The State Killed 2 Men Last Night (but we only cared about Troy Davis) [David Henson]

The State Killed 2 Men Last Night (but we only cared about Troy Davis) [David Henson] September 22, 2011

The situation with Troy Davis is truly heartbreaking.  Jesus calls us to care about life.  Yet most American Christians refuse to be Pro-Life from the womb to the tomb.  Something’s gotta change.

Rather than writing my own reflection on the Troy Davis situation, I wanted to point your attention to an excellent post about it by David Henson.  He expresses exactly how I feel on this situation.  I may write in the future on the death penalty, but today I point you toward him.

Here is the beginning of the article…


Two men were executed last night by the state.

And no one said a word about one of them.

Because it wasn’t about Troy Davis. Because witnesses didn’t recant. Because the evidence was clear. Because hundreds of thousands worldwide didn’t sign a petition for him.

Because it was about a white supremacist.

There is tragic irony to last night’s events. Even as the throngs of activists wept, celebrated, sang and prayed when word came that the execution of Troy Davis in a Georgia prison was delayed, though only for only a few hours, by no less than the U.S. Supreme Court, the state of Texas was busy plunging a poisoned needle into the body of Lawrence Russell Brewer.

There were no last minute heroics, desperate filings or social media frenzy.

There were no hashtags, blocked or otherwise.

No one wearing “I Am Lawrence Brewer” T-shirts.

While Davis was surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses, Brewer died alone, his parents and his victim’s relatives watching from a nearby room.

He had no final words in death, only a single tear.  Read the rest of this article…

"The Bible never says he "was born in a barn, accompanied only by his parents, ..."

2 Reasons NOT to ‘Keep Christ ..."
"Okay, didn't realize this was such an old post. Not sure how I ended up ..."

FREE: Missio Alliance Anabaptism Conference Talks
"Looks like it used to be free but the time period on that has expired. ..."

FREE: Missio Alliance Anabaptism Conference Talks
"Seems to only be free for members. Is that correct?"

FREE: Missio Alliance Anabaptism Conference Talks

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!

TRENDING AT PATHEOS Progressive Christian
What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Excellent post, Kurt! While I feel the same; that is it’s a lot harder to feel sympathy for a guy who acted like Lawrence did, Jesus calls us to love those the world would have us hate (Luke 6:31-35). I’m reminded of Tolkien, “Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement.”

  • Megan

    Thanks Kurt 🙂

  • Amen. We who care about the lives of everyone must consistently care about the lives of everyone. I noticed the big rush yesterday on Twitter regarding Davis, and amid that burst Mr. Brewer was killed. I made a comment about it, and I saw only two or three others. The reason we fail to make a change to this legalized murder is because we cannot consistently love. And I am to blame.

  • Kristin

    Wow. That sure stepped on my toes. Great post, Kurt.

  • There were people tweeting about Lawrence Brewer. 

  • Wow.  That one hits me between the eyes!  Thanks for confronting us, Kurt.

  • Kevin Copeland

    This says a lot about the reality of social justice in America, as well as free grace and unconditional love for all.

  • Interesting discussion.

    think the issue is too complicated to put in one box or another, but I’d like
    to play the devil’s advocate here and point out some things that raise
    questions in my mind.

    Punishment by death is at
    the very core of Christianity and indeed, the story of redemption from start to

    God himself imposed the
    first death penalty (“you shall surely die”) upon Adam and Eve.
    Granted, they were on death row for 800 years, but still, death was the penalty
    for a transgression which could be argued to be a much more minor offense
    (remember I said devil’s advocate!) than most “capitol” offenses
    today. Of course, God himself immediately promised a redeemer, and there you have
    the whole story of our faith. But when Christ died in our place, we are again
    seeing death as the penalty.

    As for civil cases, the
    same God who told individuals “thou shalt not kill” also commanded
    that the death penalty be imposed upon adulterers and children who talk back to
    their parents. Outside of the Law of Moses, God ordered mass executions (even
    of children), wiping out whole towns and cultures. When the Lord Jesus returns, the “sword that comes out of his mouth” will result in death of countless who oppose him as king. Those very stories cause a
    lot of unbelievers to shy away from God, as they cannot deal with what they see
    as a contradiction with the “God of Love” which we preach. We need to
    face those “contradictions,” too. We can’t ignore them or explain
    them away. But they are there nonetheless, and must be fit into any coherent synthesis of
    God’s character and what he expects of man.

    There is a difference (as
    I pointed out on N.T. Wright’s guest post) between abortion, murder and the
    death penalty. I do not see a necessary contradiction in being pro-life (i.e.
    anti-abortion) and pro-death penalty. The victim of an abortion is innocent, an
    innocent, unborn child in the worldview of the pro-life position. A murder
    victim is also innocent, whereas one sentenced to death may or may not be
    innocent, it is true, but they were condemned as guilty by a court with
    witnesses and a judge. And that bring up the other difference: abortion and
    murder as individual decisions to take like. But the death penalty is imposed
    by the state (not by an individual) and is done after a trial. So there is no
    real contradiction in wanting to protect innocent life and being willing to see
    the death penalty imposed upon the guilty.

    As for the death penalty
    being imposed by the state (which “does not bear the sword for
    nothing”), those authorities are “established by God” and the
    the civil authority which bears the sword (ungodly pagan Rome, as the time of
    Paul’s writing) was “God’s minister, an avenger who brings wrath upon the
    one who practices evil.”

    Bottom line, I believe
    that Christ calls the individual to “love their enemies” and that the
    church has no authority or place in being involved in imposing a sentence of
    death upon anyone. But the Scriptures clearly show that the state does have
    this right, and the right is given by God himself.

    Lest anything think this
    means that I have it all figured out (or that I have no compassion on the
    guilty, much less the “not guilty” wrongly sentenced)… the whole
    situation more than anything gives us the chance to speak out for the God who
    died in our place, even in the place of those who will die by lethal injection
    (or who, if freed, would die later due to the original Genesis 3 death