If anything good has come out of last night’s botched execution of 38-year-old Clayton D. Lockett at an Oklahoma penitentiary, it is that the issue of capital punishment has been brought to the forefront of the news cycle.
I’ll spare you the details here, but the execution was apparently muffed by either using the wrong drugs, not enough, or a “vein failure.” Either way, it was enough for the administrators to “lower the curtain” between the viewing audience (including his family) and the proceedings behind the windows.
Here’s my beef: I’ve been very confused my entire life about how people who say they are pro-life or anti-abortion are perfectly fine with being pro-capital punishment. I don’t think it’s possible to be a Christ-follower and still be able to condone, much less celebrate, the death of anyone.
Many of you know of my involvement with prison ministry over the past twenty years. Over that time I’ve become close friends with many guys deemed worthless or disposable by society, much less their family or friends. One of my main objectives is to proclaim the inherent worth and value of every human being, regardless of what they’ve done, or even what they’re going to do. I guess I just saw Jesus doing that, and figured out that it’s not only the right thing to do, but it’s the only thing to do.
When we start determining whether someone should die, we are saying that they are no longer capable of being redeemed. There’s no hope. God may forgive you, but we can’t. My Christian belief tells me that we are saved only by our faith in God. And because of Christ, that has absolutely nothing to do with my behavior. If it did, Christ would have been crucified needlessly.
“But, Mark, what that guy did was horrible!” Absolutely, there’s no denying that. And I’m certainly not saying that some people might need to be behind bars their entire life.
I believe it’s time to put an end to this archaic, flawed system of playing God. And that we should all be busy proclaiming the awesome worth of every person we meet, whether it’s in the line at Starbucks or behind bars.