It was cold that night, the night I killed Jesus. Unlike in the biblical story, I killed Jesus just after midnight when most people are sleeping. I killed him as privately as possible; few were there to actually witness his death. And I didn’t make it a big bloody display, beating him senseless, and nailing him to a cross. Oh no, Jesus was dispatched cleanly and humanely. He simply went to sleep.
Jesus was quietly taken into his execution chamber. It was medically sterile, as germ free as humanly possible. I know on that last walk he felt every lash he had received from the criminal “Justice” system. I imagine him recounting the loss of his acquaintances, then his friends. Family may even have abandoned him.
He was strapped to a gurney that night, and an IV line started. First we gave him a powerful barbiturate to calm him, and make him drowsy. Next we injected him with a drug that paralyzed his entire muscular system. No unseemly jerking or twitching permitted. Then potassium chloride was administered to stop his heart.
Good night, Jesus. No suffering here.
It was almost the same protocol as when I had to put my wolf-dog Taz down last year. We had been together for nine years. She was abused as a young dog and we rescued her, giving her a loving pack and me a furry companion. She became my “best girlfriend”. We used to go to the woods a couple of times a week to run and play together. She was an amazing animal who loved me, my wife and kids, and our other four-legged family members.
But she was suffering. Old age had taken a great toll on Taz. She couldn’t run with the wolves any longer. Many days she could barely walk to the door to go out and do her business. The day came when she couldn’t do even that much.
We took Taz to our friend Bill’s veterinary clinic where I gently lifted her up onto an examination table. First Bill injected her with a tranquilizer to calm her, and make her drowsy. Joy and I were talking to her soothingly, and stroking her head. The paralytic and potassium bromide were administered, and Taz died in our arms. It was an end of suffering for her.
Yes, it was cold that night, the night I killed Jesus. I was hundreds of miles away, standing on a street corner in the middle of the night freezing my ass off and holding a sign. There were about ten of us. We were in front of a church that left one door unlocked so we could come in and get warm as needed.
My sign said something inane like “Why do we kill people who kill people to teach people not to kill people?” It was a small protest against Tennessee’s death penalty, staged at the same time Cecil Johnson, one of “the least of these,” was executed at Riverbend Maximum Security Institution in Nashville as I described.
I still grieve for Taz. Her body is buried in our pet cemetery along with several others. Her last dog-tag hangs from the front axle of my Sportster, so every time I ride she gets to run with me again. But as I sat down to write this, I couldn’t even remember that Jesus’ name for me that night was Cecil Johnson. And so I wonder.
I wonder if our protest was any more effective than spitting in the wind.
I wonder if my standing in the cold made any difference whatsoever.
I wonder if I was merely trying to mitigate my own guilt.
I wonder why, if our execution protocol is so humane, I still heard Cecil/Jesus cry out in anguish that night “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”
I claim to follow Jesus, but still, I killed Jesus that night.
And if nothing changes,
I will almost certainly kill Jesus again.