Killing Kelly on Moral Monday

What will killing Kelly Gissendaner on Moral Monday mean for America?

It will mean that a southern state, this time Georgia, plans to execute by lethal injection a woman who didn’t even kill anybody.

For conspiring to kill her husband, Kelly got the death sentence while the actual killer (a man by the name of Gregory Owens) got a life sentence simply because he had better lawyers.

Is it a Moral Monday when the citizens of Georgia kill Kelly?

Is it a Moral Monday when we value the lives of women less then men (unequal representation in court)?

Is it a Moral Monday when we see the increasing numbers of women executed in this country as a sign of equality?

Is it a Moral Monday when we put the needle for lethal injection into the arm of a woman who gave her life to following Jesus while on death row, serving as a spiritual role model and mentor to other women?

Is it a Moral Monday when a snow storm will stop an execution, but not cries of injustice? (Kelly’s original date for execution was rescheduled for Monday pending better weather).

What can we learn from this? Don’t try to execute people in the winter?

What I learned from watching the execution of my own family member in the spring of 2002 is this: Execution is murder and, like Kelly, we are all conspirators to this crime.

The criminal justice system is designed as a systematic way to kill our own citizens: mothers, sisters and daughters. Fathers, brothers, sons and cousins are all executed because that’s the best our system has to offer.

If killing Kelly on Moral Monday is the best we can do, then that says volumes about the state of affairs of the moral foundation of the criminal justice system.

On Moral Monday the sounds of the lethal injection on Georgia’s death row may be silent (compared to a firing range or guillotine, electric chair or gas chamber), but there will be weeping and wailing by those Kelly leaves behind, family and friends left to grieve the horrible killing of Kelly, the day it did not snow in Georgia.

Published by Sarah Griffith Lund

Leader, preacher and author of *Blessed are the Crazy: Breaking the Silence About Mental Illness, Church and Family*

8 thoughts on “Killing Kelly on Moral Monday

  1. Capital punishment is not about the one who killed someone. As much as we would like to believe that. Capital punishment is not about solidarity with the loved ones of the one killed. As much a we would like to believe that. Capital punishment, rather, is about us. Our society. Our community. Our state. Our country. And capital punishment is ONLY about us! Why? Because we are the ones doing it. It is our behavior. It is about our “justifications”. Which we don’t really want to look at. It is much easier to hide behind killers and victims, standing against the former and for the latter. Capital punishment is our choice as a society. Nothing compels us to engage in this except of ego need for vengeance. A short-term and short-sighted catharsis in response to harm. But the hurt remains. It does not and will not go away. There is no closure with capital punishment. Only a deeper hole in the soul. Where even the desire for healing or forgiveness is itself executed. Capital punishment is state sponsored murder, where we, the people of the state, have bloodied our own hands. But just as capital punishment is a choice, we have an alternative choice. We can choose to abolish death as punishment. And we can stop imitating the violence we abhor. We can cease disguising vengeance as justice. We can begin to heal. And to forgive. We can live with scar better than with an open infected wound.

  2. It is unfair to ask “Is it a Moral Monday when the citizens of Georgia kill Kelly?” That implies all citizens of Georgia. Only a very few made this decision. And unfortunately it also depends on how much can you spend on an attorney. That’s the case all over the US. If polled I believe the majority of the Citizens of Georgia would agree with you. So please don’t generalize comments to all of us.

    1. Chuck, the tragic reality is that our taxes financially support the system that conducts the execution. So if you are paying taxes in the state of Georgia, then you are participating in a system that will kill Kelly.

  3. Killing her want bring him back and how do u know she was the one that plan it he bf might just said that so he get off easy he get to sit in jail and she get kill that not fair its not right marder is marder god should be the one to decide who die and who live u got people out here going to jaile for killin their husband their friends their baby y is this any different its still marder

  4. Sarah — I had to send a test because my recent message would not go through. I hope I am successful with this retyped message.

    First, excellent book.. thank you for writing it.

    Second, I came upon a verse tonight I wanted to share it..

    If people crush underfoot all the prisoners of the land, if they deprive others of their rights in defiance of the Most High,, if they twist justice in the courts – doesn’t the Lord see all these things? -Lamentations 3:34-36

    Third, seems humorous in light of your baptism experience

    I have made your forehead as hard as the hardest rock! — Ezekiel 3:9

    — one last thought..we can sin in what we do but we can sin also in what we fail to do — sometimes taking up defense of the downtrodden is an avoided task . an example of a non action sin..righteousness takes strength

    Melissa Boer Irving

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