Editor’s Note: Our friends and co-conspirators at Death Penalty Action have invited Christian Faith Leaders to sign the petition below. You’ll also find several resources for taking action following the petition language.
All Members of Congress & President Biden:
As Christian faith leaders, we are calling upon Congress to support and pass the Federal Death Penalty Prohibition Act of 2021. We are committed to policies rooted in justice and equity, grounded in the promise of redemption. Our stance on the issue is grounded first and foremost in foundational biblical and Christian principles. We have also relied on empirical evidence supported by data and research; and taken into consideration the real impact of what it means to be a country predicated on murder, punishment, and retribution. The words “Equal Justice Under Law” are carved into the face of our U.S. Supreme Court building, and yet by any measure we have not achieved that lofty goal. Only 2% of the counties in the U.S. have been responsible for the majority of cases leading to executions since 1976. 75 percent of the cases involve the murder of white victims, even though blacks and whites are about equally likely to be victims of murder. God commands us to judge fairly, however race, economics, politics and geography are far greater determining factors than the severity of crime.
We believe in the intrinsic worth of all life, and in the dignity of human personhood, that are gifts of God. We believe ALL are redeemable. The death penalty undermines the process of redemption and healing.
We hold deep love and respect for victims and the impact on society, and we most certainly are not opposed to accountability for rightfully convicted persons. However, we believe that the death penalty serves no moral purpose. Instead, it is an ineffective, expensive, and hollow instrument of death that offers no redemption, no closure, and no transformation.
Now is the time for our country to rid itself of this outdated and immoral method of punishment. Institutionalized killing contributes to the brutalization of society. Such a final and heinous decision should not be left to the discretion of flawed humans and a broken system too flawed to fix. As people motivated by faith and sparked by profound love for the common good, we are calling on members to stop executions in the United States and to support and pass the Federal Death Penalty Prohibition Act of 2021.
We have a real chance to end the policy that enabled the former president to rush the killing of the most prisoners in the shortest amount of time in over a century. The bill has already been introduced in the House (HR 262) by Rep. Ayanna Pressley and in the Senate (SB 582) by Sen. Dick Durbin.
Everyone who wants to abolish the death penalty is asked to help ensure your members of Congress sign on to the bills as co-sponsors, or at least commit to supporting them when they come up for a vote.
Follow the bill links to find out if your members of Congress are already co-sponsors or not:
View the current release (May 7, 2021) detailing the full list of Congressional co-sponsors and worldwide organizational endorsers.
How YOU Can Help End the Federal Death Penalty:
#1 – Use the simple letter writing tool to send a message to your Representative and Senators, and invite others to join you.
#2 – Take it to the next level: Write your members of congress in the postal mail, call them, reach them via social media, and follow and share Death Penalty Action posts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tik Tok. Click here to add our custom DPA frame (shown here) to your Facebook profile picture.
#3 – Encourage any organization, faith community, club, team, school group or business to sign the “Organizational Sign-On Letter” to Congress and join the coalition!
#4 – Urge faith leaders to sign any of our sign on letters:
- Christian Clergy and Leaders Sign On Letter
- Jewish Sign On Letter for Jewish Clergy
- Sign On Letter for Leaders from all Faiths
#5 – Bring a speaker to your class, group, conference, worship service, etc.
#6 – Help organize! Complete our volunteer form and join the DPA Organizing Team!
#7 – Click here to help fund this campaign (includes PayPal link), or send a check to PO Box 89, Ghent, NY 12075
#8 – Use the Federal Abolitionist Tool Kit! (see below)
The Federal Abolitionist Tool Kit:
Please use these tools to spread the word and take action.
- Graphics (.zip folder) that can be sent to others or posted on social media. Included are regular post graphics, banners, Facebook cover photos and more.
- Sample social media posts (.docx file) that you can copy and paste or use as a guide to writing your own. We recommend always including the #StopExecutions hashtag to amplify our voices together! You can also use #AbolishTheDeathPenalty & #DeathPenalty
- A letter writing tool (.docx file) that can help you in writing emails and handwritten letters to your members of Congress. In orange font are our notes to you and the places you fill in your own information. Feel free to go off script — these are just suggestions. We encourage you to get creative with organizing virtual letter writing parties with your networks and communities! Handwritten letters sent in the postal mail always make the most impact.
- A one-page flyer (.png file) that provides some background information on the need to abolish the federal death penalty.
- A sample newsletter article (.docx file) that you can use as a framework for writing an article in your organization’s newsletter.
- Faith leader resources (.zip folder) that include sample sermons, sermon templates and other helpful tools to call your religious congregation to action.
You can also download the entire tool kit (22 MB zip file) in one click.
International allies: If you have U.S. constituents on your lists or social media, please encourage them to use DPA’s tools for writing their members of Congress. If you have other connections in your own countries to businesses/business leaders, universities or people in government, please explore those relationships to find others who would express concern to their U.S. counterparts, and encourage such persons/entities to get involved in DPA’s campaign. For example, writing to the U.S. ambassador to your country would be a great help. If your organization knows individuals who may be inclined to support this work financially, such donations would be warmly welcomed as well!
We are so excited to have you on board and we are so ready to be rid of this inhumane policy. You can use the link to this page (bit.ly/DPAtoolkit) to share with your networks and communities! We also encourage following up with your members of Congress by phone and publishing letters to the editor and op-eds.
Additional things you can do:
Wear a death penalty abolition t-shirt, face mask, button or sticker – spark a conversation about what is going on with some visibility! Visit our merch site for options and pricing.
Educate yourself about the federal death penalty – The federal death penalty applies in all 50 states and U.S. territories but is used relatively rarely. 49 prisoners are currently on federal death row, most of whom are imprisoned in Terre Haute, Indiana. Until this year, three federal executions have been carried out in the modern era, all by lethal injection, with the previous one occurring in 2003. Learn more about the federal death penalty at deathpenaltyinfo.org.