I never heard of Troy Davis until this week, I saw a bunch of people post about the mysterious guy on facebook one day and decided to Google him. And I was mourned, yet not surprised to see that another man was being put to death for a crime in which his involvement with seemed questionable at best. I’m obviously not a lawyer and I was in no way involved with the court case, so really my opinion on whether or not Troy Davis was guilty is irrelevant. When asked Thursday on NBC’s “Today” show if he thought the state had executed an innocent man, civil rights leader the Rev. Al Sharpton said: “I believe that they did, but even beyond my belief, they clearly executed a man who had established much, much reasonable doubt.”
Strapped to a gurney in Georgia’s death chamber, Troy Davis lifted his head and declared one last time that he did not kill police officer Mark MacPhail. Just a few feet away behind a glass window, MacPhail’s son and brother watched in silence.
As sad as it is, I am not surprised that we see a lower class black man sentence to die for a crime he may not have committed (in the south, no less). I’m even more sad (yet still not surprised), that the Christian community has failed to really acknowledge or even take a stand on the issue. The majority of Christians love the death penalty, and are usually years behind most domestic civil rights movements. Let’s face it, American Christians have some major priority flaws. A poor black man is executed for a crime he may not have committed, and nobody really says anything. Yet, we will spend $80 on a pair of terrible shoes so a child in less developed world will also have a pair of terrible shoes.
Does the Bible allow the death penalty? It would seem so. Does that mean we have to use it? No. Should we use it when our criminal justice system is plagued with racism, sexism, and classism? Absolutely not.