The Death Penalty and Henry Curtis Jackson Jr: Created in the Image of God.

Last night the State of Mississippi executed Henry Curtis Jackson Jr, at Parchman Penitentiary for the horrific murder of his 2 nieces and 2 nephews, he was pronounced dead at 6:13 p.m. central standard time.  My understanding is that he stabbed all four of these children to death, who ranged in ages from 2 to 5.  We have a court system in place were an individual is tried by his or her peers, and Jackson was found guilty and sentenced to die.  We also have in place an appeals system that is automatic when the sentence of death is imposed.  According to the laws of  The State of Mississippi, Henry Curtis Jackson Jr, was afforded every opportunity that anyone else is, that finds his or herself in this position. According to the laws of the land justice was served.

First of all we cannot take away the horrific nature of these crimes.  Four innocent children lost their live to a man who was supposed to love and defend them.  He was their Uncle.  He was trying to break into a safe that contained some money.  Jackson said he had no recollection of the crimes.  This would lead me to believe that his desire rob his mother’s safe and his inability to remember were all due to the fact that Jackson was high on drugs at the time.  

Jackson’s own sister and the other mother of the murdered children asked Governor Phil Bryant who is a United Methodist to commute his death sentence.  In Mississippi, the governor has the power to grant clemency and the person would then serve life in prison.  Jackson’s sister said that the execution of her brother would just further damage her family.  She went on to say that she loved her brother and had forgiven him for what he had done saying  that it was only through forgiveness of her brother that God would forgive her of her sins.  She understands forgiveness and the implications of not forgiving.

Was justice served with the execution of Henry Curtis Jackson, Jr?  Let me ask the following questions:  Will Jackson’s execution bring back the four children whose lives were ended?  Will the execution of Jackson, be a deterrent to crime?  Were the tax payers of Mississippi saved money by the execution of Jackson versus him serving life in prison without the possibility of parole?  The answer is no, to all three of these questions,  

If the state is going to sanction the execution of individuals; what does this say about our nation and government.  America is one of the most violent nations in the world when it comes to crime.  The State of Mississippi in a recent study was cited as one of the most violent sates in the Union.  This should give us cause to pause and think about what we are saying to the world each time that a prisoner is executed.

It is my firm belief that violence; that is answered by violence will always lead to more violence.  The execution of a prisoner in a systematic way with a lethal injection is an attempt to project an image of the death penalty that is acceptable to our sensibilities.  After, all we don’t torture our jail population.  They are treated humanely.  Is it humane to execute a prisoner who has been found guilty and sentenced to death?

If human beings are created in the image of God, that means that even Henry Curtis Jackson, Jr, was created in the image of God.  If you believe that all life is sacred to God, then how can one support state sponsored executions?  

In Genesis chapter 4,  we read of the first murder recorded in Scripture.  Cain was a tiller of the land, a farmer.  His brother Abel was a sheep herder.  Cain brings his first offering to the Lord, and God flat-out rejects the offering of the fruits and vegetables that Cain brings.  Meanwhile, Abel brings the firstborn of the flock with its fat, and God accepts Abel’s offering,  Cain becomes furious, and in a fit of rage kills Abel.  Later on God asks Cain where his brother Abel is to which Cain answers, “I don’t know am I my brother’s guardian?’  God responds that the blood of Abel cries forth from the ground.  What did God do to Cain?  Did God kill him?  No.  He was driven from the presence of the Lord and was forced to live a nomadic life.

Let’s be honest, the God of  The Old Testament is a vengeful, and wrath filled.  It is not until Jesus comes in that we are taught a, “more excellent way” according to the Apostle Paul.  Jesus has come to give life, not take life.  The way of Jesus is a radical way, it’s a way that many of us claim.  However, are we willing to enter into the radical ways of Jesus?  Are we willing to minister to the marginalized, those on the fringe?  Are we willing to speak for the Henry Curtis Jackson, Jr’s of the world?  

Jesus taught love, grace and acceptance.  Even as he hung on the cross, he prayed, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.”   Jesus changed the world’s understanding of God in a radical way.  Ask yourself this question:  Would Jesus be for the execution of Henry Curtis Jackson, Jr?  I think you know the answer.  If not read all four Gospels and I think you will be able to answer the question…

 

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6 thoughts on “The Death Penalty and Henry Curtis Jackson Jr: Created in the Image of God.

  1. The execution of Mr. Jackson will certainly deter one convicted murderer from killing anyone else. I don’t know how much an execution costs or how much it costs to keep someone his age in prison for life, but intuitively one would expect the latter option to be more expensive. Now, if our state prison were run on a break-even system with the inmates earning their keep, then that would definitely be cheaper.

    However, like you, I am against the death penalty.

    • Private comment:
      We have had an attempted kidnap accompanied with a serious pistol whipping involving my wife and a young black man who later told police that he had been stalking her for months and planed to kidnap her to have sex with her, a situation that probably would have ended with her murder. He had attended the school at which she had taught. She identified him from a high school annual. My wife fought fiercely with the young, athletic man while our eight year old at the time ran from house to house in the neighborhood for help. The man apparently did not expect such a fierce fight as was put up by my wife and left. (At one time she took his pistol from him.)He was in jail about seven hours later. His family filled the community with a story that the altercation was not a kidnap/rape attempt, but a lovers’ spat. We went to the preliminary hearing at the Pontotoc County courthouse which was attended by many of his family and friends where we were escorted to our vehicle afterward by a deputy for our protection. He did seven years in Parchman. My wife is miraculousIy alive and I have forgiven him, praise God. I understand your capital punishment argument and agree with most of it.
      I give you this information to demonstrate to you that victims and their families are put through hellish situations and remain scarred and damaged for life. So, it may be a good thing to remember to include a few words of lament for the victims each time you lament the misfortunes of the perpetratators. You can’t imagine the horror of the event that we endured.
      I agree with James, your economics are flawed regarding death sentences and life without parole sentences.

      • Eddie was not aware that this happened. I wondered asI wrote this if my feelings about the death penalty would be the same if I a serious crime was committed against a loved one. I stand by my numbers’ all the figures that I have seen show it cost more to place a person on death row than it does to imprison them for life. In the state of california it cost 90,000.00 dollars to place a person per year on death row.

        psd

  2. The comments here are not logical. You say,

    “Let’s be honest, the God of The Old Testament is a vengeful, and wrath filled. It is not until Jesus comes in that we are taught a, “more excellent way” according to the Apostle Paul.”

    Yet Jesus agreed with everything God did in the Old Testament and affirmed it numerous times. Your reading of God as vengeful and wrath filled contradicts your preceeding argument about God not killing Cain. You simply aren’t making sense.

    You went on to say, “It is my firm belief that violence; that is answered by violence will always lead to more violence.”
    But you offer no reason for why you believe this or why you think it is true. You use the word “always”. The simple case of WWII proves your “always” wrong. Also we have police who routinely use violence to to curb further violence. You simply state a belief and then behave as if it is an established fact. It clearly isn’t.

    Finally, I will answer the questions you posed.
    1. Was justice served with the execution of Henry Curtis Jackson, Jr?
    YES.
    2. Will Jackson’s execution bring back the four children whose lives were ended?
    NO
    3. Will the execution of Jackson, be a deterrent to crime?
    YES
    4. Were the tax payers of Mississippi saved money by the execution of Jackson versus him serving life in prison without the possibility of parole?
    YES
    5. If you believe that all life is sacred to God, then how can one support state sponsored executions?
    i CAN BECAUSE ALL LIFE IS SACRED TO GOD. ESPECIALLY THE LIVES OF LITTLE CHILDREN.
    6. Is it humane to execute a prisoner who has been found guilty and sentenced to death?
    YES, IF WE DO IT HUMANELY WITH A PAINLESS INJECTION.
    7. However, are we willing to enter into the radical ways of Jesus? Are we willing to minister to the marginalized, those on the fringe? Are we willing to speak for the Henry Curtis Jackson, Jr’s of the world?
    THE STATE CONNOT CONDONE ANY RELIGION. HOWEVER, GIVEN THAT WE LIMITED TIME AND RESOURCES IN WHICH TO SPEAK ON BEHALF OF OTHERS, WE PREFER TO SPEAK FOR THE 4 MURDERED BABIES RATHER THAN AN UNREPENTED MURDERER.
    8. Ask yourself this question: Would Jesus be for the execution of Henry Curtis Jackson, Jr? I think you know the answer.
    I DO. JESUS DID NOT STOP HIS OWN EXECUTION BY THE STATE, OR THAT OF JOHN THE BAPTIST, NOR THE TWO ROBBERS EXCUTED ALONGSIDE HIM, EVEN THOUGH HE TOLD US THAT HE COULD HAVE.
    Your intent is honorable, but method is deplorable. It is because of well meaning but confused people like you, that prople like Henry Curtis Jackson feel they can kill at will. The Bible you quote tells us that there will be an ultimate penalty for wrongdoing.

    The death penalty is an expression of that idea.

    Ethan

    • Ethan, I can tell that you are passionate about this issue. If my “arguments which made no sense” to you can cause you to think and write an 8 point post to my argument then I have accomplished something. While, i disagree with most of your points especially that the death penalty is a deter’s crime, and it has actually been shown that it is cheaper to house a prisoner for life than allowing all the legal appeals and execution which is very costly. I thank you for taking time to read my blog and I pray God’s blessings on your life.

  3. You are most polite methodistpreacher, but I wish you would have addressed the logical arguments I made. Anyway, thanks for the free forum and the kind reply.

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