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In the Bible Belt, Christmas Isn’t Coming to Death Row

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When it comes to the death penalty, guilt or innocence shouldn’t really matter to Christians.  

NASHVILLE — Until August, Tennessee had not put a prisoner to death in nearly a decade. Last Thursday, it performed its third execution in four months.
This was not a surprising turn of events. In each case, recourse to the courts had been exhausted. In each case Gov. Bill Haslam, a Republican, declined to intervene, though there were many reasons to justify intervening. Billy Ray Irick suffered from psychotic breaks that raised profound doubts about his ability to distinguish right from wrong. Edmund Zagorksi’s behavior in prison was so exemplary that even the warden pleaded for his life. David Earl Miller also suffered from mental illness and was a survivor of child abuse so horrific that he tried to kill himself when he was 6 years old.
Questions about the humanity of Tennessee’s lethal-injection protocol were so pervasive following the execution of Mr. Irick that both Mr. Zagorski and M…

Duterte claims Jokowi complained to him about US and EU interfering in national policy, including capital punishment

Rodrigo Duterte (left) and Joko "Jokowi" Widodo
Rodrigo Duterte (left) and Joko "Jokowi" Widodo
President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines and President Joko Widodo of Indonesia employ very different political styles. While Duterte is known abroad for his brazenly outspoken, at times vulgar rhetoric, Jokowi is known for being soft-spoken and averse to controversial statements. But one of their similarities is that they have both expressed support for the use of the death penalty, particularly for drug dealers.

And, according to the popular-at-home, controversial-abroad president of the Philippines, both of them share complaints about western countries interfering with their domestic policy, particularly on the use of capital punishment.

“And for example, President Widodo, what is his main complaint when we talked to each other? It’s really America and… the rest of the EU,” Duterte said yesterday as quoted by The Philippine Star.

“They would call you from time to time and insist that we do away with the death penalty in the statutes,” he added.

Duterte did not mention when Jokowi supposedly made these comments to him, but they had a phone conversation in late June and also met when the Philippine leader visited Jakarta in April.

The context of Duterte’s claims about Jokowi were his own complaints about US State Department officials criticizing his regime’s violent war on drugs and his proposed reinstatement of the death penalty (capital punishment is not currently legal in the Philippines, though many critics have argued that the large number of deaths caused by the country’s drug war are tantamount to extra-judicial killings tacitly sanctioned by Duterte).

While President Joko Widodo staunchly defended Indonesia’s use of the death penalty to combat the country’s so-called “drug emergency” in the face of widespread international condemnation in the past, in recent months his stance seems to have softened as he has suggested he would be open to revising the policy and possibly reimplementing a moratorium on its use.

Source: Coconut Jakarta, July 13, 2017

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