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States Should End Death Penalty Like Neb. Because of Discriminatory Use

by Todd A. Smith

 

American Stones Aren’t Cast Evenly

 

“So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, ‘He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first,’” said Jesus in John 8:7.


Whether it is adultery like the woman in John 8, or murder like Cain, condemning someone to death is not our responsibility as people.


Therefore, I commend the state of Nebraska for becoming “the first conservative state in more than 40 years to abolish the death penalty,” according to the New York Times.


Not only do I commend their actions from a biblical perspective but also from the perspective of an African-American man.


According to NPR, men and African-Americans are more likely to be sentenced to the death penalty especially when the victim is White.


That type of double standard should not affect whether someone lives or dies.


According to NPR, “The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund looked at the various racial combinations of defendants and victims in execution cases and found that Black defendants had killed 270 White victims (20.8 percent of all executions) and 152 Black victims (11.36 percent of all executions).  The White defendants who were executed killed 696 White victims and 20 Black victims.”


In a country that reminds African-Americans daily about high Black-on-Black crime rates, why are African-Americans and Whites more likely to receive the death penalty when the victims are White?


Unfortunately, it is because to some Black lives really do not matter and the law is not applied equally to all people.


“You have to look at the race of the victim and that helps explain the death penalty a whole lot better,” said Richard Deiter, head of the Death Penalty Information Center.  “If you kill a White person, you’re more likely to get a death penalty.”

 

According to NPR, African-Americans make up only 13.1 percent of the United States population but 41.7 percent of death row inmates.


Furthermore, men account for 99 percent of all executions since 1976.


There is no way a state can condone the death penalty when the punishment is not given out on an equal basis.


When African-Americans are more likely to get the death penalty than their counterparts of other races, and when the murderer of a White victim gets the death penalty more often than the murderer of a Black victim there is a huge problem in our judicial system.


Those who criticize the Black Lives Matter movement are obviously ignoring the facts about how blatant racism is in our judicial system.


Critics who cite the number of African-Americans incarcerated as evidence that African-Americans are committing the most crimes are ignoring common sense.


Just because more African-Americans received punishment for their crimes does not mean they commit more crimes than other races.


The high number of incarcerated African-Americans might just prove how obvious the double standard is when prosecuting African-Americans versus other races.


Luckily, we serve a God who has the same rules for everyone regardless of their race or religion.


He will judge all of us equally and that is the main reason why we should leave the final judgment to Him.


“If you really follow Jesus’ teachings, thou shall not kill, you know,” said Don Johnson, an evangelical Protestant from Ceresco, Neb.

 

Following Jesus teaches that God gives and takes life, not the street killers nor the state appointed killers, especially when the state appointed killers cast stones at one demographic more than others.


This article was published on Friday 29 May, 2015.
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