#1067 for broadcast on 2CH Sydney, 3 May 2015
As I see it, capital punishment is a barbaric practice, ineffective as a deterrent, a denial of human dignity. As the bodies of the two Australians return home from Indonesia, and as the Abbott government responds by recalling its ambassador (but hopefully not with cuts to foreign aid spending), we pause to reflect.
According to reports, all eight prisoners refused blindfolds, staring straight ahead, as they joined together in a chorus of John Newton’s great freedom song, “Amazing grace,” and the contemporary Christian worship song, “Bless the Lord, O my soul,” before their voices were stilled by the crack of gunfire.
One spiritual adviser said this was the first time they had “witnessed someone so excited to meet their God.”
Anglican minister Dr John Dickson captured the collective mood well when he said, hours after the executions, “It genuinely feels like grief.”
Our prayers are with the families and friends of all who have experienced violent death.
Rod Benson for the NSW Council of Churches.