Troy Davis: Beyond ‘an eye for an eye’?

ERIK S. LESSER AFP/GETTY IMAGES A demonstrator pauses while calling for Georgia state officials to halt the scheduled execution of … Continued



A demonstrator pauses while calling for Georgia state officials to halt the scheduled execution of convicted cop killer Troy Davis at the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison in Jackson, Georgia, on Wednesday, September 21, 2011.

Troy Davis was executed Wednesday night, despite vocal protests by religious leaders and civil rights activists. The execution, scheduled for 7 p.m., was delayed for about four hours as the Supreme Court weighed the case. After the court denied the petition for a stay of execution, Davis was executed by lethal injection at
11:08 p.m.

On Faith gathered a list of religious leaders and bloggers who offered their perspectives on how to think about this life-and-death issue.

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  • garytatum

    Our justice system in this country came under the microscope yesterday as we executed a man that may or may not be guilty, with all the doubt surrounding the case this man should have never been on death row, this case should enrage everyone in this country, Troy Davis could have been you or me or your son, without a fail safe system in place the death penalty should be discontinued, the death penalty is irreversable you cant change your mind once execution has taken place,does resonable doubt have any meaning to the Ga. parole board?do they have blood on there hands? did a innocent man die? there is deffinately doubt, why not look at recent developments in the case,to make sure justice is carried out without question? now were in the awckward position now trying understand exactly why and how a man died and we still are not sure of the truth. If a man can be sentenced to death with such scrunity and doubt and be carried out this should scare the daylights out of everyone in America, I say to you our system is broken!

  • WmarkW

    Troy Davis’ case could serve as an example of how the application of capital punishment might require some changes in our legal system. Lawrence Russell Brewer (one of them men who dragged James Byrd behind a pickup truck in 1998) is the test case of whether it should exist at all.

  • thebump

    If only a tenth of this energy was spared for the tens of millions of innocents savagely slaughtered by the abortion industry.

  • avgjoe23

    The Church (organized religion) has been a willing participant in our nation’s continuing decimation of the least among us. The Church today is an abject failure, on all fronts save one – boosting the bottom line of the “executives” that run them and being “the best social clubs” they can be. Just like the total lack of leadership from Corporate America that is stealing from her employees / consumers/country, the Church has failed to exercise any real leadership or separate itself from the fallen world in which we exist.

    With blinders on, the Church:
    – focuses on homosexuality, but ignores the deplorable state of its members’ marriages who live no differently than non-believers
    – hones in on abortion, but ignores children living in extreme poverty or abusive households, or the execution of innocents (I make no statement about Troy Davis) and the myriad of other social injustices that pervade our country
    – rabidly pursues the weatlhy for membership excusing and implicitly encouraging their unrepentant idolatry of wealth and power, and minimizing the one true God

    I speak in obviously extreme terms primarily to make a point. The Church, just like The Government, does not exist in a vacuum, but instead is an instrument of the members who occupy it.

    If you want to make a change, start wtih yourself .

  • garytatum

    Our justice system in this country is broken, and it was brought under the microscope yesterday to the world,it makes no sense whatsoever that this man had to die with all doubt surrounding this case, whether he was guilty or not ,this is not the way the the death penalty should be implemented, too many mistakes, this should enrage everyone in America, because Troy Davis could be you or me or your son,does resonable doubt mean anything to the Ga. parole board? why?

  • msgbill

    Once again, the state of Georgia, evidence not seen, someone had to go jail when Black children were being killed in Georgia. The urgency, state did not want to lose the “GAMES” and money.
    Was this a coincident or just bad timing, for Mr. Davis? Texas murders a White man for killing a Black man; there was no doubt of guilt. Did Georgia balance the books by murdering a Black man for killing a White man with many doubts concerning guilt?
    This is not the first time that Georgia and Texas have shared the Death Penalty Spotlight– Furman v. Georgia 408 US 238(1972) of course the court make up has a lot to do with these decisions. We as Americans should bring sanity to our judicial system.

  • shirah

    “an eye for an eye” is one of the most misunderstood phrases in the “Old Testament”. It was immediately interpreted to mean monetary compensation for an eye. Yes, there was the death penalty, but the rabbis put so many restrictions on the death penalty that it would have virtually impossible to put anyone to death. For example, one would need three actual witnesses to a murder to convict someone in the first place.

  • williambellah

    Our problem is we think “justice” is some kind of payback. Justice with out mercy is tyranny, according to websters earlier editions. From a Biblical perspective, we all deserve death and it’s only Gods “mercy” that allows any of us to live. When we condemn others we condemn ourselves because there is only one law giver, one judge, and that is God. God takes our condemnation upon himself on the cross. When we condemn others we put ourselves in Gods place, on the cross. We can use fire to fight fire, but we can not use evil to fight evil. We overcome evil with love, patience, kindness and mercy. This is where our “leaders” have been deceived and don’t realize they are perpetuating evil when they wage their wars. This is also where the orthodox Jew and the Christian part company.

  • StanKlein

    There are some crimes that deserve the death penalty. However, I like to say that we should demand proof beyond the shadow of an un-reasonable doubt.

    Around 20 years ago, there was a move to create finality in death sentences. In my view, absolute accuracy should be placed far above finality. Our justice system has proven its ability to convict the innocent. Once someone has been executed, there is no going back and correcting mistakes, that sometimes show up years later.

    If proof isn’t absolute, then lock the convict up and throw away the key.

  • YondCassius

    The human mind is a great trickster.

    In spite of obvious limits on human knowledge, character and action, it nevertheless deludes us into thinking that the unrealistically ideal standards it creates in our minds can be attained.

    And it is then “shocked, shocked” to discover that gambling is taking place in the backroom of Rick’s Cafe and has us spew out its moralistic accusations, seemingly for their own sake.

    And thus we refuse to celebrate the fact that ‘the glass’ is at least partly filled, and spin our wheels .in vain illusion.

  • nyrunner101

    The death penalty is wrong. There aren’t two sides to this issue. Those who are in favor of the death penalty are wrong. Again, no need to argue. They are wrong. Religious leaders should be out front in calling for its abolishment , yet few are. Why is that? As a great philospher once wrote “A Society only begins to become civilized when it outlaws the death peanlty”. We are an uncivilized society, EXCEPTIONAL only in our barbarism.