Thursday, September 22, 2011

Too Human...and Yet We Play God...

Troy Davis was executed at 11:08 EDT today.  His trevails through Georgia's justice system and the federal courts had lasted twenty years after he was convicted and sentenced to death based on eye witness testimony alone.  He was accused of killing an off-duty police officer, Mark MacPhail in Savannah in 1989.  His case became a cause celebré as several of those same witnesses recanted their testimony and serious doubts were raised about whether or not Davis was in fact guilty.  There was evidence that police procedure had corrupted the process. 

In the end a last minute appeal to the US Supreme Court was rejected.  Apparently, the court found that there was nothing new in the record before them to justify a stay, having already granted one in years past.  Federal law limits the appeals from state courts the Supreme Court may take.

It should come as a surprise to nobody that this blog opposes capital punishment.  Life without parole is sufficient punishment for the most violent offenders in our system.  The finality of the punishment is also troubling as any system can be proven wrong.  And lastly it does not bring the dead back.  No victims' families will ever be made whole knowing their loved one's killer has been ejected from this mortal coil.  For those reasons and others, there has always been a small sense of pride that Massachusetts has consistently rejected reinstating the death penalty despite numerous attempts in recent years.

There are countless other problems with the death penalty from its disproportionate impact on minorities communities to near blood-lust that some supporters cheer with frightening fervor.  It is painfully ironic that so-called small-government types, who trust government to do almost nothing, have no problems with the state taking a life.  Further it is a great hypocrisy for any Christian (your Editor-in-Chief deems himself to be one) to cheer or to demand the state's imposition of the same punishment the Romans imposed on Christ.  The attempt by some "pro-life" individuals to justify their position by claiming some death penalty opponents sanction abortion exposes an intellectual dishonesty and a lack imagination.  If nothing else, there is no doubt about the viability of a death row inmate.

Pietá by Luis de Morales
We will close this by offering the passages from the Bible from Christ's death.  No, Troy Davis is not Jesus, however, notably like Jesus, Davis may be innocent.  Christ's was the only execution by man that the God of the New Testament ever approved because it was the vehicle for salvation.  Executing any of our fellow men today will bring salvation to nobody.

Matthew 27:50 "Then Jesus cried again wtih a loud voice and breathed his last."
Mark 15:31 "In the same way the chief priests also mocking him among themselves and saying 'He saved others; he cannot save himself.'"
Luke 23:34, 46 "Then Jesus Said, 'Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.'" || "Then Jesus, crying with a loud voice, said, 'Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.' Having said this, he breathed his last."
John 19:30 "When Jesus had received the wine, he said, 'It is finished.' Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit."
Romans 12:19 "Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave room for the wrath of God; for it is written, 'Vengeance is mind, I will repay, sayeth the Lord.'"

May God have mercy on our souls.

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