Religions of the world are one in saying that human life is precious and a gift from God, and that no one, even the state, has the right to take it, except in a very serious situation where there is no other method that society has to protect itself. There are no positive proofs that capital punishment is a deterrent to crime. States that have death penalty laws do not have lower crime rates or murder rates than states without such laws. And states that have abolished capital punishment show no significant changes in either crime or murder rates.
An ACLU definition states that the death penalty is the denial of civil liberties. While this is a somewhat subjective definition on the ground that the American Civil Liberties Union was founded on attacking capital punishment, albeit with legal means, ACLU's definition may not be far from the truth. Nevertheless, various definitions all point to one single fact: the taking of life or killing of a condemned man as punishment for the crime/s he/she has committed.
The penalty of death for a person convicted of a serious crime, such as intentional murder, is called capital punishment. Capital is derived from the Latin word capitalis, which means "of the head". In the past, beheading was the most frequent form of killing someone as punishment for a serious crime. Current methods of carrying out capital punishment in the United States are electrocution, firing squad, hanging, poison gas, and lethal injection. (US Government Guide, 2008)
The Law Encyclopedia defines it as the lawful infliction of death as a punishment. (Law Encyclopedia, 2008)
Another definition is that capital punishment is "execution of an offender sentenced to death after conviction by a court of law of a criminal offense". (Britannica Concise Encyclopedia, 2008)
The first established death penalty laws date as far