I was thousands of miles away when the state of Georgia went ahead and executed Troy Davis .
But distance cannot keep me from being implicated in his killing. I am implicated because I did not do enough to stop it. Because I did not scream and shout. (I did honk feebly to support a lone man holding a sign at the intersection of Punchbowl and King in Honolulu for a few evenings. His sign invited passing motorists to honk to show their solidarity with Troy Davis. At least he was doing something.)
I am implicated because I did not find a way to amplify my outrage and save this possibly innocent man from death row. Because I pay my taxes and participate in a system of government that says it is OK for the state to kill. It is OK for the state to require its prison officials to take a man, strap him to a gurney and kill him, even when doubts exist about his guilt. Even if he were guilty, I am implicated in a killing I want no part of because I am part of a system of justice that considers it acceptable to empower the state to end a man’s life.
Someday people will look back on what was done to Troy Davis and the hundreds of others who have been executed, whether guilty or innocent, and they will wonder: How did we allow this barbaric practice to go on for so long even as we called ourselves “civilized” and basked in the accomplishments of our “civilization?”
Meanwhile, this past Sunday, congregations were told about imminent changes to the Sunday missal, by order of the Vatican. We would no longer be saying “one in being with the Father” for instance. Instead, the Vatican believes it would be more prayerful and accurate to speak of Christ being “consubstantial” with the Father. Nothing was said about Troy Davis. Or the appropriateness of the death penalty.
Personally, I am finding it harder and harder to feel very “consubstantial” with my Church. I am much more “one in being” with all those wrongly taken lives.
Faith Check: The last time I looked the fifth commandment still said: Thou Shalt Not Kill. And there are no plans to tinker with how that is worded.