In the last post, I talked about being at a “Prayer Service to Abolish the Death Penalty.” During the service, facilitator Tim Musser read the following: Capital punishment is not what Jesus taught. It is what he suffered. But Pilate washes his hands and says: “I am not responsible.” …The affluent Christian who spends thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours a year on sports, alcohol, fashion, drugs and entertainment says to the billions of people caught in the unrelieved miseries of poverty, hunger, disease and injustice: “I am not responsible.” …I noted during the open forum part of the service that our family used to live in Bluffton, Ohio (pop. 4,000). The town was made up, primarily, of middle and upper-middle class people. We were there for four years. There was never a murder. Conversely, we moved to the inner city of Cleveland (the poorest city in the country) some three years ago. And I can’t remember looking at a Metro Section of the Cleveland Plain Dealer newspaper without reading about three to four murders — for the preceding day. The cycles of poverty here create a cauldron of hunger, despair, anger… murder. And for the “affluent” (by comparison) middle and upper middle class people in small town, and suburban, America who are thinking: ‘I am not responsible.’ Think again. By hoarding your resources in big houses, nice cars, IRA accounts… you allow these cycles of poverty to go on. And in a very real sense, you pronounce a “death sentence” to the child killed in a drive by shooting in East L.A., or the elderly man killed in a robbery on the Southside of Chicago, or the mother of three who is raped and killed on the way to her night shift job on W. 25th in Cleveland… Note: If we want to end the “death penalty,” wouldn’t it make sense, common sense, to work at ending the systemic conditions that lead to a lot of murders in the first place? I doubt if God bought Pilate’s ‘I’m not responsible’ deal. And I doubt if He’s going to buy ours either.