Take a long look at this man. His name is Edgar Arias Tamayo and he is a native of Mexico. Mr. Tamayo was convicted of killing Houston Police Officer Guy Gaddis with three shots to the back of his head inside of a police cruiser. No matter what you think about him or the crime he was convicted of, it is important to remember that Mr. Tamayo is a child of God.
Tonight, Mr. Tamayo was granted a last minute reprieve from the United States Supreme Court to halt his execution in the State of Texas. Without the reprieve, the State of Texas would have executed Mr. Tamayo around 6pm. There is no guarantee that Mr. Tamayo will not be executed tonight…especially if the Supreme Court denies Mr. Tamayo’s appeal before midnight. In the uncertainty of this moment, I thought I would take this opportunity to write a few words about my neighbor.
Thousands of years prior to the life of Mr. Tamayo perilously dangling between life and death, a man named Jesus of Nazareth gave a simple command, “love your neighbor as your self.”
Today, based on Mr. Tamayo’s lack of access to Mexican legal counsel assistance, which is guaranteed in a provision of the 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, his lawyers along with the Mexican government argued for his execution to be halted. Tonight, there are many who would argue that those of us who reside in the State of Texas failed to love our neighbor as our self by not guaranteeing or demanding Mr. Tamayo receive the legal representation that he is legally entitled to under international law. Those who would make such an argument would of course be correct…but there is a simpler truth to be found.
The truth is that if we are to love our neighbor as our self or love our enemy then it is quite logical that we should refrain from trying to kill them. Those who lead and the large majority of those who inhabit the State of Texas claim to be Christians…yet every time someone is executed in this state we disobey a basic command of the God that we claim to serve…to love each other…even those that are deemed unlovable.
For many tonight the case of Edgar Arias Tamayo is clear, a man from Mexico should be executed for killing Houston Police Officer Guy Gaddis. For me tonight the case of Edgar Arias Tamayo is clear as well, Mr. Tamayo is a child of God and we are called to affirm him as such…by loving our neighbor and not killing him.
May it be so.
Update: Edgar Arias Tamayo was executed by the State of Texas on Wednesday Jan 22, 2014 at 9:32pm. May the grace and love of God be with him for all of eternity.