Monday, January 16, 2012

"I will not rejoice in the death"

In honor of Martin Luther King Day, David Love, director of Witness to Innocence, has a great column at the Huffington Post about Dr. King's stance on the death penalty. Here's an excerpt that is particularly relevant to MVFHR:

... And the late Coretta Scott King--whose husband and mother-in-law both were assassinated--spoke out against the practice. "An evil deed is not redeemed by an evil deed of retaliation," Dr. King's widow proclaimed. "Justice is never advanced in the taking of a human life. Morality is never upheld by a legalized murder".

Further, the death penalty is an international human rights issue as well. The European Union, which forbids the practice among its member nations, has imposed new restrictions on the importation of anesthetics used to execute people in the U.S.

Sadly, some would dilute Dr. King's human rights message, including his "radical revolution of values," in which he urged America to begin the necessary shift from a "thing-oriented" society to a "person-oriented" society. Meanwhile, the "drum major for justice, peace and righteousness" as the inscription reads on his memorial--stands on the National Mall as a reminder of his dedication to human rights, including opposition to the death penalty.

"I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy," King said. "Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that."

If America truly wants to follow the teachings of Martin Luther King, we should end all executions now.

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