Death Penalty Politics

We need ethical guidelines in order to live sanely.

Why is the death penalty still an agreed upon torture and punishment method for American prisoners?

I heard a news story this morning on NPR about states finding lethal injection to be unconstitutional and are backing off from using it. Although death penalty laws are on the books in thirty-one states, only five carried out executions last year.

Arkansas has always been on the forefront of killing more people on death row than any other state. Now Arkansas is planning to kill as many as eight on death row before the state’s supply of lethal injection expires later this month.

Some pharmacies are flat out refusing to provide these lethal drug combinations. Kudos to them. 

If lethal injection is unconstitutional, what makes the electric chair, hanging, or firing squad a better alternative? Believe it or not, law makers are considering these alternatives with a straight face because these methods still remain legal in their  states. 

On another topic, kudos to Ron Paul for standing up and questioning  whether Bashar al- Assad was responsible for the recent chemical explosions killing untold numbers of people. Paul doubts Assad is responsible, because of a number of factors explained in this article. The neocons want war and regime change in Syria and will go to any lengths to oust Assad. The Neocons are moving in. I doubt Trump has the guts to stand up to them, thus breaking yet another campaign promise. Many people I know who voted for Trump did so thinking he would adapt noninterventionist policies.

In the correspondence between Thomas Merton and Albert Camu, they agreed on this: the societal propaganda for Capitol Punishment justifies and mirrors the drive to wage war. The last statement says everything about the values and ethics of our society.

Pope Francis says there is no excuse for Capital Punishment –or war–for that matter. He also said the only true purpose for prison needs to be strictly for rehabilitation and education, not punishment.

He said thou shall not kill applies to both the innocent and the guilty.

This is why I avoid any overtures to serve on jury duty. Who am I to play God with people’s lives?

“We are all implicated when we allow other people to be mistreated. An absence of compassion can corrupt the decency of a community, a state, a nation. Fear and anger can make us vindictive and abusive, unjust and unfair, until we all suffer from the absence of mercy and we condemn ourselves as much as we victimize others. The closer we get to mass incarceration and extreme levels of punishment, the more I believe it’s necessary to recognize that we all need mercy, we all need justice, and-perhaps-we all need some measure of unmerited grace.”

Bryan Stevenson, Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption

Check out my companion blog, Prayer Prescriptions. Today’s post is called, Capturing The Essence.

My Mother’s Kitchen

A book setting the stage for meaningful discourse around the kitchen table.
     When I think of “Kitchen Table Wisdom,” I think of my mother’s kitchen as I was growing up– political discussions, social justice, civil rights, the end of all war, spiritual reality all with coffee brewing 24/7, back kitchen door open to reveal bird song and neighborhood bustle.
     My mother had a morning schedule she followed religiously: up to do yoga, a short meditation, coffee, reading, house cleaning once a week with our Amish cleaning person who came from rural Lancaster county to do the work. My dad dutifully picked her up and took her home, again.
     In the summer, my parents belonged to a swimming pool that allowed people of color to belong. My parents participated in a “swimming pool suit” to put an end to discrimination at local swim clubs in the 1960’s.  We won but it took time to see the results.
     I remember a movement of discourse, community and camaraderie happening in my mother’s kitchen. All opinions were allowed, although those who showed up generally agreed on all matters of importance.
     The religious right weren’t banned, nor un-welcomed. Inside that kitchen, magic happened where free thought flowed, laughter erupted, a hint of grand potential was birthed in all who participated. A memory now, a movement then.
     My mother’s kitchen, something I always aspire to, in my own style.