Tuesday, May 08, 2007

 

A Conscience for Our Times

Even as we feel the travesty of justice currently being carried out in Cincinnati by the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, today's Tennessean carries a call to all of us from the pioneer of the civil rights movement, Reverend James Lawson. Lawson writes:

Unfortunately for Philip Workman, they have been framing him since the night of a police officer's death almost 25 years ago. They have tried to make a restaurant robber into a murderer so he can be the fall guy for the fatal error of the Memphis police.

So to paraphrase Jesus, as they prepare Workman for the gurney:

"Father, forgive them, for they know exactly what they're doing."
* * *
How can we, as a society, claim to honor leaders like Reverend Lawson, or Dr. Martin Luther King Jr who said, "I do not believe that God approves of the death penalty for any crime," and then ignore their voices when the key moral issues of our times surface?

Read Lawson's entire letter here.

Comments :
God introduced himself in human form not as a mighty warrior on a large white stallion but as a baby born in a manger. The new covenant calls for love and forgiveness and love for our enemies. This is our power and our comfort. This we must remind ourselves of especially when we start to feel so powerless within this man made society.
 
I particularly appreciated Reverend Lawson's reminding us of Jesus asking God to forgive his executioners. Clearly if the execution wasn't wrong, there would be no need to be forgiven for it. The true spirit of the Gospels, of Jesus's love, overrides any call for vengeance and must turn our faces toward a more truly forgiving and compassionate path.

Oh yeah, and Philip Workman didn't commit murder!
 
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