Why the Death Penalty Sucks.

Via Roger Wolsey
on Sep 21, 2011
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“We Killed Somebody Today.”

Beyond that injustice, however, is that fact that killing people to try to teach people that killing people is wrong—is oxymoronic.

Jesus said, “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” To the extent that we are in any way a “Christian nation,” (and to the extent that Georgia is in the “Bible Belt”) we should ask ourselves: “Who would Jesus kill?”; why we’re the only Western nation to still employ the death penalty?; and why we are in league with countries such as China, North Korea, and Saudi Arabia in still using it? Moreover, we should ask ourselves why we’re allowing someone who is clearly NOT guilty beyond a reasonable doubt to be killed?

Troy Davis was found guilty of killing someone in 1989.  There were 9 eyewitnesses and 7 of them has since recanted their original statements.  Moreover, ballistics evidence linking Davis to the crime and eyewitness testimony identifying Davis as the shooter has been determined to be “egregiously false and misleading.” All sorts of last minute, last ditch efforts have been attempted to prevent this execution from taking place – all to no avail.  Here are some links to learn more about this case.

Okay, so we failed to prevent Troy’s death, and, even though more states are discontinuing or re-evaluating their use of capital punishment, it’s looking like it’s going to be awhile before the death penalty is abolished across the nation.

What can you do? Well, sometimes less is more. Sometimes the individual is political. We may not be able to get places like Georgia or Texas to change their policies, but we can take matters into our own hands on the personal level.

You can tell your loved ones that in the event that you are killed through a criminal act of violence that you do not wish the person who kills you to be killed by the state. Much like a “living will” (aka advanced directive) you can sign a legal document stating that you don’t wish to see the death penalty employed against your potential offender.

The Sisters of Mercy in Brooklyn created the idea for a “Declaration of Life” and The Dominican Sisters of Peace (“Sisters” are really cool nuns) are providing a “Declaration of Life” that you can download, print, and sign!  http://www.oppeace.org/declaration-life

Be sure to make copies of this document and give them to your loved ones and attorney.  Might be a good idea to have them notarized by a notary public at your bank first.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t think that the world will be better off by having another person die – simply because s/he killed me.

Yours in ahimsa, agape, justice, and reconciliation — not revenge and retribution,

Rev. Roger Wolsey

‎”An eye for an eye will make us all blind”. ~ Mahatma Gandhi

p.s. 11:08PM EST, The deed is done. “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.” – Jesus, Luke 23:34


Roger is the author of Kissing Fish: christianity for people who don’t like christianity


About Roger Wolsey

Roger Wolsey is a free-spirited GenX-er who thinks and feels a lot about God and Jesus. He’s a progressive Christian who identifies with people who consider themselves as being “spiritual but not religious.” He came of age during the “Minneapolis sound” era and enjoyed seeing The Replacements, The Jayhawks, Husker Du, The Wallets, Trip Shakespeare, Prince, and Soul Asylum in concert—leading to strong musical influences to his theology. He earned his Masters of Divinity degree at the Iliff School of Theology in Denver, CO. Roger is an ordained pastor in the United Methodist Church and he currently serves as the director of the Wesley Foundation campus ministry at C.U. in Boulder, CO. He was married for ten years, divorced in 2005 and now co-parents a delightful 10-year old son. Roger loves live music, hosting house concerts, rock-climbing, yoga, centering prayer, trail-running with his dog Kingdom, dancing, camping, riding his motorcycle, blogging, and playing his trumpet in ska bands and music projects. He's recently written a book Kissing Fish: christianity for people who don't like christianity


12 Responses to “Why the Death Penalty Sucks.”

  1. Roger Wolsey says:

    THIS JUST IN!! Today 6:14 PM USA Today: Execution Delayed
    USATODAY @ USATODAY : BREAKING: Ga. delays execution of Troy Davis http://t.co/aEsCxZLW
    — Let's pray people!!

  2. Roger Wolsey says:

    this just in!… the execution has been delayed… pray people! http://www.livestream.com/democracynow (watch coverage live)

  3. Roger Wolsey says:

    Here's a link to a great article that points out the Disconnect re: the role of the Government in regard to capital punishment. http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/political-animal

  4. Tana Schott says:

    Thank you for writing this.

  5. Cynthia says:

    Our country is responsible for the murder of people almost every day. It's absolutely barbaric. The Troy Davis situation makes me ill, but so do the rest of these executions, both here at home and abroad at war. Thanks for posting this blog, and especially thank you for calling attention to the Dominican nun peace activists' work.

  6. Roger Wolsey says:

    The deed is done. "Father forgive them, for they know not what they do." (Luke 23:34)

  7. Roger Wolsey says:

    "The true prophetic voice on Wednesday came not from Georgia, but from Texas where aging African American Civil Rights activist Dick Gregory fasted for half a day to protest the killing of an avowed white supremacist who murdered a black man solely because he was black." – Jan Nunley
    (here's the back-story: http://www.myfoxhouston.com/dpp/news/local/110921

  8. Yogafavor says:

    Could you discuss this in terms of justification addiction. Humans are willing to justify anything to solve something. This is the problem of all problems. Could you comment on what is being justified here with this deed, from both sides. Where do you believe this justification addiction is most prevalent within Christian culture, pop culture, government, and the individual? Does the justification argument ever break down? If so, how, when, and why? Lastly, how do we help ourselves out of justification and where do we go from there? Thanks so much.

  9. Roger Wolsey says:

    Here's a blog that I wrote as a follow up to this one: "An Empty Gurney" http://www.elephantjournal.com/2011/09/an-empty-g

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