Viewpoints: Methodists stand with Gaile Owens

Monday, June 21, 2010 at 11:45pm

Methodists stand with Gaile Owens

The Tennessee Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church last week reaffirmed its stand against the death penalty and stood by Gaile Owens in her effort to be spared from execution on Sept. 28.

“Our social principles teach that the death penalty is an affront to the workings of God’s grace and at its core is a denial of the power of Christ to redeem, restore and transform all human beings,” said Brian Rossbert, a pastor in the Nashville area and author of the resolution the Tennessee Annual Conference affirmed.

Currently, 88 people are on death row in the State of Tennessee. The case of Gaile Owens has attracted particular attention not only because she suffered abuse at the hands of her husband before arranging for his murder, a fact the jury never heard about, but also because of the details relating to a plea bargain she agreed to that would have meant a life sentence. Since entering prison in 1986, Owens has been a model prisoner and has helped transform the lives of many of her fellow inmates. She is a means of grace for those who come into contact with her and cutting her life short would be a detriment to the lives of those both inside and outside of the walls of the prison.

“In no way, shape, or form do we condone the decision that Gaile made that caused the death of her husband,” Rossbert continued. “We pray for God to forgive at the same time we pray that the State of Tennessee not make the same choice to end a human life.”

The Tennessee Annual Conference voted with no objections to the resolution and will send a copy of the resolution to Gov. Phil Bredesen in the coming days calling on him to commute the sentence of Gaile Owens and stand firmly against the death penalty.

223 Comments on this post:

By: bnakat on 6/22/10 at 1:57

This Wesleyan group is apparently chartered to change its teachings/views to agree with changing mores. Hence, we read, "Our social principles teach..." If a religious organization decides to adopt societal opinions for guidance, it has obviously abandoned any semblance of adhering to scriptural objective standards.

Since it was God who instituted capital punishment, how could one logically assert "that the death penalty is an affront to the workings of God's grace"? It is also erroneous to claim that the death penalty "at its core is a denial of the power of Christ to redeem, restore and transform ..." While a murderer is not precluded from redemption, and its attendant life changes, the penalty for the crime as prescribed by law is not thereby excused.

Mr. Rossbert, the Methodist pastor, seemingly equates the premeditated murder of the woman's husband, with the State of Tennessee ending a human life. This is a common position by those who clamor against the pejorative "state killing." This is an egregious mistake. In the subject case, Gaile Owens was found guilty of murder; by execution, the state will be administering justice.

Note: Many are quick to say that the Bible condemns killing; yes, but not all killing. If one murders another person, what is the penalty required? The murderer is to be lawfully put to death. This principle of justice is first given following the Genesis Flood, and continues through The Mosaic Law and The New Testament.

By: bfra on 6/22/10 at 3:29

The Methodist should spend their time helping the poor & hungry, rather than trying to plead the case of a woman, that claims she couldn't get out of an abusive marriage, but had all the time & money needed to hire a killer. This is premeditated murder, in the fullest sense. She should just be thankful that she has been spared this long.

By: dargent7 on 6/22/10 at 4:34

Commute her sentence to "Life in Prison"? Another 25 years at her age. If I were her, I'd want to get it over with already.

By: Loner on 6/22/10 at 5:03

This must be the chatroom site for the new LTE.

I'm against the death penalty, for what that's worth.

Bnakat should convert to Judaism...he's got that Hebrew justice thing motivating his emotions this fine morning. Christ, on the other hand, said that those who were without sin should cast the first stone......that's why the Jews strung him up....they were without sin, of course.

By: house_of_pain on 6/22/10 at 5:12

I don't believe in "sin"...somebody give me a stone...

By: dargent7 on 6/22/10 at 5:13

Loner: I was hoping you'd surface. Check out this weeks issue of Time magazine. ( I know, you only read Rolling Stone and Mother Jones).
In Michigan of all places, there's a 6 week class they offer for $475. that teaches how to grow grass. You then can get a license to dispence it, sell it, or use it yourself.
Michigan? Who'd of thunk?

By: Loner on 6/22/10 at 5:50

Thanks Darge, I read about some Cannabis College in Detroit, a few weeks back. I like the idea.

They claim that NY is a liberal state; however, NY does not have any medical marijuana legislation in the works or taxation-legalization schemes forthcoming. We still have the draconian Rockefeller Drug Laws to deal with...thousands of New Yorkers are doing time for growing, or simply posessing Cannabis.

In the Empire State, the legislative obsession is with increasing taxes to pay for the welfare give-aways, as well as a fixation, if not an obsession on homeland security issues, especially as they apply to Bloomberg's utopian experiments in the Big Apple....a city that Bloomberg proudly dubbed, "the world's largest Jewish city". Of course, such rhetoric puts NYC squarely in the cross-hairs of those opposed to apartheid Zionism in Palestine and/or IDF war crimes.

By: Captain Nemo on 6/22/10 at 5:53

Good morning.

I have a question. If it was known that supporting the Death Penalty was a sin, and punishable by eternal damnation, then would you support even if it was the devil?

By: Captain Nemo on 6/22/10 at 5:55

Without a seatbelt

By: Loner on 6/22/10 at 6:23

General McChrystal's balls are in a Presidential vice this morning...this could be another General MacArthur type of hi-profile firing. Seems the General blabbed too much to Rolling Stone about certain doubts and misgivings.

The Prince of Peace is not pleased....the Afghan war must go on....his donor base insists on it.

I tell you, Mr. Obama is a disappointment to all peace activists - just yesterday the SCOTUS agreed with the Administration's position that "advising" terrorist groups, even if it is advice to renounce violence, is a felony punishable by up to 15 years in a federal penitentiary.

Folks, I may already be guilty of that "crime". I have advised the Palestinians to eschew violence and push for a one-state, or bi-national state solution to the 62-year-old conflict.

I am once again publicly advising Hamas and the other players to lay down their arms and go for the bi-national state solution. Come get me, Mr. Obama.

I may go directly from Brushwood to Gitmo.....Obama is not entertained by wise guys like me.

By: house_of_pain on 6/22/10 at 6:38

Sometimes, you just gotta fight the power, Loner.

By: Loner on 6/22/10 at 6:54

Amen, brother House, as this unjust decision illustrates, the sourcce of the power is not in Washington, DC; it is located in Jerusalem. Joe Lieberman had that made-in-Israel Patriot Act ready to roll on 9-11...the SCOTUS decision addressed one of the more controversial parts of the law.

Elena Kagan, Obama's pick for the SCOTUS, had argued the Obama Administration's case. Conservative Justices Scalia, Alito and Clarence Thomas all agreed with Kagan's analyses and arguments. Kagan is no liberal...except, perhaps for her views regarding gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgendered people....on that thot topic, she is a flaming lib.

By: dargent7 on 6/22/10 at 6:57

McChrystal is more psychotic than McCain. He initially wanted 90,000 more troops.
Obama reluctantly gave him 30,000. Along with Iraq, this middle east invasion/ occupation will be another, no surpass, Vietnam.
Karzai (who I wouldn't trust alone with Loner's sister) is shaking hands with Japan's Premier, giving Japan "mining rights" and "the proper partnership" over the USA. And how many troops does Japan have fighting in Afghanistan? ZERO.

By: house_of_pain on 6/22/10 at 7:06


By: Loner on 6/22/10 at 7:07

If Obama truly wanted to stop the bloodshed caused by the "terrorists", he would examine the causes , not the effects. For every cause, there is an effect...that's just the way it is, but we continue to delude ourselves.

If the USA conitinues to outsource the development of its ME policy to the Israelis, we can expect to be hit with more acts of terrorism; I do not condone this, of course; I am merely stating that we are addressing the effects while ignoring the causes and we are suffering the natural consequences of our foolish errors. .

Obama must tie US aid to progress on the Peace Process, that is the only tool left in the toolbox. It's time to torque down that loose nut, before we lose the whole to speak.

By: govskeptic on 6/22/10 at 7:08

This story along with the Methodist Resolution states an incorrect
portion as being true, but which there's no evidence of. Her not
being able to "present evidence of her abuse by the deceased".
This was not brought up in the trial by her-not that it was denied
by the Judge. It's today's popular excuse for all spouse killings
and works most of the time. No denial of these abuses being
a hugh problem, but also no reason for retroactive excuse for
those hiring murderers!

By: Kosh III on 6/22/10 at 7:15

I'm iwth you Loner. Both sides should accept the two state solution, sign a peace treaty and get on with it.
We should be leaning heavily on the Arabs(esp Saudi Arabia) to get them to compel Hamas and the PLO to renounce their goal of driving out Israel and agree to their right to a state also.
This would also have to added benefit of taking away the main complaint against the US by al-Queda and others.

By: Loner on 6/22/10 at 7:19

Govskeptic has a point about retroactive excuses; if she (her kegal defense team) did not bring it up at trial, then it sounds rather dubious, IMO. Still, I am against the death penalty per se.

By: Dragon on 6/22/10 at 7:20

McCrystal told the president what he needed to be successful. Obama waited three months and gave a third less. Now, Obama says withdrawal beginning July 2011, regardless. McCrystal is learning he is not in charge, he must execute Obama's plan, even if it is stupid and failing.

Resign and begin the talk show circuit so the country can learn the facts. I'm sure Obama will find someone else in a few months.

By: Loner on 6/22/10 at 7:38

Actually, Kosh, IMO the 2-state solution is not going to work, because of all the Israeli settlements on Arab lands siezed since 1948. Such a solution just codifies and legitimizes the apartheid approach to sharing the so-called Holy Land. Such a "solution: would perpetuate the hatred and animosity.

Any "Palestinan state" would be a hodge-podge of disconnected and isolated enclaves under constant Israeli surveillance and subject to Israeli oppression disguised as "self-defense".. The Pals would not even control their own airspace or enjoy free and open access to the sea. This is no solution.

It's too late for the 2-state solution; Israel will not give up the land it grabbed by force. Sadly, the Israelis will not allow any Arabs to become citizens of a greater Israel, (a bi-national state) if the occupied territories (East J'lem, the WB and Gaza) were fully annexed by the Israelis. They want the Arab land, not the Arabs living there.

Consensual annexation of East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza by Israel, with Israeli citizenship for the Arabs living there, is something neither side will embrace without coaxing and arm-twisting by the USA. Unfortunately, that is the only long-range solution to the dilemma....the one-state solution is a no-win, but no-lose situation. It's the only logical way to proceed, IMHO.

By: Kosh III on 6/22/10 at 7:46

yeah, but doesn't that mean that the Arabs will eventually become the majority due to higher birth rate etc
It seems to me that if Jews want to survive as Jews, having a homeland with most Jews concentrated there is NOT the answer, it just makes it easier for their enemies to round them up. Dispersion would seem better: a million here, a million there, pretty soon it adds up to real Jews (quote from Rabbi Dirksenstein---joke)

By: budlight on 6/22/10 at 7:50

I'm against the death penalty, for what that's worth. said by Loner.

Well it's only worth something to those on death row, Loner, if you personally become an advocate for their personal commute to life.

If I am keenly aware that my act of killing someone, whether by my hand or a hired hand, could actually be a death sentence, how stupid would I have to be to move forward with the act? She could not figure out how to escape the "abuse", but she could contrive a plan for murder. That is baffeling to me. I'm smarter than that. If I don't like my environment, then change it, not destroy those in it.

Regarding Obama and Biden: While Tony (BP) was sailing, they were golfing. Now Obama said that he's going to fix this. What in the sam hill was he doing on a golf course. Soaking up oil? No soaking up taxpayer dollars.

AND NOW: The gov'ment is making it against the law to mail tobacco in the postal service. That's gonna show those medical marijuana shippers that they can't mail a prescription from CA to NY or TN. Sorry guys! I hate big gov-ment.

By: Loner on 6/22/10 at 7:52

Dragon is right, McChrystal should resign and then make the talk-show rounds, while some ghost-writer pens a book or two "authored" by the General. Cash in your chips,'s the American way.

We are not going to pacify the Afghanis by occupying their land and paying off the warlords...the Soviets learned that the hard way...junior Bush rushed in where wise men feared to tread.....Obama continued with his flawed policies.

If Unocal and Hallibrton want that Central Asian oil and gas, let them pay off the warlords, not the US taxpayers. Bring the mercenaries home, station them on our own borders.

By: budlight on 6/22/10 at 7:53

P.S. A man has been arrested - a terrorist. He was dressed in a burqa (burka?) and is the top bomb vest maker for terrorists. I knew those burka's were scarey for some reason.

I propose that the U.S. become a mandatory nudist colony so no one can smuggle anything anywhere. (just kidding)

By: dargent7 on 6/22/10 at 7:56

Dragon: Like it or not Obama's the boss in every meaning of the word. Ever work for somebody you didn't agreee with? Either quit or shut up.
You righties aren't screaming "traitor" at McChyrstals' interview?
Sure, Obama should of given the General 100,000 more troops, set up a "Green Zone" like in Iraq. 35 people were killed in Baghdad last weekend. A "Green Room" would be more appropriate for all the b.s. PR on how good things are going.
These two wars are unwinnable and a complete waste of time, money, and lives.
All the while Rome is burning right here at home.

By: budlight on 6/22/10 at 7:56

junior Bush rushed in where wise men feared to tread.....Obama continued with his flawed policies. said by LOner.

So if what you say is true, Loner, then who's FAULT is everything? Is it Obama's fault for "faulty change"? He sure is not shrinking the deficite, rather is enlarging it. 15,000 new IRS workers to track us all on health care.

P.S. The U.S. taxpayer is getting poorer and poorer. So the gov-ment is penalizing those who make from $34,000 to $150,000.

By: Loner on 6/22/10 at 8:03

If losing the Jewish majority in the so-called "only democracy in the ME" is the price of genuine peace, then I say, "Pay it, already!" Since when is the US taxpayer and the US military in the business of insuring ethnic voting majorities in foreign lands? The Founders would be appalled at this turn of events and perversion of our core values.

All good jokes are based in truth, the one you posted is a good example, Kosh. In nature, concentration enables annihilation, while dispersal insures survival. The pioneering Zionists completely missed this fact of life and the Israelis continually fool themselves into ignoring the ugly, but immutable facts.

By: BenDover on 6/22/10 at 8:06

One state would work great if the crazy 7th century mentality muslims would stop bombing civilization. I don't see it happening, Loner. This milk will not be unspilled. Too much animosity I think. I'd love to see a Ghandi or MLK arise in Palestine but I'm not holding my breath... they have no religious precedent for it.

By: Loner on 6/22/10 at 8:13

So if what you say is true, Loner, then who's FAULT is everything?

That's above my pay grade to answer, you might ask the "Intelligent design" advocates if the design had some flaws and what solutions are recommended.

Personally, I'd trace this ongoing global Holy War to a Jewish fella named Abraham...he heard voices...was going to slaughter his own son...but then begot religion as we know it. He failed to leave a proper will...the rest is called Western History.

By: slacker on 6/22/10 at 8:16

Ben, it seems to me an Iran with nuclear weaponry, will bring all this to a head, very soon.

By: dargent7 on 6/22/10 at 8:26

If Iran is such a danger, if the President of Iran is so crazy, why not have the USA sit this one out and let Russia, China, Japan, France, Italy, Spain, Hungry, Belgium, et al., handle it?
Why is it that it's always the USA that's paranoid, living in fear, threatening and sabre rattling?
If we were that smart and accurate, we wouldn't be bankrupt as a Nation and meshed in the complete meltdown and chaos that our country finds itself in.

By: Loner on 6/22/10 at 8:26

Actually, Ben, the Palestinians are more in favor of the bi-national state concept than most Israelis are. There is some support for this idea in both camps, but the US has never lent any support to those who advocate such an approach.

Extremists in both camps exploit the fear and loathing.

The Israeli propaganda machine would have Americans believe that such a 1-state solution would be a grave "existential threat" to Israel. Such an accomodation might mean the end of an apartheid, Jewish supremacist state; but that political concession could insure the survival of those Jews who are willing to share Abraham's "birthright" with their Semitic cousins.

American Christians oppose the one-state solution, because it does not fit in with the end-times prophecies...they wish to expedite Armageddon and the Rapture, or so it appears. They support Israel, not out of love for the Jews, they do it for their own-self serving reasons. According to the Christians, two thirds of the Israelis are going to perish for not recognizing Christ - that's tough love, baby.

By: budlight on 6/22/10 at 8:28

Loner, even though your answers are "above my pay grade", I must say they are enlighteneing.

I just wish everyone would come to the center of the universe, shake hands and go home peacefully. I am tired of fighting battles that started before I was even in existence. We seem to win the battles (or lose them) but never stop fighting the war.

Slacker, nuclear weaponry is truly scarey -- in any country.

See ya'll. I fighting the battle of traffic, heat and laziness so I can earn a dollar to pay the mortgage. My gov-ment stimulus didn't go through, so shucks, I have to WORK. Damn it to heck! (oops swear words are not permitted, so I meant Hoover Hamn it!)

By: Loner on 6/22/10 at 8:40

D7, Iran is a threat to Israel....that's the narrative; but who has the clandestine nuclear arsenal in the region? The drum beat for war with Iran is coming out of Jerusalem and making its way into US foreign policy by way of campaign donations to lawmakers from the Israel's no more complicated than that.

Of course, the multi-national Energy Lobby and the Israeli-US Defense lobby concur with the Israeli government's official analysis - Iran, not Israel, represents the nuclear threat to regional peace.

We have been sold out....anyone who complains is an anti-Semite; there's no easy way to absolve onself of that commonly used slur. Money talks and fear silences. I fear for the future of our vullnerable republic, we have delegated away our own sovereignty to the special interests.

By: gdiafante on 6/22/10 at 8:47

Kill 'em all, let me sort them out.


By: dargent7 on 6/22/10 at 8:59

It's, "Kill them all, let God sort it out".
God is a man of peace.

By: Loner on 6/22/10 at 9:00

Thank you, Sidney.

Honest work is nothing to be ashamed of, it's a liberating long as they pay you an honest wage. Human nature being what it is, honesty is rather rare. Poverty is the rule, not the exception.

By: slacker on 6/22/10 at 9:04

I was just kidding guys...really.
Gen. McChrystal

By: brrrrk on 6/22/10 at 9:07

Loner said

"That's above my pay grade to answer, you might ask the 'Intelligent design' advocates if the design had some flaws and what solutions are recommended."

And while were at it, is God now punishing Arizona with fires because of their new "papers please" law?

By: gdiafante on 6/22/10 at 9:09

No brrrk, Arizona has fires every year. That's like saying God is punishing Tennessee with record heat because he hates rednecks.

Oh wait...

By: Kosh III on 6/22/10 at 9:22

Yeah, God already tried flushing us out.

By: Loner on 6/22/10 at 9:26

Ben, Jesus of Nazareth was Judaism's Ghandi; the Jews rejected his philosphy, but the spiritually bereft gentiles soaked it up like a sponge.

Of course, when the state and Christianity fused power, through Divine Right monarchies, natural erosion and a deliberate, cynical perversion of the philosophy ensued. The Protestant Reformation paved the way for secular democracy and republicn forms of governance, as well as political pluralism itself.

The Muslims are still in a pre-reformation condition; the reforms must come through Islamic leadership, they cannot be imposed on the Muslims. Threatening Muslims encourages fundamentalism, not reform. The US and Israel seem to be blind to that ugly fact of life as well.

By: Loner on 6/22/10 at 9:28

The Cumberland Flush?

By: house_of_pain on 6/22/10 at 9:30

Exactly, Loner...and we found out that some sh*t floats, but not all.

By: Loner on 6/22/10 at 9:35

BTW, could I encumber you natives to tell me exactly where the land of the Cumber is located? Were the Cumber marched off by President Jackson's federal troops too? Ethnic cleansing, when done properly, does not leave traces, such as the name of your famous river. You need a name-change, to protect the guilty.

By: slacker on 6/22/10 at 9:39

Rednecks are entitled to a homeland, its in the bible.
Somewhere in Dueteronomy I think.

By: slacker on 6/22/10 at 9:41

Or maybe its in the Farmers Almanac.

By: slacker on 6/22/10 at 9:42

Or maybe ''Guns and Ammo.''

By: dargent7 on 6/22/10 at 9:44

But God will reward CA with no wildfires and mudslides ONLY if they pass the "recreational marijauna usage" law in Nov. If it's defeated, woe unto Californians. Earthquakes, pestilance, foreign Govenors, gangs, NBA Championships, gay people,..oh, wait a minute.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 6/22/10 at 9:45

they have one, slacker. the Redneck Riviera in FL.