Pick a contentious issue about which you care deeply — it could be the same-sex marriage debate, or just a disagreement you’re having with a friend. Write a post defending the opposite position, and then reflect on what it was like to do that.

I remember back during my grammar school days at Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Mister Urso, our history teacher, had us doing a series of debates to prepare us for and instruct us in the research and methodology used to be able to successfully defend a position, any position, even if you yourself didn't agree with it. He had us divided in teams and my team's objective was to debate pro death penalty. I remember struggling with this one because I attended Catholic school and in my seventh grade mind, the death penalty went against all of the teachings that the priests and the nuns went about instilling into our heads every single day. However, when I went to my father for help with the subject, he expressed admiration for my teacher in that , my teacher was courageous to bring up a topic that of course was controversial, but at the time extremely current. Our state government of New York had been wrestling with the question themselves and our Governor at the time, Governor Cuomo, a practicing Catholic, had just recently taken the death penalty away and it stayed away after that for many, many years.

I remember some of the arguments that my father helped me to come up with: one, that it was a deterrent and two, that it cost less to have the death penalty in place than to imprison a person for life and three, that within the bible in the old testament, there were passages that laid down the concept of an eye for an eye and in the case of murder, the death penalty complied with the text. I remember my heart really not being in it and I think that my team lost. It is difficult to passionately argue for something that you do not believe in especially when you are twelve years old.

I have read newer studies recently because even though the death penalty is in place in many states; there are groups that would like to see it abolished everywhere and the arguments that I had presented all those years ago that I had researched, have now all been debunked. I am still anti death penalty and I'm happy that more and more studies are showing that taking another's life in a government sanctioned way is still not the right thing to do. Two wrongs do not make a right.

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