Mike Huckabee and Tookie Williams

While no analogy is perfect, enough of the facts are the same to compare the cases of Stanley “Tookie” Williams and Wayne DuMond.

First, Stanley “Tookie” Williams was a street gang member who was convicted of multiple murders and sentenced to death. While in prison, he had a born again experience and gave his life to Christ. As a result of his conversion, he began writing various articles and tried to encourage young people to avoid street gangs. Because of his anti-gang advocacy, many people thought that his sentence should be commuted and the death penalty should not be carried-out. Even many people that normally support capital punishment thought that the governor—Arnold Schwarzenegger—should pardon “Tookie”.

“Tookie” was finally executed about two years ago.

In 1985 Wayne DuMond was convicted of raping Ashley Stevens.

DuMond said that, while he was awaiting trial, masked men burst into his home, tied him up with fishing line and cut out his testicles. By the time Mr Huckabee became governor in 1996, he had met DuMond’s wife and was promising to release him. After advice from medical experts — thought to have told him that DuMond was still capable of rape — Mr Huckabee allowed the decision to be taken by the parole board, which released DuMond in September 1999.

In 2001 DuMond raped and killed Carol Sue Shields, 39, in Missouri and is also said to have been responsible for the rape and murder of Sara Andrasek, 23, who was pregnant. He died in prison two years ago of natural causes.

While the media doesn’t pay much attention to religion, Mike Huckabee’s faith was understood to be an issue in the decision to release DuMond. Many have speculated that Huckabee was convinced that DuMond had a conversion experience in jail and that facts surrounding his rape conviction were politically motivated. (Ashley Stevens-the victim of the rape-was a distant cousin of Bill Clinton.) The conversion, castration and Clinton connection were enough that many pushed for DuMond’s pardon.

The common thread in both cases is the claim of religious conversion as the basis for some type of preferential treatment for those convicted of crime.

I don’t fault the criminals for wanting to get out of incarceration. I do have a problem with ignorant but well meaning Christians that don’t understand the proper role of church and state. Below is a portion of an article that explorers these roles:

Forgiveness Requires Restitution
by David Chilton

The condemned man sat in his cell awaiting execution. James Morgan had been convicted of murder and sentenced to death under the justice system of 17th-century Massachusetts—the Puritan Colony par excellence.

The Puritans have often been stigmatized as narrow-minded legalists, unconcerned about the plight of “sinners” in their midst. To the contrary, the Puritans, as good Calvinists, believed that all people—themselves included—are depraved and sinful, in need of the grace of God and the mercy of fellow men.

Accordingly, the Rev. Cotton Mather and other ministers visited Morgan in his cell and urged him to pray for repentance and forgiveness. To their delight, Morgan heard them and soon gave evidence of a sound, sincere conversion.

The whole Puritan colony joyously responded to Morgan’s change of heart. They held a special worship service, where Morgan testified to his newfound faith. He was embraced and received as a brother in Christ, with all the rights and privileges of a citizen of the heavenly kingdom.

The congregation sang a psalm of praise, thanking God for His goodness to James Morgan, the sinner who had become a saint.

Then they took him to the gallows and hanged him.

Clearly Huckabee has either confused the roles of church and state or doesn’t know the difference. As a former minister, Huckabee clearly has the credentials of being an expert in the role of church in our society. Based on his actions in this case and statements that he has made during the campaign on other public policy issues one can only conclude that Huckabee lacks a core of conservative principles.