The stone that the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone. This is the Lord's doing; it is marvelous in our eyes. Psalm 118:22-23 NRSV

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Certain Danger

This post is about the danger of certainty. It's about George Bush's little talk with the Lord that made him certain that our nation should preemptively strike Iraq. It's about Sarah Palin's inexplicable certainty that she is prepared to be the understudy to the most powerful person in the world. It's about religious zealots of all brands and their certainty that their interpretation of their God and his Word is infallible. Certainty is dangerous.

But there is a more immediate danger to certainty in a story that is unfolding in the state of Georgia and that has at its center a man named Troy Davis who is scheduled for execution on Tuesday, despite growing evidence of prosecutorial manipulation and witness tampering and without any physical evidence to link him with the crime for which he is being executed. Davis and his lawyers have done all that can be done to ask the legal system to consider that, given these new findings, perhaps they should reconsider the case before sending Davis to certain death. (See Bob Herbert's column in yesterday's NY Times.)

There is a danger in certainty, and it is the unwillingness to review critically our own actions and systems. Of course, we are all human and make mistakes. There is not necessarily any crime in that. To go to the death or worse to send someone else to his death in order to preserve the fallacy of our infallibility, on the other hand, is criminal. Ultimately, it endangers the best of human community and government.

Will there be a stay of execution for Troy Davis? I certainly pray so.

Read also this article on I read it after I had written this piece. It certainly is appropriate.