This past Wednesday, EJUSA co-sponsored a discussion on the death penalty at Northland Church in Longwood, Florida. We were thrilled to be able to help bring this conversation to Northland – one of the largest Evangelical churches in the nation. Pastor Joel Hunter moderated, and EJUSA Organizer Christine Henderson made the trip from Jacksonville, FL, to share our vision of a criminal justice system that heals and restores lives. The panel consisted of two people who have come face to face with the death penalty in their personal lives and two people who discussed the theological implications of the death penalty.
You can watch the entire discussion here:
The audience was captivated by Herman Lindsey who spoke of his time on Florida’s death row. Herman was eventually exonerated and the Supreme Court of Florida acknowledged that he should never have been convicted in the first place.
Darlene Farah shared her heartbreaking story of the loss of her daughter. She continues to fight against the death penalty for the man who killed Shelby, and she so eloquently spoke of the ways that the death penalty harms victim’s family members instead of helping them.
Pastor Hunter shared with the audience that it was quite difficult to find a panelist who would bring the pro death penalty side. John Stemberger agreed to do so. He is a local attorney who made the case that the death penalty is justified biblically. Even still, he acknowledged that our capital punishment system is incredibly broken, and that we need to work to fix it.
Lastly, Shane Claiborne passionately spoke about his faith that compels him to work to end the death penalty. He shared about his recently released book entitled Executing Grace – How the Death Penalty Killed Jesus and Why It’s Killing Us. He shared many stories including that of Billy Neal Moore who was sentenced to death in Georgia. Through an intense turn of events, the victim’s family members advocated for Billy to be released after his death sentence was overturned, and he is now a Pastor in Georgia. Shane’s theme: No one is beyond redemption.
The event reached some 2,000 people including those in person and online. EJUSA looks forward to more opportunities to engage in the dialogue about the death penalty. We know that hearts and minds are changed at events like this one, and we remain hopeful that the end of the death penalty in America is near.