By Mary Clark
Image Above: Source
As an Arkansas native, I care about what happens in my home state more than just the cursory glance at the news that other people might pay to it.
As a moderate, with slightly right leaning views when it comes to politics, for a long time I believed in the appropriateness of the death penalty in some cases.
I'm sure I have your attention now. I'm also sure that you are wondering what in the world these two conditions have to do with each other. Well, as I was listening to the radio the other day, my favorite morning show personality, Drake Hall, and his guest, David Waters, were discussing a piece of news out of the Natural State that I call home.
Back in March, I saw an article on Facebook that talked about Arkansas's search for witnesses for executions under the death penalty. I didn't read it; I was tired of all the sad stuff, and I figured it was an op-ed article on declining support for the death penalty in Arkansas.
I was wrong. I found out the details on the radio that Governor Asa Hutchinson had given approval for 8 executions of death row inmates over a 10 day span in April. All of the inmates were convicted for murder between 1990 and 2000. The reason for these executions to take place so soon, and in such quick succession?
The drug, midazolam, used as a partial component in Arkansas's lethal injection cocktail is set to expire. You guessed it: at the end of April. Why can't they just buy more? The makers of midazolam, Hoffman-La Roche, have terminated production of the drug for use in executions because of the complications it has caused in past executions.
In an industry that we, as Americans, have seen operate predominately and solely to make money, this company has decided not to continue producing this drug for use of removing killers from society. Yet, my state's government thinks it's acceptable, and they're raring to go to use it. There's a lot of red flags there.
It's not the stupidity of this case that bothers me most (even though that does make my blood boil). It's the hypocrisy.
America is a melting pot for cultures. While we say that we welcome all cultures, and sometimes we do, some groups still really like to promote our rooted Christian values, and there's no problem with that. But it seems that they like to force them on people, and that's not okay. It's especially interesting in this issue because the Governor Hutchison counts himself a Christian man. Nevertheless, let's unpack that in terms of this case.
- 8 men committed heinous and awful crimes, and were sentenced to death by a court (assuming they actually did it, as some profess innocence, I make no assumptions either way).
- The men have spent between 17 and 27 years on death row.
- Out of the 36 inmates on death row in Arkansas, these men were chosen to be executed.
Now let's look at a few verses straight from the Christian bible that would qualify to shed some light on this situation.
- “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye." -Matthew 7:1-5
- "When they continued to question Him, He straightened up and said to them, “Whoever is without sin among you, let him be the first to cast a stone at her.” -John 8:7
And the big one....
- "Thou shalt not kill." -Exodus 20:13
It's easy to hear stories of murder and crime on the news and want justice and revenge against those who committed it. It's natural. But the hypocrisy of claiming Christian values in situations like this is hard to stomach, for me, and I'm sure for God, too.
It's Easter season, this Sunday, all Christian's will celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ who died for our sins, to give us eternity in the land of Our Lord. Do not mistake the irony of this situation during this time. Do not overlook the hypocrisy, and the wrongness.
This Sunday I ask all Christians to take a moment and to think about your celebration for the Lord's eternal life, while these 8 men sit and think about the end of theirs.
To be Christian is to act as a Christian. This world is known to tear us down and try to push us away from our faith. Don't let the terrors of the world detract you from what God decrees. Work towards knowing God more, work towards loving the way he does. This world is already scary enough as it is. Maybe we should try to make it better, not worse.
"There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the One who is able to save and destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?" -James 4:12
Mary Clark is an editor with The Galleon and is an English for Corporate Communications major at Christian Brothers University.