Max Brantley and Betsey Wright on Death Penalty

(2 min Mike Huckabee on Death Penalty in Republican Primary)

Max Brantley rightly noted that “no one has been executed in Arkansas since 2005” (Death Penalty in Decline, Arkansas Times Blog, Dec 27, 2010). However, the debate is clearly not over. In the July 13, 2006 article “Waiting for Death” by Max Brantley and Betsey Wright there is a case put forth on biblical grounds for rejecting the death penalty. Mike Huckabee is addressed in the article as “my brother in Christ,” and an appeal is made to Huckabee to listen to Christ’s words: “Love your enemies.”

To her credit Betsey Wright is true to her convictions no matter what circumstances she has encountered in her life. I was quite saddened to learn of the death of Mrs Wright’s niece in the May 11, 2006 article “Tested on the Death Penalty” published by the Arkansas Times . This violent death was senseless and Mrs Wright wants to see justice done. I hope to deal with this issue in a logical way.

First, the biblical issue has been brought up by Mrs Wright. According to Genesis 9:6, capital punishment is based upon a belief in the sanctity of life. It says, “Whoever sheds man’s blood by man his blood shall be shed, for in the image of God, He made man.”

Second, if someone is not punished by the death penalty then there is always a chance they will kill a guard later in their life. Others like Arthur Shawcross have been paroled. This occurred after serving 15 years for the brutal rape and murder of two children in upstate New York. In a subsequent 21 month killing spree, he took 11 more lives before being caught.

Third, I think it is great that Christian ministries are trying to reach prisoners with the gospel but I do not want to be a part of trying to get these prisoners weapons so they can try to escape.

Ex-Clinton Aide Betsy Wright arrested in death row smuggling case

By Patrick McMahon.
Betsy Wright, former chief of staff to then-Governor Bill Clinton, is facing felony charges for trying to smuggle in numerous illegal items to prisoners on Arkansas’ death row.
Wright, 66, was caught trying to smuggle contraband during a visit to the state’s death row prison called the Verner Unit. A guard noticed items in Wright’s bag as it went through an X-Ray machine in May. Among the items found include a knife, a box cutter, tweezers, and 48 tattoo needles concealed inside of a bag of Doritos. Yesterday, prosecutors filed 51 charges against Ms. Wright, who is an outspoken death penalty opponent. In an interview, Wright denied the charges against her and of any wrongdoing. She claimed to have found the bag containing all of the illegal items, not knowing what was in it. “Inside of a prison, not only could (tattoo needles) potentially be a weapon, but they most definitely can be a health hazard,” State Prison spokesperson Dina Tyler said. Hepatitis has been on the rise throughout the prison system and the needles are said to be one of the prime reasons.

For further reading check out a fine article by Kerby Anderson or go to and search “Capital Punishment,” or check out a short article by my former pastor Adrian Rogers called Is capital punishment contrary to the word of God?”


I am profiling today State Senator Johnny Key.

Senator Johnny Key of Mountain Home represents Senate District 1, which includes all of Baxter and Marion counties and the eastern half of Boone County. Senator Key has been in public service since 1997, when he was a justice of the peace on the Baxter County Quorum Court.

In 2003 he began a six-year term in the Arkansas House of Representatives and in 2009 began serving in the Arkansas Senate.
Currently, Senator Key is chairman of the Academic Facilities Oversight Committee and vice chairman of the Joint Committee on Public Retirement and Social Security Programs. He is a member of several committees and subcommittees including the Senate Education Committee; Senate Committee on City, County and Local Affairs; Joint Budget Committee;
Legislative Joint Auditing; Arkansas Lottery Commission Legislative Oversight Committee; and Joint Adequacy Evaluation Oversight Committee.

Regionally, he serves on the Fiscal Affairs and Government Operations Committee of the Southern Legislative Conference (SLC)
and the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB).
Senator Key has a conservative political philosophy and his legislative priorities are a reflection of his beliefs. He has sponsored legislation to reduce taxes on families and businesses. He was a sponsor of the bill cutting the sales tax on groceries in half and also sponsored legislation to exempt retirement and pension income. He sponsored legislation to
authorize Eden Alternative and Green House projects, which are long-term care facilities that emphasize quality of life.
A supporter of higher education, Senator Key has allocated a significant share of General Improvement Funds to Arkansas State University at Mountain Home to pay for capital projects. Additionally, he sponsored legislation to make it easier for families to save for college tuition through tax-deferred savings allowed under Section 529 of the IRS code.
He has consistently supported expanded job training and technical education for students who do not go to college and need job skills. Key has also worked with Mothers Against Drunk Driving to curb drinking by teenagers, successfully supported legislation to create drug
courts, expand criminal drug task forces and give law enforcement the tools needed to control the growing abuse of methamphetamine.
Senator Key is a graduate of Gurdon High School, Class of 1986, and in 1991 earned a Bachelor of Science degree in chemical engineering at the University of Arkansas. Key and wife Shannon own three childcare centers, two in Mountain Home and one in Flippin.

They have one son and one daughter, and are members of First Assembly of God Church in Mountain Home.

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