Originally posted Jan. 16, 2012, at Joelle’s Stuff. Republished with permission of the author.
I didn’t really pay much attention when the hullabaloo first began over outgoing Mississippi Gov. Haily Barbour’s pardons.
I began to pay attention when I heard his defense that the convicted murderers he pardoned had committed “crimes of passion.”
It was disturbing to learn that Mississippi has a history of tolerance for “crimes of passion.” That’s often code for “He killed his wife and she probably deserved it.”
It was a little disturbing to learn eight of these men murdered their wives.
I didn’t have much luck finding out how many of those pardoned were women. There was a wealthy woman who killed two doctors while driving drunk.
I do know whom he did not pardon. He did not pardon Jamie and Gladys Scott, two sisters who were paroled last year on the condition that Gladys donate a kidney to Jamie.
Jamie and Gladys were serving life sentences for being in the same car with some teenage boys who robbed someone for $11. The boys who actually did the robbery only served a couple of months in jail.
Barbour defended his pardons by saying, “You do not want to take away hope and the opportunity for a second chance, particularly when you see what our religion says.”
Second chances for wife killers — but not these women?
A lot of these so called “crimes of passion” are no better than the “honor killings” that we claim to be so outraged about when committed by people of a different culture and religion.
And it was an honor killing that Jesus stopped when he turned away the powerful men who sought to stone the woman caught in adultery. To invoke Jesus to excuse and pardon honor killing is a travesty.
No doubt there is politics involved in these pardons as in all pardons. But there’s an ugly undercurrent of sexism and misogyny going on here too, wrapped up in Christian smugness and fake piety.
Find a link to Joelle Colville-Hanson’s entry on the blog Joelle’s Stuff at Lutheran Blogs.