A Modest Proposal for the New Year:<br> Ban Christmas Executions
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I Was In Prison
Online Prison Ministry Newsletter
Dale S. Recinella, Catholic Correctional Chaplain Florida's Death Row & Solitary Confinement
Susan M. Recinella,Catholic Lay Minister to Families of the Executed and for seventeen years a Clinical Psychologist for mentally ill adults.

A Modest Proposal for the New Year:
Ban Christmas Executions

By: Dale S. Recinella
Catholic Correctional Chaplain for Florida’s Death Row

Sr. Helen Prejean frequently mentions that our criminal justice system’s inability to do any more than offer the families of murder victims a future killing of another human being is–at best–morally bankrupt.

The moral depravity of politically motivated state killings comes jarringly into relief when we hear the true stories of mistreatment against murder victims’ families who refuse to support executions. Yet, in some cases, the states’ politicians double-down on moral bankruptcy by ordering the executions over the Christmas Season between Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.

Make no mistake, this problem of inhumanity and moral bankruptcy is not with the prison staff, officers and administrators. They have nothing more to do with the signing of a death warrant than you or I do. In fact, I have witnessed the tremendous compassion and humanity shown by them for the families of the condemned, especially during the Christmas Season. I have witnessed their efforts to do everything they are allowed to do to ensure that this horrible experience is not more traumatic than it has to be for the families of the condemned.

It is too easy to make scapegoats of the people whose boots are on the ground. They have no control over the budgets for prison food, over the budgets for the physical prison conditions or over the rapacious appetite of political ambitions riding the waves of vengeance and retribution. This is not about them.

This is about our elected politicians who pander vengeance for votes. This is about our elected Christian politicians who skate on the thin ice of blasphemy by mouthing Christmas platitudes about the Prince of Peace and then smear His remembrance by scheduling state killings over the Christmas Season.

Several years ago, after too many late-November and early-December days in the death-house on death-watch, I tried to find out why we schedule Christmas executions. No one in the halls of power would talk to me about it. Finally, one low level functionary in another state explained that some people think of December executions as a Christmas present for the family of the murder victims.

I immediately brought up the horror for the family of the condemned, a family who has done nothing wrong themselves, and whose future Christmases for years will be destroyed by the co-mingled memories of tinsel, carols, and Christmas lights with the trauma of the death-house. The answer: Although that fact is very sad, the family of the murder victim has already had their Christmases ruined.

Really? Are we really extending our misuse of “eye for eye and life for life” to apply to the family of the condemned by destroying Christmas for Christmas? Where is the alleged support for this in the Bible?

How can any Bible-believing Christian abide this?

And where are the voices of our Christian pastors on this issue?

We are all quite loud in our proclamations that “Jesus is the Reason for the Season.” And rightfully so.

But where are the equally vociferous objections to the state killings that desecrate the Season that Jesus is the Reason for?

I have a modest proposal for the New Year.

Ban Christmas executions.

Ban all executions between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day.

That still leaves plenty of days in the rest of year for Christian politicians to pander vengeance for votes.


©2012 Dale S. Recinella, Tallahassee, Florida U.S.A.
All rights reserved. No reuse or republication without permission.

Upcoming Events:

Now I Walk on Death Row: December 2012

        Catholic Correctional Chaplain for Florida Death Row
        Catholic Lay Minister to Families of the Executed

Sunday December 30th @ 8:00 am – Parish Center
San José RCIA

San José Catholic Church
3619 Toledo Road
Jacksonville, Florida 32217
For information:
           Contact: Deacon Paul Consbruck at the parish office (904) 733-1630

I Was In Prison
News & Updates
This ezine is targeted for people involved in prison ministry or in stopping the death penalty, we think you will find helpful information for people who are undecided about capital punishment, for those who have never experienced the inside of a jail or prison, and for those who feel called to participate through prayer and adoration.

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Dale S. Recinella, Catholic Lay Chaplain, Florida Death Row and Solitary Confinement
Susan M. Recinella, Clinical Psychologist for mentally ill adults, and Catholic Lay Minister to Families of the Executed

If you Like this Monthly Ezine - You will love Dale's Book!
The Poor Clare Sisters
Paperback: 433 pages

Excellent book on the topic!,
June 13, 2005 Nathan Eanes
(Review from Amazon.com)

The Biblical Truth about America's Death Penalty is a must-read. It deals with Biblical standards of Capital Punishment and then compares them to the system used in America today. It is the best-researched, most faithful to scripture, and most evenhanded analysis I have ever read concerning the Death Penalty. Whatever your persuasion on the issue, this book will teach you a great deal. Recinella is a trained lawyer and committed Christian who now volunteers part-time on Florida's death row. He thus understands law, the Bible, and the system of execution in America. I challenge anyone who supports the Death Penalty to read this book.

This ezine edited by The Poor Clare Sisters of Spokane
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