender, sexual orientation, social class etc.

Leviticus 19- 'When an alien lives with you in your land, do not mistreat him. The alien that lives with you must be treated as one of your native-born. Love him as yourself for you were aliens in Egypt. I am the lord your god.-shows we should treat everyone equally no matter where they are from.

Oscar Romero

  • After becoming Archbishop, Oscar became a lot more active with the poor in El Salvador trying to stand up for their rights. He did this through actions such as going on the radio to try and voice the opinions of the poor. Without Romero the needs and opinion may have never surfaced or come into light.
  • Psalm 12:5 “‘Because of the oppression of the weak and the groaning of the needy, I will now arise,’ says the LORD. I will protect them from those who slander them."

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Treatment of criminals

Scripture passages:

  • John 8 3-11- Jesus says that we should not mistreat criminals or hurt the as we have no right to judge others if we have sinned ourselves.- 'Which one of you has committed no sin may throw the first stone'.
  • Matthew 7: 3-5- We are told not to speculate and judge people who have done wrong. You cannot punish those who have done wrong is you yourself have committed a sin. 'You hypocrite'.
  • Luke 17: 3-4-We are told that if someone does wrong to us we must forgive them. No matter how many times they sin against us, we must forgive them. 'If he sins against you seven times in one day, and each time he comes to you saying ' i repent', you must forgive him'.
  • 1 Peter 2: 13-14: this passage tells us that we should all respect authority, no matter who we are. This way we will be praised for being good.
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Treatment of criminals

The Catholic Church response to the treatment of criminals:

  • A full working day of 8 hours, 5 days a week, to help inmates acquire a 'work ethic' and gain new skills
  • More schemes to make the hiring of ex-offenders attractive to employers e.g. skills training for specific jobs
  • Improved education in prisons
  • More money for drugs treatment

The Catholic church response to the treatment of criminals shows that they believe offenders should be treated ordinarily. They try to get them back on the right track e.g. more money for drugs treatment. They try to help the offender to reform so that when they are out of prison they are a better person.

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