Some major U.S. religious groups differ from their members on the death penalty

There also is a disparity between religious groups’ positions and the views of their adherents, particularly among mainline Protestants. Two-thirds of white mainline Protestants (66%) favor the death penalty, but several of the biggest mainline churches are against it. This includes the United Methodist Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the American Baptist Churches USA, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and many others.

Roughly half of U.S. Catholics (53%) – including a majority of white Catholics (63%) – also favor the death penalty, in contrast with church leaders’ stance.

Was there an assumption that members of a given faith hold the same opinion as their church on nearly all issues?

There seem to be two camps on this. People doing these surveys seem to either think that all members of a Religious group agree on everything, so any disparity indicates that the religion is flawed; or they believe that the stated position of a faith should be dictated by majority opinion, in which case they are making the argument that the religions are wrong because their members disagree on the issue.

The Catholic Church is not completely against the death penalty. Church leaders have their opinions just like we do but the Church does not teach banning the death penalty. God Bless, Memaw

First of all I’m not Catholic. As I understand the Catholic position it is that the death penalty is essentially a last resort. But in first world, it would be extremely rare because the capability to hold or otherwise rehabilitate should exist.

So for all intent, it is banned by Catholic teaching in the first world other than truly special cases.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit