A Fresh Start

My wife Anne and I recently adopted a retired racing Greyhound. Her racing name was Santan Skidrow.  Once her racing career was over after three years, her future consisted of two contrasting options.  If she wasn’t adopted, she would be euthanized. Dog racing is a cruel sport.

The concept of extinguishing a life when it is deemed to be no longer productive seems blatantly inhumane. Then, we consider the continued application of capital punishment. We can not only be coldly inhumane to our animals but also to our human brothers and sisters.  The recent mismanaged execution of convicted murderer, Clayton Lockett, sadly and tragically illustrates this point.

The death penalty has no place in a civilized culture as most countries in Western civilization have demonstrated.  For the Christian community, applying the death penalty challenges the very heart of our faith. We believe in the redemptive power of God’s grace and in the dignity of the human person. We are schooled in restorative justice, where accountability is required, healing is sought, forgiveness is expected and retribution is discouraged. In short, we believe that God has the capacity to change people and that everyone should have the opportunity to accept God’s invitation to new life until his or her last breath is drawn.

The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) approved a resolution at its 2003 General Assembly in Charlotte, North Carolina calling for the abolition of the death penalty.  One of the many reasons is that the death penalty disproportionately affects people of color.  To learn more about the history of the death penalty, check out these online resources:

  • History of the Death Penalty by Michael H. Reggie found at www.pbs.org
  • History of Capital Punishment in the United States by Richard Holloway, J.D. found at www.coloradotech.edu.
  • See also, David von Drehle’s article, “America’s Long and Grisly Search for the Perfect Way to Kill,” found at www.time.org. There are many other online sources on this topic.

Upon welcoming her into our home, we renamed her Bella. Just as those who were given new life throughout scripture, we wanted to give her a fresh start.  Bella was saved from a certain death and we have been blessed by her company ever since. It seems to be how God operates.

Grace and peace,
Dean Bucalos
Rev. Dean Bucalos serves as part-time/contract Mission Specialist for NBA Prison and Jail Ministries. Connect with Dean by phone at (502) 396-3543 or by email at prisonministries@nbacares.org.