Casting no stones

The headline
of this morning’s Dispatch
addresses executions in Ohio and the drugs
needed to carry them out.  Despite drug makers
warning Ohio officials not to use their products for executions, the article
details multiple occasions in which state officials acquired these drugs, sending
them to the state death chamber in southern Ohio to serve as the three drug
cocktail for lethal injections.

However, there is good news on this front.  Folks who work closely for the abolition of Ohio’s
death penalty note they have good reason to believe that Governor DeWine has no
wish for executions to be carried out on his watch.  The speaker of the Ohio House also recently made
a public statement
that he has become “less and less” supportive of the
death penalty.

While citing expense and legal obstacles serves as a good
public argument from some officials to back off death penalty support, the
underlying issue is a moral one.  When we
kill, we are diminished, and we become a little more like the evil we set out
to destroy.  Rather than bring healing
and closure to victim families, the drawn out state execution legal process re-victimizes
families who publicly relive the horrific incident over and over again.  From a Christian perspective, the person at
the center of our faith is a man executed by the state, whose death unveiled
the emptiness of this violent form of human justice, and whose life pointed
toward Divine justice as a restorative communal project.  A gospel story frequently cited for Jesus’
response to the death penalty is John 8:1-11. 
The religious leaders bring before Jesus a woman caught in adultery, a
crime punishable by death.  Jesus
responds: “Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a
stone at her.”       

If this is something you feel especially passionate about,
or if you’d like to become more connected, here are three possibilities:

  1. Join the Ohioans to Stop Executions (OTSE) email list.  You’ll get occasional educational pieces,
    legislative updates, and specific calls to action.
  2. On Saturday, October 12, from 9am-4pm First
    Community Church is hosting “Cast No Stones: Standing with Victims to End
    Executions in Ohio.”  Speakers includes
    Sr. Helen Prejean, CSJ (Dead Man Walking), and evangelical Shane
    Claiborne.  Registration required, HERE.    
  3. Have a coffee conversation with Hannah Kubbins, Project
    Director of OTSE.  Hannah has been
    attending CMC and would love to meet with a group of us who want to be better
    educated about this work.  I’m hoping to
    convene this conversation in the next couple months.  If
    interested, let me know.