Russ Feingold

It's just really tragic that after all the horrors of the last 1,000 years, we can't leave behind something as primitive as government sponsored execution.

-Russ Feingold

Aberon Waugh

The main objection to killing people as a that killing people is wrong.

-Aberon Waugh

Supreme Court Justice Harry A. Blackmun

From this day forward, I no longer shall tinker with the machinery of death.

-Supreme Court Justice Harry A. Blackmun

John Donne

Any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind.

-John Donne

Helen Prejean

Government... can't be trusted to control its own bureaucrats or collect taxes equitably or fill a pothole, much less decide which of it's citizens to kill.

-Sister Helen Prejean

Oregon Synod-Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

September 11, 2010

Dear Friends,

"Violent crime has a powerful, corrosive effect on society . . The human community is saddened by violence, and angered by the injustice involved. We want to hold accountable those who violate life, who violate society. Our sadness and anger, however, make us vulnerable to feelings of revenge. Our frustration with the complex problems contributing to violence may make us long for simple solutions. Such are the circumstances under which we, as the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, speak to the death penalty."

These words are from the most recent social statement on the death penalty issued by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. We are a Christian community of some 4.5 million Christians in the U.S., Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. I serve as the bishop in Oregon.

Lutheran Christians recognize and respect the authority of the state to order society through laws and consequences for violent behavior. However, we speak against the death penalty because of deep concerns with its implementation. Implementation of the death penalty in the U.S. has consistently been shown to be unfair, to fail in its attempt to end cycles of violence, and to be used in public discourse to further agendas of hatred and revenge. The death penalty does not further healing, hope or harmony for citizen of this country.

With this goal in mind, as the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America speaks against the death penalty, it also commits itself to be a place of healing and hope for victims of violent crimes. We support and value the voices of those who work in prisons, as police officers and in our court system. We actively pursue prison ministries and the rehabilitation of  offenders. And, as on ongoing community of moral liberation, we pledge our ongoing participation with all who pursue clarity and understanding in difficult times.

Please join us in our common struggle to end violence and lift up healing for all.


Bishop Dave Brauer-Rieke
Oregon Synod-Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


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