Sanctity of Life Ignored by California Jesus Wouldn't. We Shouldn't.
"Despite the claims from Williams and his supporters that he had been redeemed while in prison — writing anti-gang children's books and being nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize — Schwarzenegger wrote, "Is Williams' redemption complete and sincere, or is it just a hollow promise?"
"Without an apology and atonement for these senseless and brutal killings, there can be no redemption."
- GOD Arnold Schwarzenegger
At Captain's Quarters, there is what I believe to be a sincere display of Ed's feelings on the State of California taking the life of Tookie Williams this morning. While I appreciated it, I don't agree that the celebrities and political leaders who have pleaded for mercy on Tookie's behalf have been wrong, nor "circus-like" in doing so. If no one speaks against the death penalty in the circumstances where the toughest moral examples are used, then we will continue to see the death penalty used in the public's name.
If we call ourselves Christians and we applaud the execution of Tookie Williams this day, we should hang our heads and ask for forgiveness, for we have surely spoken against our own professed belief. This is an issue that encompasses the "Sanctity of Life" - just as sure as abortion is a part of that seamless garment of life. A life was taken by the State today. We can go home and tell our children that murder soothes the pain and brings feelings of justice of those whose loved ones are murdered - and they will be confused, after just hearing in Sunday school "Thou shalt not"....."Turn the other cheek..."
I work with kids from some of the most challenging neighborhoods - kids who have the tough choice of joining a gang or to stick with the courage to be themselves in the face of the peer pressure. I picture myself reading a book by Tookie to those kids, encouraging them to take the good road. Then I think of those kids when they learn of Tookie's eventual fate.
"As a Christian, I have no doubt in my heart, my mind, and my soul that what the State of California did this morning was morally wrong."
As a Christian, I have no doubt in my heart, my mind, and my soul that what the State of California did this morning was morally wrong. I think less of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger for it, and I think less of our society for it.
As a Christian, I believe in mercy and forgiveness. Faith means sticking with your beliefs in the face of the most difficult moral struggles. This is surely one of them. With the victims of Tookie Williams never leaving my mind, I know that our Lord would not have recommended or approved of Tookie's death by the State, and that is why you'll never see me defending his execution. How soon we forget that we bear the symbol of Jesus Christ's own unjust execution on the ends of our golden necklaces. Our society would have deserved to have paid for Tookie's life in prison, because our society has not paid enough attention to the problems on the streets of Compton, Harlem, and most inner cities of the Unites States. By our actions today, I believe we've just created a thousand more mean-street Tookies. We should be ashamed as a society this morning, looking at the big picture.
"How soon we forget that we bear the symbol of Jesus Christ's own unjust execution on the ends of our golden necklaces."
Bishop T.D. Jakes reminded us recently of the biblical parable of the Good Samaritan. When we think of our moral responsibilities to our society, it is a fitting story. He raised the vision of our wounded neighbors lying by the side of the road - and he said that the fact that some people choose to pass them by is a powerful and humbling reminder that you can't help others if you exalt yourself above them. In the parable, the Samaritan came off his beast to help the bleeding man. "Come down where the pain and poverty is," recommended the Bishop. Bishop Jakes pressed the fact that "Resources, not rhetoric, are what bring about meaningful changes in our lives." It's not what we say that is important. It's what we do that is important. Real leadership is defined by what we do. The Bishop suggests that we need to love our neighbors enough to "pay the bill..
"As a society, we have to "pay our bills" somewhere along the line. I'd rather pay the bill by making things better on the streets than to abide silently while the State performs executions in my name. 'Paying the bills' will require saving that drowning baby from Grover Norquist's proverbial bathtub."
As a society, we have to "pay our bills" somewhere along the line. I'd rather pay the bill by making things better on the streets than to abide silently while the State performs executions in my name.
"Paying the bills" will require saving that drowning baby from Grover Norquist's proverbial bathtub. America can do so much better than the Republican agenda of the past. We can all do so much better, Democrats and Republicans alike.
I send prayers to all who have been injured or forever left alone by Tookie's crimes, if he indeed was the one responsible. I send prayers to Tookie's family. I pray for Tookie's soul. He acted as a man who was regretful that gang violence was ever glorified. He asked for forgiveness and mercy - and we turned him away.
If we believe this merits God's love, I think we'd better think all of this out again.
We hear Stanley Tookie Williams in his own words, speaking in one his last interviews, recorded just hours before his death. He appeared on Pacifica Radio station WBAI's Wake Up Call. In the interview, Williams says he would like to be remembered for his redemptive transition: "Redemption. I can say it no better than that. That's how I would like the world to remember me. That's what I would like my legacy to be remembered as."
Doc Searls explains why he thinks this is a strike against Gov. Schwarzenegger.
Kevin Hayden moves around the usual rationales for being anti-death penalty and cuts straight to the political chase:
Willie Horton. Tookie Williams. 1300 missing children due to Katrina, with bloated black bodies floating past our eyes. Republicans really do like to Stay the Corpse, don’t they? Especially the non-Aryan kind.
Note: To defend the state's taking of a life, I saw someone invoking the Old Testament readings of Genesis 9:6, Exodus 21:12-14, Leviticus 24:17, Numbers 35:33 - totally neglecting the New Testament and forgetting that these are words of God, and they work both ways. We could apply those readings to a soulless state taking a life in the name of its citizens - and the judgement against the people of the democratic state would be equal to the judgement against Williams.