Justice? Mercy? How does the church respond?


In just under two hours Troy Davis is scheduled have his sentence completed in the State of Georgia. Much debate has been promoted through the media, most of it opposing the use of the death penalty. People from all walks of life, ethnicity, and religious backgrounds are weighing in with their thoughts around this particular case. Prayer vigils are being held around the world to try to stop the execution. Clergy, politicians, retired lawmakers, and other dignitaries have been speaking publicly against carrying out the sentence in this case. In the meantime, who is speaking out on behalf of the victim, Mark MacPhail, in this case? It seems that it is only his family.

I am appalled, disgusted, embarrassed, and disappointed in my brothers and sisters in Christ in this moment. The family of Troy Davis needs your support in this time, but why aren’t you speaking out for the MacPhail family? Have you become so focused on a possible injustice that you have forgotten mercy, comfort and compassion?

I am not advocating the death penalty in this statement. I am advocating for the other family and friends that have been hurt and have been suffering for the past 21 years! This family needs justice but you (my brothers and sisters in Christ) have not helped them let go of their desire for vengeance and the cycle continues.

If you wonder what I know about this cycle and these desires, just ask. I live with all of these emotions everyday and have for more than 15 years.

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One thought on “Justice? Mercy? How does the church respond?

  1. I don’t know all the facts in this case, so it’s impossible for me to know, or even have an opinion, if this man is guilty or innocent. And, I’ve always felt bad for the families of victims, particularly in high profile cases, that get stuck between the horror of losing their loved ones and wanting to see justice done, while also being subject to constant media reminders and bombardment of opinions by the public, most of whom, thank goodness, never have been victims of this level of crime. That plus your call to support the MacPhaill family in this instance, and by extension, all other victims’ families, leads me to ask you, what can we do? I don’t mean this to be a snide question at all, I really don’t know what can be done in support. Of course I pray for these families. I am guilty of praying specifically for the ones I’ve heard about, and this certainly challenges me to pray for those families that never make the news, both the families of the victims and those of the perpetrators.

    I think what made this case such a highly publicized one is the question of the guilt of this man. Again, I don’t know enough about this particular case to really know if he really did it or not, but if he did not do it, how is executing him doing justice? The killer is still out there. This differs greatly than your situation where there is no doubt about your brother’s killer. The only factors that the defense is trying to fight seems to have to do with motivations, influences, and who was the ringleader. However, we know that all three involved directly took part in the murder one way or the other. But, in cases where there is doubt about whether they even have the right guy (or woman), people want to make sure they are not committing another evil on top of the one already committed. I think this is why there was such an outcry over this particular case.

    But, back to the question of this post. What CAN we do to speak out for the MacPhaill family? How can we support them?

    Thank you for this insightful post.

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