California Episcopal bishops issue statement supporting Proposition 62, repeal of death penalty

Posted Oct 14, 2016

Episcopal bishops from all six dioceses in California have issued a statement supporting Proposition 62, which, if passed, would repeal the death penalty in the state. The statement follows.

Grace and peace to you, in the Name of Jesus Christ. We are the bishops of the six dioceses of the Episcopal Church in California. We believe that the citizens of our state face a profound moral choice this November in the form of Proposition 62. That measure, if approved, will end the death penalty in our state, replacing it with a sentence of life without parole.

While we acknowledge that this may be an issue on which reasonable people of good faith might disagree, we want to reaffirm emphatically our Church’s opposition to the death penalty, a position first officially stated by our General Convention in 1958. Then, and in subsequent statements, the Episcopal Church has based its opposition to the death penalty in our understanding of God’s justice, our regard for the sacredness of human life, our commitment to respect the dignity of every human being, our desire to seek and serve Christ in all persons, and our mission to continue Christ’s work of reconciliation in this world.

It is from this position of faith that our Church has repeatedly called upon all its members “to work actively to abolish the death penalty in their states.” In 2012, when a proposition was put before California voters for the repeal of the death penalty, the Episcopal bishops issued this same call. We now repeat that call, and ask for your support of Proposition 62.

We also wish to acknowledge with grateful hearts all our fellow citizens, people of many different religious commitments, or of no religion, who are working to accomplish this goal. We pray that our combined efforts will at long last result in the end of the death penalty in California, and we pray God’s blessing upon all.

The Bishops in the State of California:

The Rt. Rev. Barry L. Beisner, the Episcopal Diocese of Northern California
The Rt. Rev. Marc Andrus, the Episcopal Diocese of California
The Rt. Rev. Mary Gray-Reeves, the Episcopal Diocese of El Camino Real
The Rt. Rev. David C. Rice, the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin
The Rt. Rev. J. Jon Bruno and the Rt. Rev. Diane Jardine Bruce, the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles
The Rt. Rev. James R. Mathes, the Episcopal Diocese of San Diego

Comments (2)

  1. Roger D White says:

    It is deeply disquieting that while murderers of human life can escape the death penalty by this kind of approach but that totally innocent human life can be taken so readily in the form of abortion, about which this church is so quietly supportive. Late-term abortions at the very least should be aggressively opposed by the church, but again nothing but silence while the death penalty for utterly evil acts is opposed by statements such as this. Something is badly wrong here.

  2. Patricia Conroy says:

    Sadly, innocent people have been convicted by our courts, and some have been executed. Our system is not perfect, nor is it always unbiased. Sentencing someone to prison for a crime he or she did not commit is a tragedy. Executing the wrong persin is beyond tragic, and can never be undone.

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