Death Penalty Abolished in Maryland


The Death Penalty in America, 2011.

Church efforts underway in Delaware and elsewhere.
Unbound is happy to report this week Maryland became the sixth state in six years to abolish the death penalty, according to notification from Amnesty International and then NPR. We encourage our readers to help make the death penalty a very live issue during Holy Week, when we face the cross and the questionable judicial process that led to it.
In the video below, Pro­fes­sor Charles (Buz) Myers of Get­tys­burg Col­lege (PA) pro­vides a thor­ough Bib­li­cal ground­ing for efforts to end the death penalty. Dr. Myers’ pre­sen­ta­tion is very engag­ing and can be viewed below at 70 min­utes in its entirety. It includes a frank treatment of the crucifixion. Consider sharing a link to this YouTube in your friends and in your church’s weekly email notes to your congregation.
State efforts depend on anti-death penalty coalitions, which often overlap with prison reform and prison ministry groups. Some focus on the number of innocent people condemned to death, some intimidated into false confessions. Others focus simply on the limitations of “eye for an eye” responses, and the hope of redemption we proclaim for all people, based in God’s grace. The testimony of pastors and of bodies like presbyteries can be influential. Rev. Bruce Gillette (whose Limestone Presbyterian Church hosted the Myers presentation) has testified before the Delaware legislature. We encourage readers to Google up their own state coalitions.
Among resources on the death penalty, Unbound would lift up the following:

  1. The policy of the General Assembly on the death penalty.
  2. A Resolution  on the Death Penalty by New Castle Presbytery.
  3. A theological argument supportive of the Assembly’s position by the late Rev. John Leith of Union Presbyterian Seminary.
  4. The Criminal Justice Network of the PHEWA, the Presbyterian Health, Justice, and Welfare Association.


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