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June 11, 2011

Pastor makes interesting pitch for preserving Racial Justice Act in North Carolina

A local North Carolina paper has this fascinating commentary by Reverand Shawn Blackwelder, the pastor of Riverside United Methodist Church in Elizabeth City, NC, headlined "Be honest about race bias: Keep Racial Justice Act."  Here are excerpts:

From time to time, each of us is called to speak out about issues of justice and honesty, and I feel the N.C. Racial Justice Act is one of those issues.  The state of North Carolina became a model of justice, honesty and courage in 2009 when the Racial Justice Act was passed and signed into law.  It simply provides for a court review to determine whether racial bias influenced a death sentence or a prosecutor’s decision to seek a death sentence.  If race is found to have been a factor, the defendant would not go free, but would be re-sentenced to life without parole....

Like everything to do with the death penalty, the Racial Justice Act has its opponents as well as its supporters in the legislature.  Currently, the opponents are directing the conversation, as the N.C. House of Representatives is scheduled to vote next week on a bill to repeal the Racial Justice Act.  If this bill passes, it would be a huge step in the wrong direction, and I hope that Gov. Perdue will veto the measure.

I need to say a few words about what the Racial Justice Act is not.  It is not an attempt to vilify those in law enforcement or the courts.  I have law enforcement officers in my congregation, and I know that because they are on the front lines, putting themselves out there, they are often much more aware of and sympathetic to the problems of race and injustice.  In short, they know more about it and do more about it than most of us....

Recently I hosted a press conference with local pastors in support of the Racial Justice Act. We held it in the sanctuary in the shadow of the cross, which reminded us of two things: first, Jesus Christ, who was unjustly tried and subjected to the death penalty and second, that we are all sinners in need of grace.  So, it is a legal matter and a matter of justice, but it is also a spiritual matter and a matter of honesty....

The N.C. Racial Justice Act does not seek to point fingers at anyone; rather, it just seeks to make us be honest with ourselves about how our particular sin of bigotry may at times corrupt our attempts at justice in the legal system.  And considering the finality of the punishment, that’s something we need to do.

The N.C. Racial Justice Act offers a practical and honest way to improve our criminal justice system, and reduce the historical and institutional effects of our particular sin of racial bias.  I want to thank the legislative leaders and our governor for their honesty and moral courage in supporting the Racial Justice Act.  I encourage them to continue to do so. It’s simply the right thing to do.  I also want to encourage all people of faith in this area to be in prayer for how we might further seek a kind of justice that honors God and shows a love for our neighbors.

Some related posts on the North Carolina Racial Justice Act:

June 11, 2011 at 10:41 AM | Permalink


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I don't see how "racial justice" is advanced by allowing thin evidence and innuendo to spring capital murderers.

Posted by: federalist | Jun 11, 2011 12:24:40 PM

Pastors have murderers as customers. Murder victims are gone, not good customers. This left wing biased pastor needs to disclose his economic conflict of interest.

If there were racial justice, then the black murder victim would get the same protection as the white one, and the same consequences would be meted out to the murderer of a black person. That means there would be more killings at the scene of the violent crime, when the police arrive in 2 minutes insteadof in 2 hours. And, they come blasting, not flipping their stupid notebooks. Next, when they decide to put down the doughnut and coffee, and to do their jobs and solve a murder or two, the murderer of a black person would be executed before dying of old age.

All racial disparities favor the murderer of a black victim. The excessive number of murder is around 5000 a year, overwhelmingly male. The KKK lynched 5000 people in 100 years. The feminist lawyer and its male running dogs do that job in a single year, year after year. The feminist lawyer is a racist, pretending to be virtuous, a hypocrite, 100 times deadlier to black people than the KKK.

The KKK seized the assets of their wealthy victims after a lynching, and gave them to lawyers and judges that immunized their mass murder. Genocidal maniacs, we can agree. The rent seeking take for the racist feminist lawyer is 1000's of times bigger in the form of forced fees for bogus murder trials, appellate fees, and special treatment in prisons.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Jun 11, 2011 3:03:45 PM

To any advocates of this law:

Doesn't it bother you that most of North Carolina's White inmates are taking advantage of the new law too?

Posted by: MikeinCT | Jun 11, 2011 6:59:27 PM

I suppose one way of ensuring "racial justice" would be to seek the death penalty for each and every defendant who could possibly be charged with capital murder. This would almost certainly lead to more death sentences (for blacks, whites and Lumbee Indians)-- a prospect I don't imagine the law's proponents would particularly relish.

Posted by: alpino | Jun 12, 2011 2:04:12 AM

Good arguments "MikeinCT" & especially "alpino."

The pastor "speaking out on issues of justice and honesty"? In all honesty in the pursuit of justice for all, he should be seeking a swifter and more frequent death penalty:

20Breach for breach, eye for eye, tooth for tooth: as he hath caused a blemish in a man, so shall it be done to him again. 21And he that killeth a beast, he shall restore it: and he that killeth a man, he SHALL BE PUT TO DEATH. 22Ye shall have one manner of law, as well for the stranger, as for one of your own country: for I am the LORD your God. See also Ecc 8:11

Posted by: adamakis | Jun 13, 2011 11:41:54 AM

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