I arose this morning (like I do on most mornings), pondering the troubling existential questions of human existence. One fundamental question visits me the most, “Where is God in the midst of all of this bullshit?” Today, was no different. For nearly a year, I have given my life to ministering to and fighting for Anthony Sanchez. In the process, he has become one of my dearest friends. Life is cruel. Although I got to know him as someone on death row that I knew likely would be executed, I never held back. I believed then as I do now that Sanchez was worth everything I have. Over the past year, I have helped Sanchez make it through each day, developed a campaign to try to save his life, secured for him competent legal counsel and pushed for him alone to be able to make all of the decisions that can alter the course of his life. The idea that someone on death row should have agency is a terrifying thing for most. Indeed, much of the anti-death penalty establishment in Oklahoma is terrified that these guys on death row will start making decisions for themselves. All of that is of no consequence now. We are days away from a potential execution. Thankfully, Sanchez’s new legal team is in court fighting until the very last minute to save his life. So, while I don’t know what will happen…I can’t help but question what has. So much betrayal of the cause. So much betrayal of basic human decency. So much betrayal of Anthony Sanchez. The fundamental question remains, “Where is God in the midst of all of this bullshit?”
The question lingered. When I sat down in my office to begin to work, I saw a painting that Sanchez did for me many months ago (he’s a damn good artist). It’s a picture of a dove looking like it’s spoiling for a fight. It was perfect for the moment that I’m in…we’re in. Since the beginning of our relationship, Sanchez has always known that I am a nonviolent activist. I am dedicated working through injustice without violence. On multiple occasions during our struggle, Sanchez has told me that I needed to be more violent. While I have no use for physical violence, I do believe that we are called to metaphorically fight back with all that we have against injustice. Sanchez has given an image to something that I have always felt, the call of Jesus the Christ is to be a dove spoiling for a fight…ready to push back against injustice wherever it raises its’ head…violent in both revolutionary focus and word but not in physical deed. Even though I take great pride in the fight that Sanchez has both activists and attorneys fighting for his life until the very end, there is more work to do. Will you join me? We need doves who are unafraid…unafraid of violence in both revolutionary focus and word but not in physical deed. There is still time to stop the execution of Anthony Sanchez. There is still time to stop all of these upcoming executions. May we heed Sanchez’s illustrative call to be doves spoiling for a fight.