Copy
View this email in your browser
BY REV. BENJAMIN PERRY

March 13, 2019
A condemned prisoner at San Quentin.
Yesterday, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced a moratorium on executions for the state (via the New York Times). This morning, the President vented anger at this legislative grace, tweeting “Defying voters, the Governor of California will halt all death penalty executions of 737 stone cold killers. Friends and families of the always forgotten VICTIMS are not thrilled, and neither am I!”
“Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” – Luke 6:36
It’s not surprising to see President Trump fuming about California offering grace to people they condemned. This is, after all, a man who took out a full-page ad demanding the execution of the Central Park 5 - who he still believed were guilty during the 2016 election despite DNA evidence that completely exonerated them. Moreover, his steadfast dedication to vengeance - just or unjust - is indicative of his broader worldview: He believes fervently that revenge conveys strength, while mercy betrays weakness.
 
The President’s insistence on striking back against anyone he perceives to have wronged him is evidence of this temperament, as are his repeated exhortations to execute drug dealers and rough up protesters, and the way he attacks international allies he believes are “taking advantage” of America. In the President’s mind, we are all engaged in zero-sum combat with one another - a mentality that deeply undergirds arguments for the death penalty.
 
God, on the other hand, exhorts us repeatedly to engage conflict through the lens of mercy, to extend to others the same grace God bestows on us. Jesus’ commands to “love your enemies” and “turn the other cheek” are not empty platitudes, but radical conviction that no worldly wrong permits us to react with hatred and violence. No matter what someone has done, it will never be moral for us to kill them. This mercy is not a weakness: It requires more faithful conviction than revenge ever will. And it is only by living out truly nonviolent ethics that we can build nonviolent communities.
While it’s wonderful that California is halting executions in their state, condemned prisoners in other states are not as lucky. One amazing way you can express love and grace to them is by becoming a Death Row pen-pal.
Lord, you call us to mercy, but we confess that too often we are motivated by anger and hatred. Heal our broken hearts, Lord, that they might be free to embrace your love. Be with the families harmed by crimes committed, but help them to know that there can be no healing found in vengeance. And soften legislators’ hearts, that they might turn this truth into law. Amen.
Support Us On Patreon
Share
Tweet
Forward
Copyright © 2019 The Resistance Prays, All rights reserved.