by the Reverend J. Edwin Bacon, Rector
All Saints Church, Pasadena
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
All human beings carry within them the Divine. When the cruel and unusual punishment of the death penalty is carried out-- a blatant violation of the 8th amendment to the U.S. Constitution – a life bearing the image of God is killed in a premeditated manner.
It is most likely that Georgia has committed state sanctioned murder against an innocent human being. Tonight the State of Georgia has executed Troy Davis. Davis’s guilt is in doubt as most witnesses who testified against him in court have recanted stating their testimony was coerced. Another man confessed to the murder of which Davis was convicted, and the ballistics evidence used in the trial was unreliable. How can this be called justice?
We know that the death penalty is applied unevenly. It is disproportionately pursued and administered against African-Americans. People of color and people of low income are more likely to be executed than others in the United States. This immoral, racist, and classist practice has been abolished in most civilized countries. To our shame the United States' use of the death penalty places us in the company of nations known for human rights violations: China, Saudi Arabia, North Korea and Iran.
The death penalty dehumanizes all persons in whose society it still remains. The Supreme Court’s upholding this execution implicated us all in the murder of Troy Davis. As Coretta Scott King famously said, “Justice is never advanced in the taking of a human life. Morality is never upheld by a legalized murder.” On this somber night may all people of good will commit themselves ending this evil done on our behalf and to the abolition of the death penalty.