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Open Appeal to Gov. Perry to Commute Death Sentence
Contact: Raymond Moore, National Clergy Council, 202-546-8329
WASHINGTON, Dec. 3, 2014 /Christian Newswire/ -- The Reverend Dr. Rob Schenck, president of the National Clergy Council, who prayed with and for Texas Governor Rick Perry last month, issues an open appeal to the Governor to mercifully commute the death sentence of Scott Panetti, a diagnosed schizophrenic.

Photo: Rev. Rob Schenck leads prayer for Gov. Rick Perry, seen looking up from table to lower left, Palm Beach, Fla., Nov. 15, 2015. Click for higher-resolution version.

Rev. Schenck said, "In situations like this one, courts have no mechanism to administer mercy, they are all about the law. Mercy rests with the executive branch, so it is in the Governor's purview. If ever there was a time for mercy, it is in this case.  A merciful commuting of the death sentence to life is the morally correct thing to do. The Governor should do everything in his power to commute Mr. Panetti's sentence, even if it is temporary.  In my prayer for the Governor just weeks ago I spoke of those that act in truth even at great cost.  This may cost the Governor something, but it would be well worth it because it's the good and right thing to do."

Rev. Patrick J. Mahoney, Director of the Christian Defense Coalition and pastor of Church on the Hill in Washington, D.C. states, "We pray and appeal to Gov. Perry and the State of Texas to commute this execution of a person who has serious mental challenges. Justice will not be served in this case and it is simply barbaric to take the life of a person struggling with mental illness. We need to work for an America where the dignity and value of life is embraced and not diminished. Sadly in this case, that is not happening."

Open appeal to the Governor from Reverend Dr. Rob Schenck:
Dear Governor Perry,
In this difficult hour of decision for you, I appeal to your conscience, informed by your Christian faith, to immediately commute the sentence of death for inmate Scott Panetti. As medical and court records indicate, Mr. Panetti suffers from a mentally debilitating disease that prevents him from distinguishing between fantasy and reality.
A long history of Christian moral theology, philosophy, and instruction requires that, in such circumstances, the perpetrator is not morally culpable for his acts. While this does not lift the need to protect society from future acts of violence by such a person, it does preclude the ultimate punishment of death.
On behalf of millions of Christians in Texas and throughout the country, and thousands of pastors and other church leaders, I urge you to exercise the power of your office and do what is right and good in this instance. I remind you of our prayer together last month in Palm Beach:
Psalm 15
O Lord, who shall sojourn in your tent? Who shall dwell on your holy hill?
He who walks blamelessly and does what is right and speaks truth in his heart;
Who does not slander with his tongue and does no evil to his neighbor, nor takes up a reproach against his friend;
In whose eyes a vile person is despised, but who honors those who fear the Lord; who swears to his own hurt and does not change;
Shall we pray?
God--whose name and nature is true, help us always to act in truth--to love truth--more than we love our own spin on it.
Thank you for those in this room who are lovers of truth and who act on it at great personal risk; who have paid the price for their convictions. Help us all to be ready to do the same.
Bless those present: our host, our speaker, our honoree, and all around these tables.
We give thanks to You for your generous provision in this food--and for all the good things you give to us. Keep us mindful of those that are deprived of the good life, especially those that suffer because of tyranny, dictatorship, corruption, and violence. Help us to help them.
I ask these things in the name of the One who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Amen.
Click for Video: Rev. Rob Schenck prays for Gov. Rick Perry and others at dinner in Palm Beach, Florida on November 15, 2014