taking the words of Jesus seriously

Since the election of Donald Trump two weeks ago, America’s streets have been filled with protesters determined to stand against the politics of hate and fear. Many activists and people of conscience are calling for mass protests and civil disobedience in DC around the inauguration in January.


Yes, this is a time for protest. But let’s be clear about the “pro” in our protest. What are we willing to sacrifice for in love?


I’m excited to join a coalition of activists and citizens who are committed to putting their bodies on the line for life.


On January 17th of next year, we’re inviting folks to join us in DC to protest on behalf of our sisters and brothers who’ve been condemned to die.


It’s important to note that the death penalty is dying in America. Death sentences are the lowest they’ve been in 40 years, and executions are the lowest they’ve been in 25 years. In 2016, nearly all the executions in the US have been in only 2 states.


But every execution is an unnecessary mistake. We can do better than killing to show that killing is wrong. For the first time in decades, a majority of Americans are ready to find alternatives to the death penalty.


We want to be the generation to end the death penalty, once and for all.


Some of us, though not all, will be risking arrest as we gather on January 17, 2017. We will be participating in the rich tradition of nonviolent civil disobedience – a recurring theme throughout the Hebrew Scriptures and the New Testament, a common practice of Christians and others over the centuries, and something that we have seen shape history from the fall of Apartheid in South Africa to Gandhi’s movement in India, to the Civil Rights Movement and Underground Railroad here in the United States.


January 17 will be the 40th anniversary of the first “modern-era” execution, after our courts ruled in favor of the death penalty following a decade-long moratorium. On January 17, 1977, Gary Gilmore was executed by firing squad in Utah in revenge for his murders of Max Jenson and Ben Bushnell.


Over the years since 1977, January 17 has become an iconic day for people seeking alternatives to the death penalty and a halt to all executions. This year, our day of action falls between Martin Luther King Day (Jan.16) and the Presidential inauguration (Jan.20). It will be a powerful convergence of faith leaders, activists, clergy, murder victim’s family members, families of the executed, and folks exonerated after being wrongfully-sentenced to death. I hope you will join the action.


If you are interested in participating in this public witness, please register online and indicate what role you intend to have (i.e. whether you will be risking arrest). We will be in touch with all the details.

About The Author


Shane Claiborne is a best-selling author, renowned activist,
 sought-after speaker, and self-proclaimed “recovering sinner.” Shane writes and speaks around the world about peacemaking, social justice, and Jesus, and is the author of several books, 
including "The Irresistible Revolution," "Jesus for President," "Executing Grace," "Beating Guns," and his newest book, "Rethinking Life (released in Feb 2023)." He is the visionary leader of The Simple Way in Philadelphia and co-director of Red Letter Christians. His work has been featured in Fox News, Esquire, SPIN, TIME, the Wall Street Journal, NPR, and CNN.

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