This week….

Of Crime and Punishment

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ELEVENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST

Isaiah 58:9b-14
Psalm 103:1-8
Hebrews 12:18-29
Luke 13:10-17

Prayer of the Day: O God, mighty and immortal, you know that as fragile creatures surrounded by great dangers, we cannot by ourselves stand upright. Give us strength of mind and body, so that even when we suffer because of human sin, we may rise victorious through your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.

“…to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.” Hebrews 12:24.

Lawrence Russell Brewer was convicted of drug possession and burglary in the late 1980s. He was paroled in 1991, but returned to prison three years later after violating his parole conditions. During this second incarceration, he joined a white supremacist prison gang and became indoctrinated with the ideology of white supremacy.  On June 7, 1998, following his release from prison, Brewer, along with Shawn Berry and John King, offered a ride to James Byrd, Jr. an African American man. Instead of taking Byrd home, the three men took Byrd to a remote county road out of town, beat him severely, spray-painted his face, urinated and defecated on him and chained him by his ankles to their pickup truck before dragging him for about three miles. Byrd died as a result of his injuries. Brewer, along with his two accomplices, was arrested, tried and sentenced to death for Byrd’s murder.

There are many disturbing aspects of this case, but the question that strikes me is this: what nation in its right mind would create and finance an institution that takes young men who have committed petty crimes and turns them into hardened, racist murderers? Read more

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