Unlike Eliseo Giron (letter, March 20), I sincerely doubt that any clergyman "worth his salt" is adhering to ancient Hebraic law in order to support the death penalty. If so, such clergy would be calling for death not only for murderers (Gen. 9:6), but also for adulterers (Lev. 20:10), and those who revile their parents (Lev. 20:9).
Instead, Christian clergy follow the example of Christ, who prevented the lawful imposition of the death penalty upon an adulteress, and who said that what we do to the least deserving of people (which includes killing them) is to be regarded as done to Christ himself (Matt. 25:35-46).
It is for this reason that Pope John Paul II and Mother Teresa of Calcutta have publicly called for an end to executions in this country. I doubt that anyone would say that a Pope and a saint are not "worth their salt."
JOHN HAMILTON SCOTT