Sara Hickman, Austin musician, singer, songwriter, has agreed to perform a 12-month concert tour of Texas cities to increase the dialogue on the problems concerning the death penalty in Texas. The “Music for Life” tour will kick off October 3, 2007 in the First United Methodist Church Sanctuary at 7:00pm, 1201 Lavaca St, Austin, TX. Tickets are $15 and are available through the FUMC office. Barbara K of Timbuk 3 will be joining Sara on stage.
Speakers during the evening will include FUMC Senior Pastor John McMullen, Rev. Bobbi Kaye Jones, Murder Victim Families for Reconciliation Board Member – Linda White, and local criminal defense attorney Keith Hampton. All are welcome in joining this dialogue on the death penalty. Come, learn, and hear some great music!
Rev. John McMullen, Senior Pastor of FUMC – Austin The Book of Discipline of the United Methodist Church, 2004 #164 G, states our position on capital punishment. So state I.
It is hard for me to accept that the world is made better by yet another execution. I am not in any way opting for no punishment, but I am concerned because this particular form of punishment also affects the punishers as well as the one punished. It hardens us as a people to be part of such a system, especially a system that has proven to deal much more harshly with the poor than with those higher up the economic ladder. Further, it is a tragic circumstance when anyone is wrongfully punished, but in this circumstance there is no turning back, there is no ability to at least partially right the wrong.
As a people of faith, we are called to a higher standard when dealing with crime in our society. Are we hurt and angry when serious crimes take place? Yes. Is it necessary to separate some people from society? Of course. Should we make such behavior costly? Certainly. But to take a life harms us too. It makes us less than we are called to be. As followers of Christ Jesus we are called to exemplify the way of Christ. As long as we continue the practice of capital punishment, I fear we fail in that calling.
Bobbi Kaye Jones, Senior Pastor at St. John’s UMC- Austin will share her personal and spiritual journey through the experiences of her own losses and the sufferings many families encounter, “My children’s father was killed by a drunk driver. My two nephews were pushed heroin, and one of my nephews died. But it isn’t just my family that suffers. All suffering is important. I was taught as a child that two wrongs don’t make a right, and everything I have learned since about the love of God has reinforced my opposition to the death penalty.”
Dr. Linda White of Murder Victims’ Families for Reconciliation. After her daughter, Cathy, was murdered, she raised her granddaughter, Ami. She taught psychology and criminal justice classes at Sam Houston State University. In 2001, Linda and Ami arranged to meet with Cathy’s killer. They learned answers to their questions about Cathy’s final moments, and became activists in supporting non-violent solutions to crime. Linda speaks nationwide on her struggles, her healing and her work for a system of restorative justice.
Keith S. Hampton has been in private practice in Austin, Texas since 1990, and is board certified in criminal law. After graduating from St. Mary’s University School of Law, in 1989, he worked as a Briefing Attorney for the Honorable Judge Sam Houston Clinton. Keith is a frequent speaker for TCDLA, has authored many scholarly publications, and currently serves as the association’s lobbyist and legislative chair. He is also a Fellow of the Texas Bar Foundation, a charter member of the Austin Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, and a member of the Pro Bono College of the State Bar. He is currently involved in the Scott Panetti, Cathy Lee Henderson, and Kenneth Foster cases, all death row cases currently receiving a lot of media attention.
The Music for Life tour will visit a city a month and finish up in Austin in October 2008. Other stops on the tour will be in San Antonio, Houston, Corpus Christi, El Paso, Dallas, Ft. Worth, Waco, Huntsville, and possibly College Station and Lubbock. Each concert will include other musicians who have agreed to donate their time and speakers who will highlight their personal encounter with the death penalty in Texas.