All Executions Fall Short of Humane Standards: What’s Horrifying About Oklahoma’s Botched Execution.

Creative Commons copyright T Woodard (flickr)

The botched execution of Clayton D. Lockett is horrifying.

Wait, that’s not quite right.

The execution of Clayton D. Lockett is horrifying.

The state-sanctioned murder of anyone is horrifying.

The White House said today that this particular execution fell short of humane standards.

In truth, however, what was inhumane on Tuesday night had nothing to do with him feeling his death and execution.

The inhumane part of it is that the state was killing him in the first place.

The death penalty is inhumane. Full stop.

What is cruel and unusual is not this cocktail of drugs. What is cruel and unusual is the killing of human beings by the state.

My prayer is that those who witnessed this horrifying act will realize it was not that they saw the pain in his execution, but simply that they saw the state kill him.

 

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About David R. Henson

David Henson received his Master of Arts from Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California, after receiving a Lilly Grant for religious education for journalists. He ordained in the Episcopal Church as a priest. He is a father of two young sons and the husband of a medical school student.

  • http://undeception.com/ Steve Douglas

    What’s worse than that, David, is that a lion’s share of those who support the death penalty do so despite the firm conviction that the executed will spend an eternity tormented in hell fire. Should these people not be granting the wicked a long life in jail to give them every opportunity to repent?

    • Y. A. Warren

      Jesus apparently believed that some would never embrace full humanity or ever repent.

      • http://undeception.com/ Steve Douglas

        No, this passage isn’t commanding anyone to tie a millstone around sinners’ necks: he is saying that God’s judgment will be a heavier sentence than that. And even if he were saying that we should this punish the wicked, the rationale implied would be an act of compassion, to give them a less weighty punishment.
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        A. Warren*
        Jesus apparently believed that some would never embrace full humanity or ever repent.

        11:13 a.m., Friday May 2
        * Reply to Y. A. Warren *
        Y. A. Warren’s comment is in reply to *Steve Douglas*:
        What’s worse than that, David, is that a lion’s share of those who support the death penalty do so despite the firm conviction …

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      • Y. A. Warren

        That is one interpretation, and certainly not the only one. I am always open to respectful disagreement.

  • Chaprich

    I oppose the death penalty on grounds that it is unjustly meted out to minorities and the poor. The U.S. Constitution, however, did not consider the death penalty to be “cruel and unusual”, so I think the botched execution of Mr. Lockett was unconstitutional by its inhumane administration.

  • Y. A. Warren

    What is worse, the killing of a monster’s physical body, or allowing the monster to continue destroying the lives and spirits of those they harm? “It is better to have a millstone tied around one’s neck and be thrown into the sea than to lead a child to harm.”

    • http://undeception.com/ Steve Douglas

      How many lives and spirits would be killed with the “monster” incarcerated for life? How many lives and spirits could be mended by the chance that the “monster” would have a chance for his life and spirit mended?

      And how many lives and spirits are marred by cheering on the destruction of the life and spirit of this “monster”?


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