* Excerpt from a conversation with a small group on my Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty Houston Speaking Tour
People often begin their arguments for the death penalty with one simple phrase, “That person committed a crime so heinous they deserve to die.” We must begin our reply with one simple question, “Who or what gives you the right to kill?” In order to kill someone, one must other or dehumanize the person to the extent that the person is comfortable pulling the switch or the trigger. Gov. Perry has consistently called people on death row, “Monsters.” The person who committed the heinous crime is something other than human. Those who are something other than human deserve to die. This line of reasoning creates a world where the proponent of execution becomes judge, jury and executioner or God. The self-deification leads to a place where no one is more deserving of both life and vengeance than the proponent of execution is. When God says that we should have no other Gods but God, I believe that God was also warning us against creating a God out of our self too. The time is past due to quit thinking that we know enough to know who to kill or who not to kill. God commands us to, “Love our neighbor as our self.” Can’t nobody love their neighbor as their self and kill them.