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A Review of the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996
by Jerry Hogue #660

The Lamp of Hope Goes Internet
by Les Bower #764

What Price We Pay
by David Goff #999015

Unpardonable
by Windell Broussard #999064

Texas Prisoners Labor Union

Problems in TDCJ-ID

Capital Punishment and Thus Saith the Lord
by Rev. Joe E. Blackmon, father of Don Blackman

Texas Death Row Inmates Speaking Out on the Internet

You Now Have a Place to File Your Complaints and Problems Against Any Part or Operation With and In TDCJ-ID

Special Thanks Are Due!

We Couldn't Have Done It Without You

Murder Victims' Families Are Not Served by Another Death
by Pat Bane

Gone Too Soon
by James E. Session

Books That Need to be Checked Out

Death Row Activities and Events

ATTENTION! National Coalition Against the Death Penalty Thank You! Thank You!

Cartoons

TEXAS DEATH ROW JOURNAL
published by The Lamp of Hope Project

Editor: Billy G. Hughes, Jr. CPL #556
Asst. Editor: Billy Nelson #999017

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"Where is the compassion and forgiveness in the people who call themselves Christians. "Christian" means Christ-like, or one who follows Christ. Would Christ push the button that takes a man's life?"
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Capital Punishment and Thus Saith the Lord
Joe E. Blackmon, father of Don Blackmon

There is much said and written concerning the "DEATH PENALTY" in our land. Perhaps what I have to say has already been said by those better qualified, but I feel compelled to say what I believe on the subject.

There are many who say the death penalty laws should be made even stronger, that it would deter crime. But every day we hear of even more "capital" crimes being committed.

Others say that the death penalty DOES NOT deter these crimes, and it seems to me that this is true. Most of these crimes seem to be on the spur of the moment, and are not planned.

While many of the people who commit such crimes are indeed a threat to society and should be locked up with no chance for parole, I believe there are many who, if given the opportunity, would become good dependable citizens.

However, these are not the reasons I oppose the death penalty. So many who profess to be Christians seem to be as bloodthirsty as the rest of them, and they try to base their reasoning on God's Word.

I am persuaded that a better understanding of God's Word would cause these people to oppose the death penalty as I do.

Many advocates of the death penalty turn to ROMANS chapter 13 and read where the Apostle Paul was telling Christians in the Roman Empire to subject to the higher powers, since these powers are ordained of God, and whosoever resists the power resists the ordinance of God.

They will point to ROMANS 13:4, which says

the (the power) is the minister of God to thee for good". It goes on to say if you do evil, "be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.
I don't see how people can read the death penalty into this verse. The sword was the Roman Officer's weapon to fight in wars as well as to keep the peace, just as our Police Officers wear a firearm to enforce the law and keep the peace.

But I cannot find where it was ever MANDATORY that they use deadly force except where it was absolutely necessary. Some Christians today believe they can be officers of the law and even executioners in carrying out the death penalty.

This I do not believe. The Apostle Paul through inspiration told the Roman Christian; ROMANS 12:17-21, not to avenge themselves, but rather give place unto wrath. He then pointed out that the Lord said; "Vengeance is mine, I will repay".

If you want to find the death penalty being practiced in the New Testament, you must go to Matthew 27:44, Mark 15:27, John 19:18, Luke 23:32-41, and Acts 7:57-60. In Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, the record tells of our Lord and two thieves being crucified. In the book of Acts is the record of the Jews when they stoned Stephen.

Can anyone say that God approved of these killings? Then many who advocate the death penalty go back to the Old Testament and try to justify their belief with the fact that God commanded the death penalty be carried out in certain situations. Let us examine some of these commands. Genesis 4:8-16, we find the first murder.

A story so familiar to all of us, where Cain killed his brother Abel. His penalty? He was banished from the land. Then read some of the capital crimes in the book of Exodus 21:12-29.

These crimes consisted of: killing men (verse 12 & 15), kidnaping (verse 16), cursing father or mother (verse 17). Then in Exodus 21:28, 29; if man had an ox that he knew was prone to gore with his horn, and the ox killed a man or woman due to the owner's negligence to keep the animal in, the ox was to be stoned, and his owner also was to be put to death.

Exodus 22:19, the act of bestiality was another aberration that had the death penalty assigned. "Whosoever lieth with a beast shall surely be put to death:. Exodus 35:2, a law concerning the Sabbath day; "whosoever doeth any work therein shall be put to death". Deuteronomy 13:5, the false prophet shall be put to death. Deuteronomy 21:18-21, a stubborn and rebellious son to be put to death. Numbers 15:32-36 gives the record of a man who picked up sticks on the Sabbath day, and was put to death. Leviticus chapter 10, the man who commits adultery with another man's wife, both of them shall be put to death (verse 10), the man who lieth with his father's wife, both of them shall surely be put to death (verse 11); if a man lie with his daughter-in-law, both of them shall surely be put death (verse 12), if a man lieth with mankind as he lieth with a woman, both of them shall surely be put to death (verse 13); God did NOT call them "gay", He said put them to death.

Now, back to the New Testament to see what our Lord did. In John 8:3-11 we find the record of a woman taken in the act of adultery. The Jews brought her to Jesus tempting him, because Moses said she should be stoned.

They expected Jesus to contradict Moses, but notice what he did. The record says Jesus stooped and wrote on the ground, seeming to ignore them. When they persisted he said; "he that is without sin among you, let him cast the first stone".

Again Jesus stooped and wrote on the ground. The Jews being convicted by their own conscience left. Jesus lifted Himself up and saw none but the woman. He said to her, "Woman, where are those thine accusers? Hath no man condemned thee"? She said, no man Lord. And Jesus said unto her, "Neither do I condemn thee: go and sin no more". Jesus showed compassion and forgiveness.

Where is the compassion and forgiveness in the people who call themselves Christians. "Christian" means Christ-like, or one who follows Christ. Would Christ push the button that takes a man's life?

Again, if a man cannot be trusted to live in society, that man can be locked up and given no chance for parole. I have been informed that it would cost less money to do this, than it does to put him to death.

And if people want to insist on doing this killing because God commanded it in the Old Testament, then they should think of all the adulterers, the unruly children, the so-called gay movement, and so many other things that so many people "wink" at now, that God said punish y death. Even Uzzah who put forth his hand to steady the Ark of God, was killed on the spot; II Samuel 6:6,7 because God had said in the book of Numbers 4:15; "-but they shall not touch any holy thing, lest they die". Back to Romans 13:1, where the Apostle Paul said; "-the powers that be are ordained of God".

Why is this true? It is because men refused to be ruled by God. In I Samuel 8:7, when the people wanted a king to rule over them, God told Samuel to "Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them".

So God allowed them to have a king, Romans 13:4 "-he beareth not the sword in vain". But take note of this. God did NOT mandate how the "powers that be" which were ordained by him were to carry out the punishment of evil doers.

Men in high places who seem to hold the power of life and death over men today, should consider what our Lord said in Matthew 7:2; "For with what judgement ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again".

It is my prayer that more people will awake to the fact that this so-called legal killing only succeeds in making an already bad situation worse.

It only adds to the tragedy and solves nothing. Two wrongs have never made a right.


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