No matter the penalty, Sean will not come back to this world. If the men (boys) did the crime, I pray that the state will lock them up and not execute them. Maybe these guys are like the “good thief” on the cross. Never give up hope that these guys can be redeemed by asking God to forgive them.
If you want to know how I felt
about Sean Taylor’s murder at the hands of four Florida punks, read my earlier
blog. Thousands of Redskins fans
felt the same way. We were stunned and
When they found out who had done
it, my visceral response was: “They should die, too.” And that’s where my feelings slam into my
I follow a master who said the
most outrageous things: “You have heard
it said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray
for those who persecute you.” Who says
that? Yet it was his first message and
I mean, if you look at the pictures
of his murderers, you see none is more than 20 years-old. What were they thinking, breaking into
another man’s home to take what was his?
And more galling still – they drove all the way across Florida
to do it. What motivates such people?
So, the news today is that they
are all on suicide-watch. They have to
wear clothes that can’t be ripped so they can’t hang themselves in their cells. Yeah, kids, you should have thought through
the ramifications of breaking into another man’s home with a gun and then
firing it at him. Fine time to be
remorseful now that you’ve left his baby daughter fatherless. To say nothing of the fans who looked up to
him for coming out of a tough neighborhood and making it in the big leagues.
The movie Dead Man Walking does a good
job of depicting the forgiveness we’re supposed to show in the face of evil. It’s the essence of the gospel. It’s grace at its most scandalous. As senseless as was Taylor’s death, the irony
is that another apparently nonsensical act – forgiveness – should redeem it.
Four relevant points need to be made in light of this situation.
1. For African American males between the ages of 18-24, the leading cause of death is murder.
2. Humans do not develop in a social vacuum, but rather are influenced, to greater or lesser extents, by the environments in which they are raised.
3. 90% of the people in prison are poor.
4. 8 out of 10 people on death row killed a white person, while, for example, 90% of the murders in Southern Cities like New Orleans are Black on Black.
Lastly, Sister Helen Prejean states that Justice asks what is causing these situations. More specifically, instead of blaming these young men for the crimes they committed, we as a society and as a church must ask ourselves what aspects of our society are contributing factors to these awful realities? Too often we do not want to ask these questions because are afraid of the answers.
For example, many would believe (myself included that) it is a human right to have free health care, affordable housing and descent education. Unfortunately millions of Americans (a disproportionate amount of whom are ethnic minorities) are deprived of these amenities.
Vern I applaud you for recognizing the intrinsic value of all life and for advocating against the death penalty.
I’ve been a death penalty advocate my entire adult life.
After visiting a number of prisons and getting to know some people who were convicted of murder (but not on death row), now I’m not so sure.
However, there is one issue that none of the commenters have addressed; justice.
What about justice for Sean and his family?
How’s the former principal doing? How are you doing with him? What’s God been doing in that situation? This post just reminded me of that, so I thought I’d ask.
Subscribe to Radical Living:
Receive updates on the latest posts as Seth Barnes covers many topics like spiritual formation, what if means to be a christian, how to pray, and more. Radical Living blog is all about a call to excellence in ministry, church, and leadership -as the hands and feet of Jesus.