In Light of Oklahoma, a Call to Prayer and Action PDF Print E-mail

Statement of People of Faith Against the Death Penalty 

on the Execution of Clayton Lockett in Oklahoma

APRIL 30, 2014 – This past week the National Academy of Sciences released a study showing that one out of every 25 people sentenced to death in America is innocent. Yesterday the state of Oklahoma used a undisclosed combination of drugs in an execution that witnesses described as "torture" and that left the prisoner, Clayton Lockett, "writhing and shaking uncontrollably" on the gurney. Mr. Lockett died of a heart attack 43 minutes after the first injection.

Most of the world has now abandoned the death penalty. Courts across the country have stayed executions because execution protocols lead to what amounts to cruel and unusual punishment. The deep-rooted legacy of racial bias continues to infect capital trials and jury decisions. As an interfaith organization, People of Faith Against the Death Penalty views America's death penalty as remaining morally, ethically, and theologically wrong in the first place. Despite efforts to reform it, our country's death penalty continues to be an expensive, error-prone, haphazard maze of unfair practices with no internal consistency that strays far beyond standards of justice and decency upheld by virtually all faith traditions in the United States and the world. We know that states and countries without the death penalty have lower murder rates. We know that the death penalty eliminates the possibility of many prisoners to achieve redemption and repentance.

Our country now has an ever-growing movement for abolition. Death sentencing rates have plummeted and every year another state repeals the death penalty. For six decades most of America's largest religious communities have been calling for repeal of the death penalty based on moral and theological grounds. More and more, communities of faith are taking leadership roles in state campaigns for repeal.

Those of us opposed to the death penalty have many reasons for hope – and for prayer and action.

Based on a shared ethic of restorative justice and an appreciation for the preciousness of human life, People of Faith Against the Death Penalty encourages communities of faith and lay and pastoral leaders to pray over, discern, and act to unbind our country from the death penalty. We join with religious leaders across the country in encouraging faith communities to contribute their voices and their resources to all state and national campaigns for repeal.

We pray for Stephanie Nieman, brutally murdered by Mr. Lockett, and her family. We pray for Ladonna Hollins, Clayton Lockett's mother, and her family. We pray for healing for the community, and for our country.

How many more innocents will be condemned in our names before we end the death penalty? How many more people will be tortured to death during executions? How long will we allow our prisons to perpetuate the cycles of violence in our communities?
Condemning and Executing the Innocent PDF Print E-mail

April 29, 2014 

1 in 25

For every 25 people condemned to death in the United States one of them is innocent. Most of those innocent people had their death sentences commuted to life imprisonment and their cases no longer receive the scrutiny death penalty cases receive.

So says a new study published by the National Academy of Sciences.

"If all death-sentenced defendants remained under sentence of death indefinitely at least 4.1% would be exonerated," study authors write in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. "We conclude that this is a conservative estimate of the proportion of false conviction among death sentences in the United States." Click here to read the study itself.

The great majority of innocent people who are sentenced to death are never identified and freed, says professor Samuel Gross of the University of Michigan Law School, the study's lead author, in an article by the AP.

The difficulty in identifying innocent prisoners stems from the fact that more than 60 percent of prisoners in death penalty cases ultimately are removed from death row and re-sentenced to life imprisonment. Once that happens, their cases no longer receive the exhaustive reviews that the legal system provides for those on death row, the study concludes.

"The high rate of exoneration among death-sentenced defendants appears to be driven by the threat of execution," says the study. "But most death-sentenced defendants are removed from death row and re-sentenced to life imprisonment, after which the likelihood of exoneration drops sharply."
More Repeal Resolutions in North Carolina PDF Print E-mail

970 and Counting

In North Carolina we have more than 970 resolutions to repeal the death penalty! Most are from locally owned businesses in all 100 counties. We are very grateful to these local business owners who are willing to speak out for their communities and their state.

Has your favorite business passed a resolution? Has your congregation? Your student government? Click here to find out more and get involved today.
Kansas Death Penalty Hearing Touches Deep Emotions PDF Print E-mail
From the Kansas City Star

TOPEKA — In a two-hour hearing of tearful testimony from families of victims and men falsely convicted of murder, state senators got their first look at a bill to repeal the death penalty in Kansas.

Read more here.
NH Religious Leaders Call for Death Penalty Repeal PDF Print E-mail
Religious leaders, police officers, attorneys and family members of homicide victims urged New Hampshire lawmakers this month to repeal the state's death penalty law.

Read more here.

New Poll PDF Print E-mail
Younger Christians Less Supportive of the Death Penalty

Jan. 2014 - Only 23 percent of practicing Christian millennials support the death penalty, according to a new poll reported on by the Religion News Service. Read the full article here.
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