Religious Leaders Tweet in Protest to Troy Davis Execution

Much of America was in an uproar over the Troy Davis execution on Wednesday, September 21. For those unfamiliar with the events concerning his trial and execution, here is a Wikipedia summary.

Along with the barrage of political and civic commentators taking positions, several Christian leaders made their voices heard including Bishop T.D. Jakes who wrote, “Praying for the family and friends of Troy Davis! Such a tragedy!!” and several others whose responses are detailed below.

What was your reaction to the Troy Davis execution? Were you outraged because you believe Troy Davis was innocent or was this a referendum on capital punishment? Did Christian leaders get more involved than they should have on this issue?

Bishop Donald Hilliard wrote in a newsletter to members:

Bishop Donald Hilliard, Cathedral International, Perth Amboy, NJ

We mourn the loss of Troy Davis and pray for his family and all involved. We also pray for the family of the officer who lost his life 19 years ago—may they eventually find solace in the Lord. This indeed is a watershed moment for our nation and yet another example of a gross miscarriage of justice. In the words of Troy Davis, “The struggle for justice doesn’t end with me-this struggle is for all the Troy Davis’ who came before me, and all the ones who will come after me.” It’s sadly too often, too many. The one redeeming outcome of this situation is the rise in the social consciousness and activism of our young adult population. Many forget or are just unaware that the Civil Rights Movement was built on the blood, sweat, tears and prayers of teens and young adults. Dr. Martin Luther King was 26 years old when he led the1955 Montgomery Bus Boycott. Prayerfully, this won’t become “back page” news and the current momentum for change in our justice system will strengthen and not dissipate.
In times like these, in spite of our anger, frustration, sadness or disappointment, we must refer to the Word of God. Romans 8:38-39 says, ” For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Our greatest hope still remains in Christ. So, let us pray and participate in shaping our culture to be more reflective of the character of Christ. However, the world must first see it in us. 

Pastor Jamal-Harrison Bryant of Empowerment Temple A.M.E. Church (Baltimore, MD) tweeted:

Flier for Troy Davis Event at Empowerment Temple (Pastor, Dr. Jamal Harrison-Bryant)

– “This generation has been rebellious without a cause. Well, #Troydavis is now our cause, let\’s rebel!” on September 20 followed promptly by this retweet: RT @MichellePeele: are we 2 rebel because he’s black or because he’s actually innocent?…b/c he’s guilty of being black in a racist system

Bryant’s church also made the Troy Davis discussion the central part of its Sunday service on September 25.

Reverend Al Sharpton’s twitter feed had several references to Troy Davis including:

– “I was just notified that clemency was denied Troy Davis. This is the most blatant example of injustice I have seen in years. This is WRONG” on Tuesday morning. And after going to the prison to participate in a vigil, Sharpton later tweeted, “This is a sad sad day. We must fight through our tears and CHANGE these draconian death penalty laws. I promised Troy.” and wrote an online commentary in which he stated, “I  will be traveling to Washington, D.C. to meet with the Justice Department to push for a federal law that prohibits any state from prosecuting a capital case based solely on eyewitness testimony. Nowhere in America should an individual be executed again without any concrete physical evidence.”

After this message from a twitter follower, “I Would Love 2 Hear@BishopPMorton speak out on this Troy Davis

Bishop Paul S. Morton, Changing a Generation FGBC, Atlanta, GA

situation,” Bishop Paul posted two responses, “ I believe this is the worse sign in injustice that have seen in a long time. We need to pray power has gone to man’s head” and “ 7 out of 9 witnesses said they were made 2 say what they said 3 Jurors said verdict unfair Pray for this kkk spirit in Ga.”

Later Morton was asked if capital punishment was sin to which he responded, “I believe the word that the law is for the lawless. The word says you live by the sword you die by the sword” & “I believe in capital punishment if proven beyond a shadow of a doubt. When you brag like a Bin Laden you reap what you sow”.