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This is the teaching site of the West Side church of Christ in Fort Worth, TX. Unless otherwise indicated, all materials were written and prepared by Stan Cox

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In The News: Stay on Executions Over

inthenewsGeorgia executed killer William Earl Lynd last night, ending a more than seven-month nationwide hiatus on capital punishment prompted by the Supreme Court’s examination of lethal injection.

Lynd’s execution at 7:51 p.m. was the first since the court ruled April 16 that the three-drug protocol most commonly used in executions by states and the federal government did not constitute cruel and unusual punishment.

The court last night turned down Lynd’s last-minute request for a stay, as the Georgia Supreme Court had earlier in the day. He was executed at the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison in Jackson.

Robert Barnes
Washington Post, May 7, 2008

Analysis:

William Earl Lynd was sentenced to death by a jury of his peers because of the heinous nature of the crime he committed. He shot his live in girlfriend, Ginger Moore in the face while high on drugs. After Moore crawled from the house to the porch, he shot her again. He loaded her body into the trunk, then when he heard a noise from the trunk, he opened it and shot her again. After driving across state lines, he buried her, then shot and killed another woman. Since he took her across state lines, he was charged with kidnapping, and these extra circumstances were sufficient to get him the death penalty.

It seems absurd that the supreme court ruled on the constitutionality of his sentence (and by extension many others) based on the idea that he might suffer pain when lethally injected. Such suffering could be construed as “cruel and unusual” punishment. Fortunately, the court was not swayed by the arguments, and the sentence was carried out.

Such misplaced “compassion” for the evil doer indicates a false piety. Remember, Paul called the Corinthians “puffed up” in their refusal to punish the sexually immoral man in their midst (cf. 1 Corinthians 5). As the writer of Ecclesiastes wrote, “Because the sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil” (8:11).

Our society should deal with murderers, rapists, and other criminals swiftly and severely. Only then will respect for the rights of the innocent return to our nation. For those who are concerned about their treatment by the government, we respond with the words of Paul, “For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same” (Romans 13:1).

We do not approve of abuses of authority, and we raise our voices in compassion for those who have been accused and convicted falsely. However, when a man is guilty of a heinous crime, he should be dealt with sternly, justly and quickly, for the sake of our society. No society can be compassionate and righteous without punishing the violation of law. To do anything less is to disparage the victim’s plight.