Reuters Blames Number of Texas Executions on Evangelical Christians

The State of Texas easily has the highest execution rate in the United States. That is part of the reason why you "don't mess with Texas." And why is it exactly that Texas stands alone in implemeting the death penalty? According to Reuters, the answer is evangelical Christians.

In its article "Religion and culture behind Texas execution tally," Reuters states:

Like his predecessor, Governor Perry is a devout Christian, highlighting one key factor in Texas’ enthusiasm for the death penalty that many outsiders find puzzling — the support it gets from conservative evangelical churches.

This is in line with their emphasis on individuals taking responsibility for their own salvation, and they also find justification in scripture.

“A lot of evangelical Protestants not only believe that capital punishment is permissible but that it is demanded by God. And they see sanction for that in the Old Testament especially,” said Matthew Wilson, a political scientist at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.

Notice that Matthew Wilson said "they" instead of "we." In true liberal media tradition, Reuters relies upon a college professor to speak as an expert about evangelical Christians.

If the condescension wasn't already apparent, Reuters also blames regular use of the death penalty on "cowboys" and the "racism" prevalent in Texas.

Texas also stands at an unusual geographical and cultural crossroads: part Old South, with its legacy of racism, and part Old West, with a cowboy sense of rough justice.

Some critics say the South can be seen in the racial bias of death sentences with blacks more likely than whites to be condemned — though Texas is not alone on this score.

Over 41 percent of the inmates currently on death row in Texas are black, but they account for only about 12 percent of the state’s population.

In examining these factors, Reuters reaches the conclsuion that:

Texas will almost certainly hit the grim total of 400 executions this month, far ahead of any other state, testament to the influence of the state’s conservative evangelical Christians and its cultural mix of Old South and Wild West.

Note that the article allows for the impression that Texas will execute 400 criminals this month. You have to read further into the article to learn that the figure 400 represents the number of executions since 1982, when the death penalty was re-instituted in Texas.

While the article frames capital punishment in a negative light, Reuters optimistically declares that demographics could reduce the occurrence of the death penalty.

Demographics could help tilt the balance a bit further, as the state’s booming economy attracts outsiders — and potential jury members — from more liberal regions and as its Latino population grows rapidly.

“Demographics could change things as minority groups like Latinos are generally less enthusiastic about the death penalty,” said [Richard] Dieter of the Death Penalty Information Center.

In a final failure to grasp the obvious, Reuters states:

The longer trend is a decline of homicides over the past 30 years with a peak of 2,652 in 1991 in Texas and 1,407 in 2005. And fewer murders should translate into fewer death sentences.

Reuters focuses completely on the topic of eliminating the death penalty - instead of nailing the obvious point that homicides have been drastically reduced since Texas re-instituted capital punishment.