Friday, April 10, 2009

Column in the Paper, Letter in the Mail

Last Sunday's Amarillo Globe-News included an editorial I wrote. I was responding to an article by one of the paper's regular columnists.

His opinion is that Amarillo people act like thoughtless hypocrites when the majority of them claim some sort of Christian conviction, while at the same time favoring the Texas policy of executing those who have committed the worst of crimes.

My response came from this angle: you haven't necessarily lost your "Christian principles" (his expression) if you agree that at least in some cases capital punishment is appropriate.

One thing you find out when you publish something in a print paper or magazine: at least a handful of people track you down, usually to say something like "I agree, and thanks." Because of the trouble they go through, I tend to value their "comments." Most any time I published something in a Church of Christ periodical, within a couple weeks I would get a beautiful note from the late Hugo McCord. That always meant a lot to me.

This week I received a heart-rending letter from someone whose family members were murdered many years ago. This person also regrets that the criminal has received two stays of execution. In prison, said the letter, the convict has outlived most of the family. They have been denied whatever sort of closure or satisfaction that might have come from the execution of the murderer.

As I read those words, I was astonished at how quickly things left the realm of theory and moved much closer to reality. It was time for me to stop thinking like a debater and start acting like some sort of pastor.

I sat and wrote down the best things I could think of and sent them off with a prayer.

Anyway, if you care to read the exchange that appear in the paper, the first article, "Dead is dead, and justice suffers," by Greg Sagan is here. My article, in part a response to the first one, is here.

No, I didn't pick the title and don't like the photo either. Sometimes I wish I had an agent. Note to self: start writing things that people actually pay for.

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