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Faith statement: United Methodist Church Call to End Capital Punishment

The Book of Discipline of the United Methodist Church on the Death Penalty

We believe the death penalty denies the power of Christ to redeem, restore and transform all human beings. The United Methodist Church is deeply concerned about crime throughout the world and the value of any life taken by a murder or homicide. We believe all human life is sacred and created by God and therefore, we must see all human life as significant and valuable. When governments implement the death penalty (capital punishment), then the life of the convicted person is devalued and all possibility of change in that person’s life ends. We believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ and that the possibility of reconciliation with Christ comes through repentance. This gift of reconciliation is offered to all individuals without exception and gives all life new dignity and sacredness. For this reason, we oppose the death penalty (capital punishment) and urge its elimination from all criminal codes.

The United Methodist Church cannot accept retribution or social vengeance as a reason for taking human life. It violates our deepest belief in God as the Creator and Redeemer of humankind.
– The Book of Resolutions of the United Methodist Church, 2004

2006 marks the 50th anniversary of the call by the General Conference of the United Methodist Church for an end to capital punishment in the United States. Since its initial stance, the church has not wavered in its opposition to the death penalty. In opposing executions, the United Methodist Church has repeatedly recognized that the death penalty has no demonstrated deterrent effect and that it is, therefore, in place only for retribution. The church recognizes that such vengeance is inconsistent with the teachings of Jesus Christ and feels that “When another life is taken through capital punishment, the life of the victim is further devalued.” (Book of Resolutions) The Church calls on its members to take overt action to bring an end to capital punishment and guarantees the Church’s support for such efforts.

What You Can Do

  • Pray for victims of crime and their families, those who have been wrongly convicted, and those on death row and their families.
  • Educate people in your congregation and community about the United Methodist Church’s teachings and capital punishment. Talk to your pastor about your church’s involvement.
  • Advocate by contacting your elected officials and joining together with Methodist and other religious and social justice groups.

Groups and Resources

Death penalty facts

  • Approximately 3,300 people are on death row in the US; 89 of them in Tennessee.
  • Since executions were reinstated in 1977, over 130 death row inmates have been exonerated; 2 in Tennessee.
  • 90% of Tennessee’s death row inmates could not afford to hire their own defense at trial.
  • Inmates convicted of murdering a white person are more than 3 times as likely to be sentenced to death than those convicted of murdering an African-American.
  • Capital punishment is a far more expensive system than one whose maximum punishment is life without parole, diverting resources from real crime prevention efforts.
  • At least 5-10% of those on death row suffer from severe mental illness while at least 100 of those executed since 1977 suffered from some form of mental illness.
  • A recent survey of former and past presidents of top U.S. academic criminological societies show that 88% of these experts reject the notion that the death penalty acts as a deterrent to murder.

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 appeal 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 dysfunction itself isn’t necessarily dangerous, erectile dysfunction is sometimes one of the early warning symptoms of other underlying health 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.

Faith Statement: Catholic Campaign to End Capital Punishment

Catholic teaching and the death penalty

“I renew the appeal… for a consensus to end the death penalty.”
— Pope John Paul II
St. Louis, MO
1/27/99

Catholic teaching offers a unique perspective on crime and punishment. It begins with the recognition that the dignity of the human person applies to both victims and offenders. It affirms our commitment to comfort and support victims and their families, while acknowledging the God-given dignity of every human life, even those who do great harm.

Catholic teaching on human life begins with the belief that life is a gift from God that is not for us to take away. As it is applied to the death penalty, this teaching is both complicated and clear. The Church has long acknowledged the right of the state to use the death penalty in order to protect society. However, the Church has more and more clearly insisted the state forego this right if it has other means to protect society. Our fundamental respect for every human life and for God, who created each person in His image, requires that we choose not to end a human life in response to violent crimes if non-lethal options are available. Pope John Paul II, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the Vatican Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, and statements from U.S. Bishops are all clear and consistent that the use of the death penalty ought to be abandoned in our the use of the death penalty ought to be abandoned in our nation because we have alternative means to protect society.

In his encyclical “The Gospel of Life,” the Holy Father challenged followers of Christ to be “unconditionally pro-life,” willing to “proclaim, celebrate, and serve the Gospel of life in every situation.” He reminds us that “the dignity of the human life must never be taken away, even in the case of someone who has done great evil. Modern society has the means of protecting itself, without definitively denying criminals the chance to reform.” The cases in which society could not defend itself, according to the Pope, “are very rare if not practically non-existent.”

We cannot overcome crime by simply executing criminals, nor can we restore the lives of the innocent by ending the lives of those convicted of their murders. The death penalty offers the tragic illusion that we can defend life by taking life.
— United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
“A Good Friday Appeal to End the Death Penalty”

In response to the Holy Father’s call to end the death penalty during his January 1999 visit to the U.S., the bishops issued A Good Friday Appeal to End the Death Penalty. They reiterated the Pope’s challenge to “end the death penalty which is both cruel and unnecessary.” They concluded that their opposition to the death penalty is about not only the act of killing a guilty person, but also the detrimental effect of institutionalizing violence in our society.

Abolition sends a message that we can break the cycle of violence, that we need not take life for life, that we can envisage more humane and more hopeful and effective responses to the growth of violent crime.

— United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

Death penalty facts

  • Approximately 3,300 people are on death row in the US; 89 of them in Tennessee.
  • Since executions were reinstated in 1977, over 130 death row inmates have been exonerated; 2 in Tennessee.
  • 90% of Tennessee’s death row inmates could not afford to hire their own defense at trial.
  • Inmates convicted of murdering a white person are more than 3 times as likely to be sentenced to death than those convicted of murdering an African-American.
  • Capital punishment is a far more expensive system than one whose maximum punishment is life without parole, diverting resources from real crime prevention efforts.
  • At least 5-10% of those on death row suffer from severe mental illness while at least 100 of those executed since 1977 suffered from some form of mental illness.
  • A recent survey of former and past presidents of top U.S. academic criminological societies show that 88% of these experts reject the notion that the death penalty acts as a deterrent to murder.

What you can do

  • Pray for victims of crime and their families, those who have been wrongly convicted, and those on death row and their families.
  • Educate people in your parish and community about Catholic social teachings and capital punishment.
  • Advocate by contacting your elected officials and joining together with Catholic and other religious and social justice groups.

Groups and resources

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 dysfunction. Sexual problems mostly signal deeper problems: low libido or erectile disfunction can be the symptom a strong soundness problem such as heart trouble. Albeit the erectile dysfunction itself isn’t necessarily dangerous, erectile dysfunction is sometimes one of the early warning symptoms of other underlying health conditions that can be very much 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.

Faith statement: Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Call to End Capital Punishment

Presbyterians, guided by Scripture, believe that God has deep concern for those who are held captive or imprisoned. Throughout the Hebrew texts and New Testament, the prophets, and later, Jesus, call attention to those who are languishing in prisons and jails—encouraging followers to visit them, to advocate for them, and to share in their suffering. Presbyterian General Assemblies have demonstrated concern for the imprisoned and those who have been sentenced to death by enacting policy statements over the past forty years beginning in 1959 and continuing in 1977, 1978, and 1985.

Capital punishment is an expression of vengeance which contradicts the justice of God on the cross
–190th General Assembly Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)

In 1959, the 171st General Assembly issued the statement, "believing that capital punishment cannot be condoned by an interpretation of the Bible based upon the revelation of God’s love in Jesus Christ," the Assembly called on Christians to "seek the redemption of evil doers and not their death," and noted that the "use of the death penalty tends to brutalize the society that condones it."
In 1977, the General Assembly went farther, calling upon its members to "work to prevent the execution of persons now under sentence of death and further use of the death penalty; work against attempts to reinstate the death penalty in state and federal law, and where such laws exist, to work for their repeal; and to work for the improvement of the justice system to make less radical means available for dealing with persons who are a serious threat to themselves and to the safety and welfare of society."

The Presbyterian Church has held a long-standing belief that capital punishment is wrong because it is contrary to God’s plan for humanity, it cheapens the value of human life, and it is not an effective way to reduce crime and violence.
—Clifton Kirkpatrick, Stated Clerk of the General Assembly

In 1985, the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) reaffirmed these earlier positions, declaring, "its continuing opposition to capital punishment." The 212th General Assembly (2000) also reaffirmed the position of the prior assemblies; called for an immediate moratorium on all executions in all jurisdictions that impose capital punishment; and directed the Stated Clerk of the General Assembly to communicate the call for an immediate moratorium and continuing opposition to the death penalty to the President of the United States, representatives in Congress, as well as to governors and legislators of the 37 states with persons awaiting execution.

What You Can Do

  • Pray for victims of crime and their families, those who have been wrongly convicted, and those on death row and their families.
  • Educate people in your congregation and community about the Presbyterian Church’s teachings on capital punishment. Talk to your pastor about your church’s involvement.
  • Advocate by contacting your elected officials and joining together with Presbyterian and other religious and social justice groups.

Groups and resources

Death penalty facts

  • Approximately 3,300 people are on death row in the US; 89 of them in Tennessee.
  • Since executions were reinstated in 1977, over 130 death row inmates have been exonerated; 2 in Tennessee.
  • 90% of Tennessee’s death row inmates could not afford to hire their own defense at trial.
  • Inmates convicted of murdering a white person are more than 3 times as likely to be sentenced to death than those convicted of murdering an African-American.
  • Capital punishment is a far more expensive system than one whose maximum punishment is life without parole, diverting resources from real crime prevention efforts.
  • At least 5-10% of those on death row suffer from severe mental illness while at least 100 of those executed since 1977 suffered from some form of mental illness.
  • A recent survey of former and past presidents of top U.S. academic criminological societies show that 88% of these experts reject the notion that the death penalty acts as a deterrent to murder.

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 appeal among men is the erectile dysfunction. Sexual problems mostly signal deeper problems: low libido or erectile disfunction can be the symptom a strong health problem such as heart trouble. Albeit the erectile malfunction itself isn’t necessarily dangerous, erectile malfunction is sometimes one of the early warning symptoms of other underlying health 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 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.

Speaking in Cleveland

On Wednesday, Jan 30, Rev. Stacy Rector and I were planning on speaking together at Northside Presbyterian Church in Cleveland, TN. Stacy would be handling the majority of the talk including the Biblical reflection of why the death penalty was wrong. I would be working a shorter segment, talking about TCASK and how folks could get involved. I strode into office yesterday morning excited about traveling to a new city, making new friends, and napping as Stacy drove (she likes to drive) to Cleveland and back. This excitement quickly turned into nervous anticipation as Stacy informed me that she would not be traveling to Cleveland and that I would be doing the talk alone.

When I talk to people about what I do for TCASK, often time people inquire about my involvement with the Church or if I am part of the Jesuit Volunteer Corps program. I do have involvement with a Church, but that wasn’t the reason I was brought onto TCASK. I have been working now for TCASK for over 7 months and while I have done many talks in a variety of settings, I have never led a Biblical talk/discussion solo. So as you may guess, I was definitely nervous. Stacy assured me that we would have time to prepare and that if I was humble about my experience and spoke slowly, the talk would go swimmingly.

I left Nashville just after 2:00 p.m. and arrived at Northside Presbyterian at 6:00 (you lose an hour traveling to Cleveland). We had a scrumptious supper of hot dogs, chili, baked beans, chips, cole slaw, and pie. Following dinner, I was on. Any apprehension I had was quickly dissolved as I saw the smiling faces looking back at me. It was exciting to speak to these folks on the death penalty on a level that they placed the highest regard. I was elated. Afterwards, I asked those present to sign up for the TCASK mailing list and to write a letter to Senator Dewayne Bunch. The purpose behind the letters was to let Sen. Bunch know that there were folks amongst his constituency that were against the death penalty and were in support of the work that he is doing as a member of the study committee. Almost everyone there signed up for our mailing list and I left with four hand written letters to the Senator.

The story that epitomizes how we would like folks to think about the death penalty in the Biblical sense comes from John 8: 2-11, the story of the woman caught in adultery. As a mob is preparing to stone this woman to death, which they had every right to do as law abiding citizens, Jesus intervenes. He addressed the crowd, “Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” The death penalty isn’t about those that are on death row and the terrible sins they have committed. Instead, it is about who we are, as people of faith, and how we respond faithfully in very painful situations.

The talk was a success and I now feel confident to do this again. Working for TCASK has presented me with many challenges and put me into situations of maximum uncomfort–I couldn’t ask for a more amazing experience right out of my undergraduate education.

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 malfunction can be the symptom a strong health problem such as heart trouble. Albeit the erectile dysfunction itself isn’t necessarily dangerous, erectile disfunction is sometimes one of the early warning symptoms of other underlying health 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.