Thursday, May 20, 2010

State Killing Makes Strange Bedfellows

Yesterday's Clarion-Ledger story on preparations for the two executions at Parchman this week had this interesting bit on Mississippi Department of Corrections Commissioner Chris Epps:

Department of Corrections Commissioner Chris Epps said he will start today with a prayer.

"An execution affects different people in different ways," said Epps, who has been commissioner since 2002 and has overseen six executions to date. "I've seen people faint when we had the gas chamber."

"I'm a Christian and a deacon. There's a certain preparation I have to do to get ready. I pray, is the first thing I do. I talk to my family and my pastor and I ask for faith to carry out my duties as commissioner."

Guess what, Commissioner Epps? Osama Bin Laden did the VERY SAME THING in preparation for the September 11, 2001 killings of the Americans he considered murderous infidels. In a September 2006 report, CNN said:

A video has been released showing al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden meeting with suspected terrorist Ramzi Binalshibh, purportedly as they prepare for the September 11, 2001 attacks, according to Al-Jazeera, which aired the tape Thursday.

* * * *

In one of the segments of the tape, bin Laden tells his compatriots that the news from "the brothers who went out for martyrdom operations ... is delightful."

"And I strongly advise you to increase your prayers for them and beseech Allah the Exalted in your prayer to grant them success, make firm their foothold and strengthen their hearts," the al Qaeda leader says.
Now, I would prefer to think that the God that Mr. Epps prays to is different from that worshipped by Mr. bin Laden. But assuming that by identifying himself as a Christian, Mr. Epps believes that the Supreme Being became a human person named Jesus of Nazareth, that pre-execution prayer must have been an interesting conversation. You recall when the Pharasees brought Jesus a woman who had broken a law punishable by death, he responded, "If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her." John 8:7.

Do those of us who call ourselves "Christian" really think that this same Jesus is God? Or do we, instead, worship a God who allows us to take revenge in a haughty spirit of hatred?


Louie said...

Two (2) down, more to go

Donna said...

I just read the Jackson Free Press article, and then came here to read this blog. The entire time I was reading this post, I kept thinking of appropriate responses, but now that I am finished reading, honestly I can only say...

Capital punishment makes me sick.
I am glad I no longer live in MS.
I am glad these prisoners have attorneys like you to fight for them.
I am a Christian, and capital punishment makes me sick.

Thank you for fighting these battles.

HDMatthias, MD said...

I have absolutely no idea what this article, "State Killing Makes Strange Bedfellows" means.

Anderson said...

If you want to be taken seriously, comparing Chris Epps to Osama bin Laden is not the way to go about it.

I mean, if you're actually trying to do something other than vent. Which goodness knows, ain't nothin' wrong with venting on the internet.

Just sayin'.

Sondra said...

Good comparison; I thought the same thing when I read that Comm Epps started with a prayer. Does he seek forgiveness for what he is about to do? Justification? No, that's not how he thinks. In an article earlier this month, I believe when he was asked about scheduling executions back to back putting a strain on a budget that is all ready strained, his comment and I quote is "that's what we do".

Excuse me, Mr. Epps, but no! That's not what we do; that may be what you do. But that's not what I do! Capital punishment is WRONG!!! My hat is off to guys like Jim Craig who stand up and fight this fight!