Georgia executes man diagnosed with intellectual disabilities

Warren Hill was executed by the state of Georgia on January 27, 2015, despite a diagnosis of intellectual disabilities and the protests of Episcopal Bishops, for the murder of a fellow inmate.

Georgia is the only state which requires that evidence of intellectual disability be proved beyond a reasonable doubt; Hill’s diagnosis would likely have been upheld in every other state, according to media reports and an editorial in the New York Times.

The Rt. Rev. Robert C. Wright wrote a letter asking the State Board of Pardons to reconsider, citing Christian values and a strong record of advocacy against executions by the Episcopal Church.

His colleague, the Rt. Rev. Scott Anson Benhase, reflected on the execution last week, claiming complicity, while rejecting the execution and criticizing the barbarism of the death penalty.

My brother and colleague in the Diocese of Atlanta, Bishop Rob Wright, wrote before Warren Lee Hill was murdered that it wouldn’t “be done in his (Bishop Wright’s) name.” That’s how he sees it. While I stand with him in opposition to this barbarity, I differ a bit with my brother and colleague. There’s no truthful way around this. This murder was done in Bishop Wright’s name, in my name,and in your name. Every citizen of this State, whether we want to own it or not, is complicit in the murder of Warren Lee Hill. No, we did not strap him to the executioner’s table, nor did we inject him with poisonous drugs, but we cannot deny our complicity.

Bishop Wright also opposed the recent execution of another Georgian, Andrew Brannan, the Vietnam veteran who struggled with medical care for mental illness since his return from that war. Brannan was convicted of murdering Deputy Kyle Dinkheler in a 1998 confrontation. Writing for the Telegraph of Georgia, Catherine Meeks shares her experience protesting the execution of Brannan as it happened.

In Oklahoma, opponents of the death penalty have had limited success in preventing three scheduled executions. The Supreme Court has granted stays of execution in order to hear challenges to the use of a combination of drugs which led to the botched execution, in 2014, of Clayton Lockett.

The Barna Group found that support for the death penalty was lower among self-identified Christians than the rest of America, compared to 2012 results by Gallup. Gallup found that 63% of Americans support the death penalty, whereas Barna Group showed 40% of Christians supported the death penalty.

What impact do you think the Episcopal Church can have on this issue? Are there other ways that you’ve seen faith leaders address executions?

 

Posted by David Streever

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22 Comments
  1. JC Fisher

    How awful—prayers!

    • Nick Porter

      My prayers are for his victims. What he did was much worse.

      • JC Fisher

        Barbarity is not measured merely in what was done, but in the *competence* of the one doing it. The State of Georgia was competant. Hill, by standards “upheld in every other state”, was not.

        Suffering is not a competive sport, and compassion is not limited by scarcity: I can grieve for both Hill and the ones he harmed—and Georgia, and all of us. Kyrie eleison.

      • David Streever

        JC, very well said; that’s the model of Christianity I subscribe to as well.

      • Bro David

        “upheld in every other state”

        You might wish to double check Texas and a few other southern suspects.

      • Geoff McLarney

        Nick Porter, I hope you are not in orders then!

      • Nick Porter

        Geoff, would you say the same about “pro-choice” clergy? Because if you wouldn’t, it’s pretty hypocritical.

      • Nick Porter

        My grief is for his victims and his victims alone. You all can grieve for whoever you want.

      • Bro David

        Jesus taught that where?

      • Nick Porter

        Bro David, that’s not a road you want to go down, trust me. Best leave it.

      • Bro David

        Actually it is. Where do you find this concept in Christ’s teachings?

      • Nick Porter

        There are plenty of concepts in our beloved TEC right now that definitely aren’t “Christ’s teachings”. I say again, you don’t want to go down this road.

      • Bro David

        Yes, I knew that would be your evasive maneuver, dodge the question by changing the subject.

        Christ never taught such a thing. He taught the opposite.

      • Nick Porter

        That’s your opinion,Bro David. It doesn’t change my beliefs or outlook. “Evasive” would be accusing me of being someone else. “Evasive” would be making the topic about the individual instead of the idea. “Evasive” would be tossing out the word “troll” when someone says something you don’t agree with. That is what being evasive is. I don’t feel sympathy for unrepentant evil human beings. I never have,I never will, and there is nothing in scripture that demands sympathy for evil. I do not feel sympathy for those who do Satan’s work.

      • Bro David

        So it doesn’t matter that this person has been professionally diagnosed with the mental capacity of a child. The teachings of Jesus allow you to confine him to the evil one? Suffer the little children to come unto me and forbid them not.

      • Nick Porter

        Perhaps you didn’t understand me the first time,Bro David:

        ” I don’t feel sympathy for unrepentant evil human beings. I never have,I never will, and there is nothing in scripture that demands sympathy for evil. I do not feel sympathy for those who do Satan’s work.”

        Period.

      • Bro David

        So you’re self-selecting as a goat.

        “When did we see you in prison and visit you? When you did it to the least of these.”

      • Nick Porter

        I didn’t self-select anything,Bro David. That evil human being made his deal with Satan. The state of Georgia just arranged their meeting sooner. You have a good night.

      • Bro David

        Nick Porter addendum;

        “When you have done it to the least of these.”*

        *Except when you personally have determined that those in prison are evil human beings who have made a deal with Satan. Then you get a Get Out of the Goat Pen Free card.

      • Nick Porter

        I say what I mean and I mean what I say,Bro David. But hey, whatever gets you through the day.

  2. Chris Cooper

    I love seeing “Nick Porter” trolling the site. I wonder if there is any relation to previous Episcopal Cafe troll “Nicole Porter”.

    • Nick Porter

      Chris, do you actually have a comment about my views or are you going to throw out baseless accusations? If you can’t attack my argument it’s best you don’t speak.

Comments are closed.