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Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Journey of Hope decries capital punishment

October 13, 1994

    The “Journey of Hope” which came to Athens last Wednesday, Oct. 5, was a program of the “Murder Victims Families for Reconciliation.”
    These are people who have had close members of their families murdered, often brutally.  However, their personal reconciliation to the trauma of this loss did not involve wishing to see the perpetrators of the crimes executed.
    They are people who have faith in human dignity, and this faith will not permit them to seek revenge through the death penalty, because that would make them a party to another murder.
    The “Journey of Hope” is visiting Georgia this year in the hope of helping others see that reconciliation is not found in revenge; rather that reconciliation is quite separate from revenge.
    The “Journey” is visiting Georgia for two weeks from Oct. 1-16.  They will be in Columbus on Thursday, Oct. 13 and in Albany on Friday, Oct. 14.  They will end their Georgia journey in Atlanta on Sunday for an all-day series of talks culminating in a free concert combined with a potluck supper from 3-6 p.m.
    Please call for more information, 742-7803 or 549-7058 if you would like to attend.
    Various members of the Journey visited first at the Athens Christian Church on Sunday, Oct. 2; then on Oct. 5, the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship provided a central place from which various members went to Clarksville, GA.  Others went to the Athens Montessori School, WUGA and WRFC Radio, WJXT TV, a forum at the University Law School.
    Some also went to give talks at Piedmont College, Truett McConnell College, Athens Academy, Hill First Baptist Church, Fourth Street Elementary School, and the Methodist Children’s Home.
    They finished the day with supper and talks at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Athens and Jubilee Partners in Comer.
    The Journey also visited the East Athens Community Center where they planted a tree in memory of murder victims.  We showed the video “Double Justice, Race and the Death Penalty.”
    Most Christians, culturally or religiously, are aware of the parable of the sewer who went forth to sew, but most of the seeds fell in places where they would not germinate; so many of the efforts of the “Journey of Hope” are not likely to bear fruit directly.
    As a member of the Athens coordinating team for the Journey, I was somewhat disappointed with the number of individuals and organizations who failed to respond to our invitations to participate.
    I certainly hope that the seeds of hope and reconciliation planted by the Journey of Hope will be contagious among the people of Georgia.  The good people of this area would do well to realize that the death penalty is not about justice; it is about making money and extending political careers.
    The delusion of justice, through the element of revenge, is merely the means by which the idea of executing offenders thrives.