To the editor:

A favorite passage of mine from The Gospel of John, tells of a woman caught in an act punishable by death by stoning. This scripture speaks boldly and clearly about why we should end Wyoming’s death penalty. 

The woman’s accusers stand before Jesus, certain that he will issue the punishment prescribed by the law of Moses. But Jesus surprises us, as is often the case, when instead he says to the accusers, “Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” The bewildered accusers leave, one by one, until Jesus looks up from his work and sees that only he and the woman remain. 

Now I want to be clear: Jesus never says that the woman is blameless. Nor does Jesus ignore the fact that, by the law, she has sinned. However, Jesus does not condemn her, instead he gives her grace. He sends this imperfect yet forgiven woman back into her community to share God’s story. 

I will be the first to admit that I too have fallen short and sinned, but I also know that I have been asked to share my own story of grace, mercy and love. We are all asked to follow in the footsteps of Jesus, as we love God and our neighbors – all of them, even those who have sinned. 

This New Testament scripture – a gift from Jesus – is a reminder that humanity does not have the authority to condemn a person to death. Put simply in this great Wyoming state of equality, we should end the death penalty and “live and let live” so that all voices – even those of sinners – are able to share the story of God’s amazing grace, mercy and love. 

(s) janita krayniak

United Methodist Pastor


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