[Death Penalty Signs] Rev. Matt Idom: Texas, the Death Penalty, and the Will of God
r-woodward at tcadp-bv.org
Tue May 25 12:30:47 CDT 2010
See an article written by Matt Idom of the First United Methodist Church of
Bryan. If there's anyone out there who knows him or goes to this church,
please contact me. He may be someone with whom we should be working.
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Steve Hall <shall at standdown.org>
Date: Tue, May 25, 2010 at 10:59 AM
Subject: [StandDown-L] Huffington Post - Idom: Texas, the Death Penalty, and
the Will of God
To: standdown-l at googlegroups.com
May 24, 2010 | 10:41 AM
Texas, the Death Penalty, and the Will of God
Regarding the murder trial that has dominated our local print and broadcast
news, a reporter writes in the local newspaper, "[J]urors will be asked to
answer two questions: Is [the defendant] a continuing threat to society? And
are there any mitigating circumstances that warrant sparing his life?"
The headline over the article read "Guilty of Murder." That was contested by
neither the defense nor the news. We knew that, thank you. Guilt has never
been the question in this trial. The case has been built around the final
outcome and ultimate sentencing of one who admitted to committing murder.
Mitigating circumstances? I've read carefully the articles covering the
and the unwarranted deaths of two beautiful young adults. The defense has
worked deliberately to set the stage to suggest that there are indeed
mitigating circumstances that would eliminate the death penalty as an
Their success will mean life in prison with no parole. The prosecution, on
other hand, delivered to the jury an equally compelling argument that no
circumstances would warrant anything other than capital punishment.
And now twelve people will weigh that question of "mitigating circumstances"
within the boundaries of Texas law and, in a short time, render a decision.
But what if capital punishment was not an option? What if the death penalty
was not on the table?
In such a case, where guilt was confessed and "easily" proven, there would
have been fewer days in the court and a concise judgment rendered, followed
an equally decisive punishment. I can only assume that what this trial is
really about is the death penalty.
I can't help myself; it is the "Christian" in me, so maybe you will forgive
my opinion, but I do not believe that capital punishment belongs in our
I believe we are all measured not by mitigating circumstances but by grace.
Could you imagine, as each of us faced the jurors of eternity, if we had to
come up with our list of mitigating circumstances? "You see, God, that
dump-truck full of sin that I committed on those given days were actions and
decisions that were influenced by mitigating circumstances. I'm sure you
When standing before the judgment throne, will any circumstance ever exist
that warrants my ultimate forgiveness, or will I be saved by grace alone?
if I conclude that I am saved by grace alone, then how can I knowingly
participate in any action that would deny another, no matter how guilty or
vile, that same measure of grace?
Victims are compelling, especially those left behind in grief. We are right
scream for justice on their behalf. I would want the rafters to explode with
the demands of justice if it were my children. There is no more precious
in my life. But even my love for them cannot overshadow God's love for me or
God's love for the one who commits the crime. And as much as I wish I could
persuade God to deny his love to people that kill other people, I cannot. My
pain and suffering can never outweigh God's desires or neutralize God's
ultimate will portrayed through the atonement. The cross is still the cross.
The arguments of "crime determent" and "continuing threat to society" are
masked justifications for a human response to justice, not a divine one.
Assuaged by opinion polls and election viability, our state legislators and
governor defend capital punishment as a just and moral response.
Thankfully for all humanity, God is not so easily persuaded.
And as we continue to slosh our way through a proverbial "dark age" of
understanding and humanity in Texas with regards to our passion for the
penalty, all the mitigating circumstances of our lives will never be able to
convince this God of grace otherwise.
- - - - -
Merle M. Idom, Jr. (Matt to most folks) has served as an ordained United
Methodist pastor since 1980. He currently serves as the senior pastor at
First United Methodist Church of Bryan, Texas. His sermons are available
week at www.fumcbryan.org.
/ / / / /
shall at standdown.org
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Comments, questions, suggestions, contact: shall at standdown.org
Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty
2709 S. Lamar Blvd.
Austin, TX 78704
(512) 441-1808 (work)
(512) 751-7009 (cell)
khoule at tcadp.org
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