USA (MNN) — The 500th execution since 1976 took place yesterday in Texas.
Kimberly McCarthy, 52, was a 2006 graduate of Crossroad Bible Institute. In 1997, she was convicted of murdering her neighbor, retired professor Dorothy Booth. According to the state of Texas, a confrontation developed when McCarthy broke into Booth’s house with the intent of robbing her to pay for cocaine.
African Americans like McCarthy comprise 12-percent of the Texan population. However, they make up 37-percent of those executed in Texas since the Supreme Court lifted a moratorium on capital punishment in 1976.
In addition, 60-percent of women executed in Texas have been African American. Of the 283 people currently on death row in the state, 39-percent are African American.
“Unless someone is going to have the audacity to say that African Americans are morally inferior or something, it’s obviously an injustice,” says CBI President Dr. David Schuringa.
“Yes, Kimberly, under the influence of drugs, committed some horrific crimes. But if a white person who does those things is not subject to the death penalty, then she shouldn’t be either.”
McCarthy’s execution is particularly sad for the CBI community.
“Her instructor spoke very highly of her and her work, and so it saddens us because we feel like we’re losing a member of the family, you know?” says Schuringa.
How should Christians address the death penalty in light of the Gospel and Christ’s redemptive work on the cross?
“It doesn’t really matter if you’re for or against it; people have strong arguments either way. But if it’s not being administered justly, then we need to declare a moratorium on it and stop the executions,” Schuringa states.
“A lot of time as Christians, we’re concerned only about changing the hearts of sinful people. And that’s very important, but also, there are sinful systems in place that were created by sinful hearts.”
Schuringa suggests three responses for the Body of Christ: pray, learn, and speak.
“If the people of God are in prayer, if they’re getting educated and studying the issues, and where possible, take action, we could see some change,” he says.
Texas leads the United States in capital punishment executions. Since 1976, over 1,300 people have been executed and more than a third were in Texas. The Lonestar state executed more people last year than it sentenced to death.
Pray for justice in the United States’ legal system, and ask God to comfort the family members of death row inmates.