Time To End The Death Penalty

There aren’t too many Australians who don’t have an opinion about the death of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran last night. There aren’t too many opinions on the other non-Australians executed at the same time.

The thing that Australians need to take hold of is this- if it is wrong for Indonesia to execute Australians, it is wrong for any government to kill any people as part of the judicial system.

In the ten years since they were convicted of attempting to smuggle 8.3 kg of heroin out of Indonesia to Australia and sentenced to death, they have shown an amazing turn around in their lives. Both became Christians and devoted themselves to helping other prisoners.

It was a classic case of the best outcome for the penal system to change people for the better.

But judicial systems are not there to make people better, they are there to punish people for crimes.

There are many reports this afternoon that the condemned men spent their last hours worshipping God. As they were standing in front of the firing squad, all 8 men sang “Amazing Grace.” A pastor who was with them to offer spiritual support said she had never witnessed a group of people so willing to go to be with the Lord.

How many lives have been changed by the testimony of these people? How many are yet to be brought into a relationship with God through them?

Having said that, the fact remains that the death penalty is always wrong. In this case, the authorities proceeded even though there were appeals still in process. But the President needed to show the voters he is tough on crime. In the U.S. it is a fact that the death penalty falls disproportionately on poor black people.

I hope that the “Stand For Mercy” campaign gains momentum and expands to cover all the countries in Asia, plus the United States.

I suspect it won’t because Aussies tend to be very parochial in their passions.


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