Friday, June 18, 2010

Stop The Killing

I just gave the go ahead to Corrections Director to proceed with Gardner's execution. May God grant him the mercy he denied his victims.
Tweet from Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff

Christians who remember that their Lord was unjustly and cruelly given the death penalty have a hard time being enthusiastic about imposing the death penalty on others. The cross on Christian churches signifies not that we should advocate more crosses for others, but that we are all sinners needing the mercy offered at the cross.
Glen Stassen and David Gushee, Kingdom Ethics: Following Jesus in Contemporary Context (2003)

If you forgive others the wrongs they have done, your heavenly Father will also forgive you; but if you do not forgive others, then the wrongs you have done will not be forgiven by your Father.
Matthew 6:14-15

The state-sponsored execution by firing squad of convicted murderer Ronnie Lee Gardner gives us an opportunity to pause and consider a Christian perspective on the use of the death penalty in American society today. EasyYolk is a part of a people participating in the ongoing Story of a God who is deterined to heal the world. Here's where we shake-out on the issue of death penalty:

We believe that every human being except murderers, rapists and child molesters bears the image of God.

We are commissioned to punish evildoers "an eye for an eye" love our enemies and pray for those who persecute our society. We seek resoration, reconciliation and transformation through a variety of creative outlets. We believe that no human being is beyond the kind of healing and redemption that God can bring.

We know that "all men are created equal" most prisoners on death row or serving life sentences have grown up in family and neighborhood systems that are not conducive to growth and maturity. The hangover of racial, social and economic injustice continues to plague many.

We are the wealthiest nation in the world and we use that wealth to provide the best resources for our children yet we do not provide adequate educational, health and other basic resources for many of our young. These have been the first to be cut in the yearly tragedy we call "the California State Budget."

We acknowledge that the death penalty is a very common practice all over the globe only utilized in 1/3 of the world's countries and more and more states within the US are condemning it (15 states now do not have capital punishment). In fact, examples of countries that embrace the death penalty are industrialized, democratic nations China and Iran.

We are "pro-life" which means we primarily focus on saving unborn babies protest policies that prematurely end any life, whether it's the "war on terror" or economic policies that drain resources from the Third World and our inner-cities or ultimate punishment for cold-hard killers.

We live in an enlightened society that does not make errors when convicting and sentencing horrific crimes fallen society that continues to wrongfully convict far too many death row inmates (since 1973, over 130 people have been released from death row with evidence of their innocence).

We live in a colorblind society (after all, we have a black President!) society plagued by de facto racism: the death row population is made up of more than 40% African-American convicts while they make up only about 12% of the population (a study in California found that those who killed whites were over 3 times more likely to be sentenced to death than those who killed blacks and over 4 times more likely than those who killed Latinos).

*For more info, check out this link.

--Theological Autopilot

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