I feel so strongly about this- even more so today as I was holding babies in the NICU at Arkansas Children's Hospital, I thought about those precious little babies someday possibly being on Death Row. Is it possible? Yes. Is it probable? Who knows? I don't know what their support networks (families, friends, teachers, etc.) will be, where they will land in the economic strata (homeless, hungry or privileged to never be either of these) or how their brains will function as adults. But I know everyone on death row was once an innocent baby who may have had very little opportunity to be loved, educated, and supported in any way close to the way I was.
I know many of you and many who are Christian support the death penalty - I have seen "eye for an eye and tooth for a tooth" quoted ad nauseam on social media in the past few weeks. Well, if God is going to judge, that may be fine, but human juries and judges? I don't think so. Plus the Jesus I follow said this (and I even used the King James version - not my favorite, but some people might think other versions are not godly - nothing surprises me anymore):
Matthew 5:38-48 King James Version (KJV)
38 Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth:39 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.....
48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.
I am nowhere close to perfect, but supporting the killing of people would not help that any. I need all the help I can get to love my neighbor and my enemy. Condoning the killing of people, even confessed criminals, does not help me with this.
I needed to write this tonight as Arkansas rushes to try and execute eight people in the next 10 days (two of which apparently have stays from the state supreme court). As of this writing, the 8th circuit overturned the district federal court stay and our state is pushing like crazy to get this done. One prisoner is reported to have had his last meal. This rush is all supposedly due to a drug that is expiring at the end of the month. A drug which we've had, but we also needed vecuronium bromide - another lethal injection drug. A medical supply company said it was misled by the state and that the drug was sold for medical purposes, not executions. This smacks of unethical behavior by our attorney general and governor. Not that I think the firing squad or public hanging options, which many Arkansans apparently support, are any better.
I am sad and disillusioned and not sure how I can make any difference. I can go to rallies, write/call the governor and others, pray and write this blog. But nothing may have an impact on the lives of these eight men, at least four of who appear to suffer from extreme mental illness.
So be it.... Amen.