The Instigator
left_wing_mormon
Con (against)
Winning
34 Points
The Contender
Renzzy
Pro (for)
Losing
26 Points

True Christians should support the death penalty.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/15/2008 Category: Politics
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 2,293 times Debate No: 3639
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (13)
Votes (16)

 

left_wing_mormon

Con

This debate will kick-off a series of Debates I will be hosting to convince people that the "Christian Right" (conservative Christians) are wrong. This is to expose the myth that Republican beliefs fit with Christian fundamental teachings.

This Debate: The Death Penalty

I am Con, so I will allow my opponent the opportunity to open the Debate.

Thank you, and Good luck to my opponent.
Renzzy

Pro

First off I would like to thank left wing mormon for the debate. It is in fact an interesting topic, and I have not yet debated it. This should be fun, no matter what the turn out.

Now to the real issue...

The death Penalty. It was supported in the Old Testament, thats for sure.

Gen. 9:6---
"Whoever sheds man's blood, By man his blood shall be shed, For in the image of God He made man."

This was said by God Himself after the flood, while Noah was making his offering. Some would say, however, that this verse is now outdated since the death of Christ, but I do not think this is so. I believe that this is just one of the many verses that COMMAND capital punishment. Look at what Ecclesiastes has to say on the matter.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-3---
"To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;A TIME TO KILL, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;"

A time to kill. People quote this verse all the time, and yet some would disregard this line. Why would the Bible say there is a time to kill, if there really was not time to kill? The answer is, it wouldn't. God says what He means. If there is a time to kill, then there must be a good reason to kill.

Exodus 20:13---
"You shall not murder."

Murder--- "unlawful premeditated killing of a human being by a human being"

Well, obviously thats not the right time to kill. This leaves us only two logical options then: war, and capital punishment. In the Old Testament, od commands wars. In fact, He even commands Saul to completely destroy a certain people, and when Saul spares king Agag, He get the throne taken from him.

1 Sam. 15:3---
"Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy everything that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys."

When Sual does not...

1 Sam. 15:26---
"But Samuel said to him, 'I will not go back with you. You have rejected the word of the LORD, and the LORD has rejected you as king over Israel!'"

God commanded Saul to kill, and God was mad when Sual did not. That was a right time to kill: when God commands it.

What does the New Testament have to say on the matter though? Well, lets look at Romans.

Rom. 13:3-4---
"For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. For he is God's servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for HE DOES NOT BEAR THE SWORD FOR NOTHING. He is God's servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer."

Swords are instruments for killing. Killing people actually. The Bible commands us to be afraid if we do wrong, because He has given our authorities the power to put us to death if we do that which deserves death. Even Paul in the Bible knows that.

Acts 25:11---
"If, however, I am guilty of doing anything deserving death, I DO NOT REFUSE TO DIE. But if the charges brought against me by these Jews are not true, no one has the right to hand me over to them. I appeal to Caesar!"

Paul knows that if he has done anything deserving of death, he can and will die. Why? because the government "does not bear the sword in vain". This is not all the Bible has to say though.

1 Peter 2:13-14---
"Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well."

During the time that this was writen, the main form of ounishment was flogging and/or death. In hebrews, it says that there can be no forgiveness without the shedding of blood.

Heb. 9:22---
"In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness."

There are people in society that deserve to die, and God has given our aythorities the power to kill those who deserve it. If you think about it, it really makes sense. when a person dies in rebelion of god, God damns that person to hell. When a person on earth is in rebelion of his government, God gave the govenrnment the power to kill the physical body of the person, so as to keep order in His creation.

There is even an instance in the Bible where Jesus shows grace when the death penalty is due.

John 8:1-10---
"But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, 'Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?' They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him. But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, 'If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.' Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground. At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there."

Jesus shows mercy even though the law commands that she be put to death. You might say that Jesus was stopping them because the law no longer applied, and she did not deserve the death penalty. Look at what the Bible has to say about that.

Matt. 5:17---
"'Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.'"

He did not come to abolish the law... in which case He was showing the girl grace; not saving her from undue punishment.

I think that should do for my opening arguments, and I look forward to yours.

Thanks,

Renzzy
Debate Round No. 1
left_wing_mormon

Con

Thank You Renzzy, and good luck.

The Old Testament surely does make a strong case for the death penalty, but it also makes a strong case for other things. Eating habits and diets were very strict in those days, along with animal sacrifice, clothing style, ect. Most everything the old testament has to say about the "law of the land" was put to rest when Jesus came. Jesus did away with the law. (which explains your last scripture you cite at the end of your post.)

I won't go through every verse you use and give my interrpretation. I'll give a couple notes on what you quote:
You tie the last scripture you cite(Matt. 5:17) with the story from John about the accused woman.(John 8:1-10)

The 'Law and the Prophets' which Jesus refers to in verse 17 is a clear reference to the Hebrew Bible – what we now call the Old Testament. This was known as 'The Law, Prophets and Writings' – 'The Law' was the Torah (the 5 Books of Moses), The Prophets (self-explanatory) and the 'Writings' were the wisdom books (Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes etc). So this is a reference to the validity of the Old Testament: the Old Testament continues to have validity, it is and aways will be divinely-inspired Scripture!

But anyway my point: Matt. 5:17-19 is all about the laws of the prophets from the old testament, and here we see Jesus obviously wasn't getting rid of the Prophets words from the past, but he was challenging the Pharisees into sincerly follow the law of God. This has nothing to do with the story of John 8:1-10, which was not only about different topic but in a different setting as well...

Exodus 20:13: We must also understand here, that I am using the King James Version of the Bible, and the scripture is: Thou shalt not kill. (So rather than 'murder' this is just plain 'kill')
----------------
Now my points.
Jesus taught a way of life that was so far superior to the concepts we have now and then. Not only was Jesus against the death penalty but he was taught about a way of life with out judgement.

So my opponet gives examples of the Old Testament and the idea of "eye for an eye" punishment. Well, here is what Jesus had to say about that:"Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth. But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.

Interesting, Jesus says that it is wrong to say "Hey you killed that guy, so you are gonna be killed too! EYE FOR EYE."

It is the very nature of Christ that says killing and taking vengence is not of God. We have no right to judge each other, only God and Jesus can do that.

The most well known passage relative to the death penalty, even today, is the lex talonis of Leviticus 19:15 ff, in which the rule of retaliation is established: aneye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. In order to fully comprehend this ancient law and its underlying intention to reform the harshness of clan retaliation, we need to recall one of the earliest passages in Scripture. The statement usually referred to as Lamech's Lament (Genesis 4:2324) is offered as an example of the way sin was spreading after the fall. Readers of Scripture will remember that the first event recorded after Adam and Eve sinned was murder. That is, Cain killed his brother Able. From there the story of sin's contagion continues to unfqld with the depiction of a rather primitive civilization in which the only policing relied upon was clan vengeance.

Jesus, however, reversed this law for those who would follow him. He named this law of retaliation explicitly and rejected it in favor of transforming initiatives that avoid vengeance or violence but instead confront the offender and seek the reconciliation ofrepentance and forgiveness. In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus said: "You have heard it said, `an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.' But I say to you, do not set yourself in violent or revengeful resistance against an evildoer."

Thank you.
Renzzy

Pro

First allow me to point out that you completely looked over four of my NEW TESTAMENT scriptures. Since you have ignored them, they still stand as plausable arguments in my favor. These scriptures are:

Rom. 13:3-4---
"For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. For he is God's servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for HE DOES NOT BEAR THE SWORD FOR NOTHING. He is God's servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer."

Acts 25:11---
"If, however, I am guilty of doing anything deserving death, I DO NOT REFUSE TO DIE. But if the charges brought against me by these Jews are not true, no one has the right to hand me over to them. I appeal to Caesar!"

1 Peter 2:13-14---
"Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well."

Heb. 9:22---
"In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness."

Now to your arguments...

"Eating habits and diets were very strict in those days, along with animal sacrifice, clothing style, ect. Most everything the old testament has to say about the "law of the land" was put to rest when Jesus came. Jesus did away with the law."

Yes, times were very different back then. You could not wear mixed cloth, you could not play with pig skin, you could not touch a woman while she was on her period, and many more as such. What is the significance of these laws? In the Old tTestament times, these things made you UNCLEAN. If seomeone were to break these laws, they would become unclean, and would have to undergo a ritual washing or cleansing. After the cleansing, they would be clean again.

It is laws like these that were abolished after the death of Christ and the institution of baptism. In the origional greek, the word for baptism is baptismos , and its translation is "ritual washing or cleansing". Baptism signifies dying with Christ and being raised up with him, and therefore being cleansed IN him. After the death of Christ, simple things like wearing mixed cloth no longer made people unclean, because the blood of Christ was the unltimate cleansing. Jesus even comes to Peter in a dream and tells him that all animals were clean from that point on. the same went for all the other laws concerning uncleaness.

We come back to the verse I quoted in Matthew.

Matt. 5:17---
"'Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.'"

What laws did He not come to abolish? It was laws like the ten commandments, laws forbiding homosexuality, and laws commanding capital punishment. Why? because these had nothing to do with being "unclean". Capital punishment was a command to punish those who deserve death with death, as my verse in Romans 13 states.

"So my opponet gives examples of the Old Testament and the idea of 'eye for an eye' punishment."

Not really. People often quote this scripture as a reference against capital punishment, but thats not really what it is. If you look at "Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible", you will see it explaind how this is a verse against RETALIATION. God also says "vengence is mine". This verse has nothing to do with capital punishment.

"I am using the King James Version of the Bible, and the scripture is: Thou shalt not kill."

Who ever said the King James Version was the most accurate? My pastor (who is a scholar is greek and hebrew, by the way) prefers the English Standard Version, and that say "murder". Older is not necessarily better.

You still have to explain what the "time to kill" is. The Bible says there is a time to kill, and it would not lie.

"in which the only policing relied upon was clan vengeance."

Which is exactly what Christ is refering to when He says "Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth. But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also."

Rom. 12:19---
"Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, 'Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.'"

God no longer supports clan vengence, but He tells us to submit to our authorities; the people whom He has given the power to kill. This is stated in the scripture you looked over.

Please give a response to my New Testament scripture in your next argument.

Thanks!

Renzzy
Debate Round No. 2
left_wing_mormon

Con

To respond to your New Testament quotes:
(Please note that I cannot comment on every passage only because we are using different versions of the Bible, and I never said that the King James version was "better", I only said I was using it so there are some big differences in translation.)
In the scriptures God commands some to kill others. I know this. In fact in the Book of Mormon, (I am a mormon, I'm using this as an example) one of the prophets is commanded to kill someone else within the first book! But my point is Christ was agianst capital punishment in the standard law of MAN. No one can limit God. As you say "That was a right time to kill: when God commands it." But Christ spoke against the idea that Man could command death upon each other.

My interrepretation is different from yours when discussing Acts 25:11. Again I feel that Paul is talking about the law of God, and if this is broken than Paul says he would accept death as a punishment. Law of God is different than the law of man.

Take a look at John 8:1-11 when the teachers of the law and the Pharisees questioned Jesus trying to trap him to have a basis for accusing him verse 6 asked him about take a look at verses 4 and 5 to see the question and the penalty, death by stoning for the woman caught in adultery. His reply has become the famous verse that the people use to tell people off for standing up against the corruption in the Church, by saying we are not to judge using"Let he who is without sin cast the first stone" in reality he was condemning the death penalty not saying you should not speak out against corruption. Yes, he did teach us not to judge, but to judge is to point things out and casting a verdict at the same time, like condemning someone to hell or saying they will surely be in heaven. That is a whole other issue.

Jesus knew that all men was guilty of death by the law, so he took that punishment for all man-kind. He took your punishment not only physically but gave you a way to live for ever spiritually. It is thought in the churches that, he died so we would not have to. Yet the churches are the main ones who support the use of the death penalty. They can get out and lobby against abortion, they can get out their and lobby to keep a piece of rock up in the court houses. Ask them to protest the war or lobby to abolish the death penalty they will tell you off and tell you the death penalty is necessary. Tell them that Jesus Christ did not support the use of the death penalty they call you a liar!

Just like the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, they worship God in vain, giving lip service but by their actions they are making war on the truth and the true way. True Christianity does not support the death penalty or war. Here is another scripture they use to justify it, Romans 13. Well the law of the land says the death penalty is to be used in certain cases, but guess what that is only if the law of the land is not in contradiction to the laws of God. The laws of the land says you have a right to lobby to get the laws changed or made if you want. They do not realize that a silent tongue is just as bad as going against it. So people please if you love Jesus Christ please speak up and lobby to get the death penalty abolished, you have the right and responsibility to do so.

Jesus taught about charity and love for our fellow man. Turn the other cheek. No more "eye for an eye" philosophy.
Thank you.
Renzzy

Pro

1 Peter 2:13-14---
"Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well."

Heb. 9:22---
"In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness."

These arguments my opponent has conceded. His silence on them give them to me without question. VOTERS: PLEASE TAKE NOTE OF THIS.

I have yet more verses to back my claim...

2 Thes. 2:15---
"So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter."

That includes the death penalty. After all, "the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood", and the law was a bunch of teachings passed on to us.

Mark 12:9---
"What then will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and kill those tenants and give the vineyard to others."

Note that Jesus says this in one of His parables. Jesus never gives bad examples. You might want to look at the verses surrounding verse 9 just to understand the context.

Get this one...

Rom. 1:32---
"Although they know GOD'S RIGHTEOUS DECREE that those who do such things DESERVE DEATH, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them."

God's righteous decree. Yes, the same God who supports the death penalty in the Old Testament. God teaches charity and peace, but also justice. If you think you can find a way around the other verses I quoted (and I don't think you can) You cannot find a way around Romans 1:32. It puts it plainly.

God's righteous decree = some people deserve death.

In the New Testament too.

"Take a look at John 8:1-11...'Let he who is without sin cast the first stone'"

Jesus is teaching us His Great Work: He came to seek and to save those who are lost. Also...

" He builds upon an uncontested maxim in morality, that it is very absurd for men to be zealous in punishing the offences of others, while they are every whit as guilty themselves, and they are not better than self-condemned who judge others, and yet themselves do the same thing: "If there be any of you who is without sin, without sin of this nature, that has not some time or other been guilty of fornication or adultery, let him cast the first stone at her.' Not that magistrates, who are conscious of guilt themselves, should therefore connive at others' guilt. But therefore, (a.) Whenever we find fault with others, we ought to reflect upon ourselves, and to be more severe against sin in ourselves than in others. (b.) We ought to be favourable, though not to the sins, yet to the persons, of those that offend, and to restore them with a spirit of meekness, considering ourselves and our own corrupt nature. Aut sumus, aut fuimus, vel possumus esse quod hic est—We either are, or have been, or may be, what he is. Let this restrain us from throwing stones at our brethren, and proclaiming their faults. Let him that is without sin begin such discourse as this, and then those that are truly humbled for their own sins will blush at it, and be glad to let it drop. (c.) Those that are any way obliged to animadvert upon the faults of others are concerned to look well to themselves, and keep themselves pure (Mt. 7:5), Qui alterum incusat probri, ipsum se intueri oportet. The snuffers of the tabernacle were of pure gold."

Perhaps he refers to the trial of the suspected wife by the jealous husband with the waters of jealousy. The man was to bring her to the priest (Num. 5:15), as the scribes and Pharisees brought this woman to Christ. Now it was a received opinion among the Jews, and confirmed by experience, that if the husband who brought his wife to that trial had himself been at any time guilty of adultery, Aquae non explorant ejus uxorem—The bitter water had no effect upon the wife. "Come then,' saith Christ, "according to your own tradition will I judge you; if you are without sin, stand to the charge, and let the adulteress be executed; but if not, though she be guilty, while you that present her are equally so, according to your own rule she shall be free.'" "

This is actually me talking again...

Above is a quote from Matthew Henry's commentary on the whole Bible. I could not summarize it and do it justice, so bear with me. It give a good explaination of the situation, and shows that Jesus is not discounting the death penalty.

"Jesus knew that all men was guilty of death by the law, so he took that punishment for all man-kind."

Tool the punishment of eternal damnation from some, yes. He did not take away our accountability to earthly governments.

"Tell them that Jesus Christ did not support the use of the death penalty they call you a liar!"

I have never called you a liar, and anyone who does is wrong to do so. I think you are misinterprating scripture, but you are by no means a liar.

"Well the law of the land says the death penalty is to be used in certain cases, but guess what that is only if the law of the land is not in contradiction to the laws of God."

Rom. 1:32---
"Although they know GOD'S RIGHTEOUS DECREE that those who do such things DESERVE DEATH, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them."

GOD'S RIGHTEOUS DECREE.

"Jesus taught about charity and love for our fellow man. Turn the other cheek. No more "eye for an eye" philosophy."

Yes He did, but He also taught about justice. Turn the other cheek is in reference to revenge. If someone does us wrong, we are not to seek revenge. I have already addressed this; the same goes for "and eye for an eye".

Thank you for the fun and lively debate! I really enjoyed it!

VOTERS: READ THE WHOLE DEBATE BEFORE VOTING!!!!!

Thanks!

Renzzy
Debate Round No. 3
13 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Renzzy 9 years ago
Renzzy
Thank you too! I really enjoyed this debate, and it was nice to debate an informed opponent.

Thanks man,

Renzzy
Posted by left_wing_mormon 9 years ago
left_wing_mormon
Well Renzzy, thanks for the debate maybe we will debate other issues in the future. Very impressed on how smart you are, thanks.
Posted by HellKat 9 years ago
HellKat
And that is why I'm not a Christian, confusing how much it seems to contradict itself. To me anyways.
Posted by Renzzy 9 years ago
Renzzy
I look at it otherwise. That, however was not my only verse. People like too look over this one.

Rom. 1:32---
"Although they know GOD'S RIGHTEOUS DECREE that those who do such things DESERVE DEATH, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them."
Posted by Shorack 9 years ago
Shorack
Rom. 13:3-4---
"For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. For he is God's servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for HE DOES NOT BEAR THE SWORD FOR NOTHING. He is God's servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer."

I just want to point out that the reference to the sword can be a reference to their authority.

For example, the highest political leaders in the Roman society were accompanied by people bearing axes as a sign of their authority as law.

Japan's society for example, used it as a symbol of status. You were more likely to meet a writer or philosopher with a sword, being totally unable to use it, than a skilled peasant with one.
It was a sign of status.

Similar examples can be found through history and through the world.
Posted by brian_eggleston 9 years ago
brian_eggleston
It seems to me that there can be no winner of this debate, because the Bible is subject to personal interpretation and one could select passages from it to support almost any argument – including that it is acceptable for one human to kill another.

Furthermore, the nuances of the original scriptures have been long lost in its many translations.

Nevertheless, both Pro and Con argued their points forcefully and backed up their assertions with the relevant quotes to support their respective arguments and this made for interesting reading.

In the final analysis, however, an ecumenical debate like this is only a matter of amusement or diversion to the majority of people as they make their judgement on the death penalty on moral grounds or political beliefs, rather than religious indoctrination.
Posted by griffinisright 9 years ago
griffinisright
Well, well, well This was a pretty good debate. I am still torn on the issue. I am not 100% convinced or certain on where I should stand on this issue. Which is odd because every other major issue I have made up my mind on and am very passionate about my stance. Right now I am against the death penalty. But personally I think pro won this debate! Good job and best of luck to the two of you!
Posted by armychick 9 years ago
armychick
True christians believe in forgiveness not death. The bible says forgiveness is more manly then punishment.... pick up a bible and read it. God doesn't want us to punish those for killing us. He wants us to forgive them. Even though its a hard thing to do; its a true christian thing.
Posted by Renzzy 9 years ago
Renzzy
He made that comment before I joined, so I would assume so:P
Posted by left_wing_mormon 9 years ago
left_wing_mormon
Firemonkey are you talking to me?
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Vote Placed by colbert4prez 9 years ago
colbert4prez
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Vote Placed by Pluto2493 9 years ago
Pluto2493
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Vote Placed by Shorack 9 years ago
Shorack
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