I'm posting a few days early this week because tonight Austin's First Baptist Church is putting Jesus on Trial under Texas death penalty laws. The program, developed around Mark Osler's book “Jesus on Death Row: The Trial of Jesus and American Capital Punishment” is designed to challenge Christians to think about the death penalty. Osler proposed the trial after the church's pastor Roger Paynter delivered a sermon on Sandy Hook that proposed gun control and better awareness of mental health.
Surprisingly for many Texans, Painter is still pastor of the church. But we should remember it is the First Baptist Church of Austin, which isn't really Texas but a mecca for liberalism and sin in a state where our bibles are almost as big as our belt buckles.
The trial will be free to attendees, and I'm all for it. I've always thought it odd that Texas and our esteemed Governor Perry rushed to kill health care to women to stop abortions but can't wait to shuffle us off to lethal injection once we emerge from the womb. We have dispatched more former fetuses than any other state.
On the other hand, I'm not sure what the trial will add to our thinking about capital punishment, especially in Texas, where our hat brims are bigger than our brains. I'm pretty sure we're for it, because Jesus was for it. You can ask any Texan, at least outside of Austin, and we can give you three reasons why we love our death penalty:
- Without the death penalty we couldn't preserve our second amendment rights. Don't ask me to explain this. If you lived here you would understand.
- Without the death penalty, we couldn't be saved. You don't have to be from Texas to understand this, you just need to read your Bible. If the Romans didn't have the death penalty, Jesus would have died of old age in prison and God would make us pay for our sins.
- If it was good enough for Jesus, it's good enough for the lowlifes who deserve it.
That being said, if you have a chance to attend, I encourage you to do so, and not just because it will probably be more entertaining than hoops or listening to MacWhiney complain about her life on Gray's Anatomy. Jesus encouraged believers to open their minds. It's not his fault that so many of us aren't listening.