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Heaven & Earth will surely witness against us


The state of Georgia may execute Troy Davis on September 21st and if there is only one thing you read in the next 24 hours, make it Explaining the Death Penalty to my Children by blogger Emily Hauser.

Emily writes movingly about Davis, sentenced 20 years ago in the killing of a police officer, and how this will be the last week of his life unless the Georgia Board of Pardons steps in to say otherwise. Seven of the 9 witnesses have recanted their testimony. There is no physical evidence. And yet this 42-year-old man might be killed by his fellow citizens.

This has been a week of death.

At last Monday’s CNN-Tea Party Republican debate, members of the audience shouted “Yeah!” when Ron Paul was asked whether a critically ill person without health insurance should be left to die (which is kinda what happened to his former campaign manager).

And the week before, governor and candidate Rick Perry announced that he neither loses sleep nor struggles with the fact that 234 people have been executed in Texas during his watch. Just the mere mention of 234 deaths by injection got the largest applause line of the entire debate series.

How beyond insane is that?

Oh yeah, have I mentioned that 750,000 people may starve in Somalia because Islamic militants are refusing the allow the delivery of humanitarian aid into areas they control? And the 26 people killed by a suicide bomber at a Pakistani funeral of a carpenter, for God’s sake?

I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day: I have put before you life and death, blessing and curse (Deuteronomy 30:19).

Now we don’t always choose death – just today there’s a story about a family asking that the death penalty not be handed down in a hate crime during which their relative was murdered. And a federal court judge in Florida ruled that yes, doctors can tell patients to keep family handguns away from children.

But, truly, our track record isn’t so great. Freud (and the Greeks before him) may have been right about our death-wish. Read Emily’s piece in the Atlantic. Do something for Troy Davis. Be the kind of human that doesn’t cheer at the mention of death.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Sarah Rubin permalink
    09/15/2011 8:23 pm

    Thank you for opening this verse to me as about choosing life for others. I typically read this verse (selfishly?) as about choosing life for myself, metaphorically or literally.

    I have been fretting, recently, about people (none I know personally, but some who are public figures) who seem to believe not only that the world WILL come to an end, but that we have no place interfering (say, environmentally, or in wars/disputes) to prevent or forestall such an end and maybe ought to assist in bringing the end about. I really do not understand this kind of thinking, which can only be seen as choosing death, through such avenues as suicide-bombings or failure to intervene in famines or provide health care to those in need. And yet, some of these same people call themselves “pro-life.”

    So antithetical to everything I believe about life, all of which is sacred and precious and valuable.

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