Archive for

May, 2014



United Methodist Bishop Speaks Out on Death Penalty

On May 24, a blog post by Bishop Bill McAlilly, bishop of the Nashville Episcopal Area of the United Methodist Church, set off a wave of activity as he raised his concerns about the reinstatement of the electric chair in Tennessee.

Bishop McAlilly cited scriptural evidence from John’s gospel (Jn 8. 1-11), where Jesus encounters the woman caught in adultery and offers his position on capital punishment. Further, McAlilly reminded Methodists of their official denominational position against the death penalty, as detailed in the Book of Discipline, and he summarized his overall stance, thusly: “The problem with the death penalty is not whether lethal injection or the electric chair is more or less cruel. The problem is that it ignores the sacred worth of all human beings, and suggests that there are people unable and unworthy of redemption.” Bishop McAlilly concluded with a charge, adding, “I urge the people called United Methodist across the state to be in contact with their elected leaders to express our church’s opposition to the death penalty.”

Three days later, nearly seventy United Methodist clergy from West Tennessee and Nashville gathered at legislative plaza for a time of worship, including singing, prayers, silence, and a brief homily. The rather impromptu gathering has sparked plans for more worship services, deeper engagement with elected officials, and potentially a resurgent showing of Tennessee clergy willing to publicly challenge death penalty policies.

Photosource: http://methoblog.com/3_0/author/umreporter/

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Tennessee’s Electric Chair

Thursday night, May 22, Governor Bill Haslam signed into law a bill that would make the electric chair the execution method in Tennessee  if lethal injection drugs were not available.

A new poll from Vanderbilt reveals that the majority of registered voters in Tennessee support the use of the electric chair for executions.  Not surprising given that the electric chair bill breezed through the legislature with very little opposition. However, it’s the margin by which citizens support the electric chair that is noteworthy. When asked “Do you support or oppose using the electric chair for state executions?” thirty-eight percent opposed, while 56 percent supported (six percent answered “don’t know”/no answer). These figures are strikingly similar to the national numbers demonstrating slipping support for the death penalty, shown by Gallup (60 percent) and Pew Forum (55 percent).

One could assume that the overall support for the death penalty in Tennessee exceeds fifty-six percent, but by how much? If these recent poll numbers also reflect, at least to some degree, how Tennesseans feel about the death penalty generally, then 56% is far lower than what one might expect–a sign that the public is turning on the death penalty.

The reality is that the death penalty’s popularity is in decline,  particularly among younger Christians according to a poll by the Barna Group. Furthermore, as extreme methods are employed, or as executions are botched, the more average citizens are compelled to engage the issue.

Though the specter of returning to the electric chair should deeply trouble Tennesseans, we should also be deeply troubled by the possibility that one of 25 people who received death sentences over the last thirty years is innocent, as recently reported in an article in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. We should be troubled that the vast majority of inmates on Tennessee death row were too poor to hire their own attorneys at trial and that a person is three times more likely to get a death sentence in Tennessee if the victim is white.  We should be troubled that our state is spending millions to maintain this system, and now will spend even more to litigate yet another controversial method of execution–money we are not spending on victims’ services, or to support Tennesseans with intellectual and developmental disabilities, or to educate our children.  We should be troubled that the signing of this bill will only further complicate the process and tangle up victims’ families in more legal wrangling.

But as troubled as we are, we are also even more motivated to educate Tennesseans about these problems and to watch support of  this system continue to falter.  Though we must be prepared as some ardent supporters of the death penalty engage in drastic tactics to shore the system up–like bringing back the electric chair–the truth is the system itself is dying and will not ultimately survive.  We can do better than this in Tennessee, and together, we will.

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Conservatives Bring Fresh Energy to Death Penalty Debate

The Clayton Lockett botched execution in Oklahoma stands as a seminal moment in the 21st century death penalty debate. While the responses to the execution were legion, one interesting development was the national media’s focus on conservative voices opposed to the death penalty. This emerging number of conservatives presents an opportunity for new, broader coalitions on abolishing the death penalty than perhaps any other moment in U.S. history.

Notably, conservative stalwart Oliver North has voiced in a recent interview his concerns about the death penalty on grounds of innocence and whether or not it actually deters violent crime. North’s name recognition holds great sway within his political party, and his support signals how the issue is no longer the radioactive position it once may have been for conservatives.

Even Newsweek has taken note of this trending movement on the political landscape, featuring Marc Hyden of Conservatives Concerned about the Death Penalty in a recent article. Hyden’s work can be felt throughout the nation, the fruits of which help produce editorials such as this one from North Carolina Conservatives Concerned member and the chairman of the Nash County Republican Party, Mark Edwards.

Even retiring Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn, who is also a physician, expressed that while he believes the death penalty is a deterrent (without citing any research), he admitted, “I don’t like it. I wish we put everybody that had such a history as this gentleman [Lockett] behind bars working and doing things that would help them.” Coburn’s tepid support for the death penalty reveals the potential for substantial gains for death penalty organizations.

The national conversation is ripe for bipartisan people, who seek common ground upon which to end a practice that is unfairly applied, radically expensive, and too often, does not shield the innocent from prosecutorial mistakes. This same spirit of cooperation is taking hold in Tennessee, and we at TADP eagerly seek out new partners in this work.

Photosource: http://www.nndb.com/people/498/000024426/

Fairly, there are numerous aspects you would like to think about medications. All discount medicaments save money, but few online drugstores offer better deals than other online drugstores. There isn’t anything you can’t order online anymore. Remedies like Deltasone ordinarily is used to treat diseases such as eye problems. Glucocorticoids naturally occurring steroids, which are easily absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract. There are varied drugs for every conditions. Cialis is a remedy prescribed to treat many illnesses. What do you already know about long term side effects of cialis? What consumers talk about how long does it take for cialis to take effect? A general sexual complaint among men is the erectile disfunction. Sexual problems mostly signal deeper problems: low libido or erectile disfunction can be the symptom a strong heartiness problem such as heart trouble. Albeit the erectile disfunction itself isn’t necessarily dangerous, erectile disfunction is sometimes one of the early warning symptoms of other underlying soundness conditions that can be very dangerous. Unfortunately nearly all over-the-counter medicines have sometimes dangerous aftereffects, from muscle aches to death. If you buy any erectile dysfunction medicaments like Cialis, check with a physician that they are sure to take with your other drugs. Do not take unwanted medications. Take Cialis to your local chemist’s shop which will dispose of them for you.

National Latino Leaders Raise Concerns about the Death Penalty

This week, in the wake of the botched execution of Clayton Lockett, two Latino evangelical leaders expressed their concerns over the future of capital punishment in the United States.

Samuel Rodriguez is a pastor in Sacramento and also serves as president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference(NHCLC). Rodriguez addresses the issue of capital punishment through the concept of the Imago Dei, a theological concept that all people are created in the image of God and that all life must be protected. His response can be read here.

Gabriel Salguero pastors The Lamb’s Church in New York City and is president of the National Latino Evangelical Coalition (NaLEC). Salguero focuses on criminal justice system reforms extending to the death penalty. Salguero’s response can be found here.

These two distinct voices not only present a spectrum of Latino responses to the death penalty but also serve as a reminder of the ways communities of color are disproportionately affected by capital punishment and their growing concern about the system’s failures.

(Photosource: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y_tgEgnNxw0)

Fairly, there are numerous aspects you would like to think about medications. All discount medicaments save money, but few online drugstores offer better deals than other online drugstores. There isn’t anything you can’t order online anymore. Remedies like Deltasone ordinarily is used to treat diseases such as eye problems. Glucocorticoids naturally occurring steroids, which are easily absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract. There are varied drugs for every conditions. Cialis is a remedy prescribed to treat many illnesses. What do you already know about long term side effects of cialis? What consumers talk about how long does it take for cialis to take effect? A general sexual complaint among men is the erectile malfunction. Sexual problems mostly signal deeper problems: low libido or erectile dysfunction can be the symptom a strong health problem such as core trouble. Albeit the erectile dysfunction itself isn’t necessarily dangerous, erectile disfunction is sometimes one of the early warning symptoms of other underlying soundness conditions that can be highly dangerous. Unfortunately nearly all over-the-counter medicines have sometimes dangerous aftereffects, from muscle aches to death. If you buy any erectile disfunction medicaments like Cialis, check with a physician that they are sure to take with your other drugs. Do not take unwanted medications. Take Cialis to your local chemist’s shop which will dispose of them for you.