No to death penalty

In the face of the ethical downfall that implies the execution of human beings in the name of “justice”, it is precise to affirm our rejection to death penalty under any circumstance and under any excuse. Nobody can have the authority to take away life’s most sacred gift: life. It does not set a good example, it does not mend anything and it is not proportional to any crime without it becoming murder. Not even in the name of those who pretended to speak “in the name of God.” As if divinity needed emissaries: the entire creation would be its most authentic projection.
One of the persons I most admire is Jesus. Because of his life, his word, his gestures, his silences, his achievements and his ignominious death, like all violent deaths. The supposed miracles or the myths as his followers explain them do not say anything to me. The “I was hungry and you gave me food to eat”… “I was in the death corridor and you murdered me” amaze me.
It is not possible to conceive that Christians admit capital punishment. During centuries they have maintained it by leaving it a matter of the secular state, which reflects the most extreme hypocrisy. In Roman Catechism, which the present Pope enacted, it is admitted “in certain circumstances.” Nobody must kill anybody.
It has been abolished in the European Union, but not in the most powerful country, which brags about its Christian tradition. The United States is the democratic country with the largest jailed population: 2 million inmates (principally black people and Hispanics), one quarter of the world’s jailed population.
The number of prisoners in the United States has increased by 50% in ten years. There are 690 prisoners for every 100,000 people, while the average in Europe does not even reach 100 prisoners for every 100,000. A third of the black population is in jail or has a pending trial. The jail system in the United States legalizes racist repression. A black person has a 33% chance of going to jail once in life, against 4% of a white person.
In California, 24 jails have been built since 1984, and only one university. From 1984 to 1994, the budget for jails grew by 209%, compared to a 15% in the budget for education.
Although the black community represents 13% of the population, it constitutes more then 50 % of the jailed population.
To modify reality, we must start to change our attitudes.

José Carlos Gª Fajardo
Translated by Carlos Miguélez

This article was published in the Center of Collaborations for Solidarity (CCS) on 11/22/2004