I sent a fax tonight to the State Board of Pardons and Paroles in Georgia. I wrote on behalf of Marcus Ray Johnson. The state has scheduled his execution next Wednesday. He was convicted of raping and murdering Angela Sizemore. His advocates indicate there are reasons to doubt his guilt. Even if there are not, I would still have sent a fax. I do not believe that putting someone to death is the answer. It is an act that tears the soul of society. It inflicts further wounds. As much as we may feast on the act, we are feasting on ourselves. I grieve for Ms. Sizemore; I tremble at what was done to her – an unspeakable violation. I grieve for those who love her. Yet, killing the person convicted of this crime is not the answer.
I sent an email tonight to the Iranian Embassy. I wrote on behalf of Youcef (or Yousef) Nadarkhani. Pastor Nadarkhani stands convicted of apostasy. CNN reports that he heads “a network of Christian house churches in Iran” and “could be executed as soon as midnight Wednesday in Tehran for refusing to recant his religious beliefs and convert to Islam.” Iran has ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Article 18 of the covenant includes a provision that the “freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief.” On this basis, Iran should halt the execution. But even without the Covenant, capital punishment remains an unacceptable response in this or any situation.
The taking of a life by a state – for whatever reason – is not the answer in Georgia. It is not the answer in Iran. It is simply not the answer.
I faxed. I emailed. Will you join me?
See you along the Trail.