The Least, First

Monte Asbury's blog

Non-murderer to be executed for murder in Texas

with one comment

Ending with a thought from the prophet Isaiah…

But first, my own story: I grew up respecting law and believing only unusually bad people got in serious trouble. It was easy, then, to support measures that were “tough on crime;” I assumed they’d nail people who earned it.

Then someone I know pulled some stupid teenage pranks. And narrowly escaped finishing childhood in prison.

A prosecutor’s surprising wrath, a court-appointed defender’s incompetence (or disinterest), and out-dated, politically-inspired laws took advantage of naive trust in the system, very nearly resulting in lifelong consequences for a teenager’s joke. A tipoff from a wise friend may have saved the day.

It changed my view of the judicial system forever. I’ll never fully trust a policeman again. And I’ll certainly not view the system—and anti-crime legislation—as that which gives people what they’ve got coming. Justice, in the case I witnessed, demanded protecting the kid from the system as much as it meant punishing the crime. We had to force the system to be just.

Now consider the story of Kenneth Foster (pictured at right):

clipped from
Texas Court Denies Kenneth Foster Appeal
The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals has denied the final appeal of death row prisoner Kenneth Foster who is scheduled to be executed on August 30
Foster is scheduled to be executed under a controversial Texan law known as the law of parties. The law imposes the death penalty on anybody involved in a crime where a murder occurred. In Foster’s case he was driving a car 11 years ago with three passengers. One of the passengers left the car, got into an altercation and shot a man dead. At the time of the shooting, Kenneth Foster was 80 feet away in his car. Since Foster’s original trial, the other passengers have testified that Foster had no idea a shooting was going to take place.
According to supporters of Foster, Texas is the only state where you can be factually innocent of murder and still be sent to death row.


This week’s Bible reading in Isaiah 1 tells of God being sick of religion and wanting religious people to get serious about the quality of their own behavior. But in contrast to the way I have often seen repentance, Isaiah insists it means not only quitting bad behavior, but actively working for good. And he tells what good looks like:

Work for justice.
Help the down-and-out.
Stand up for the homeless.
Go to bat for the defenseless. *

See a connection there?

I decided to go to a petition site in support of Kenneth Foster. It is no grand gesture; it may not help. But it looks like God asks more from me than sympathy. So it’s a start.

If you’re of a similar mind, you may read it and join me, here.

*from Isaiah 1, The Message (MSG) Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson
Related post: Readings for August 12 – Where your treasure is is where you’re heart will be
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Written by Monte

August 11, 2007 at 10:51 am

One Response

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  1. I am against capital punishment. As always, an excellent job on the post Monte. I signed but was blocked by “”. I sent them a complaint. I signed several other petitions in reference to this case. Hopefully this innocent mans life will be spared…

    The scientifically impossible I do right away
    The spiritually miraculous takes a bit longer


    August 11, 2007 at 2:26 pm

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