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A PRAYER TO ABOLISH THE DEATH PENALTY

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					  A PRAYER TO ABOLISH
  THE DEATH PENALTY
                                 By Helen Prejean, csj

                                  God of Compassion,
                   You let your rain fall on the just and the unjust.
                             Expand and deepen our hearts
                            so that we may love as You love,
                                  even those among us
                   who have caused the greatest pain by taking life.
                   For there is in our land a great cry for vengeance
                      as we fill up death rows and kill the killers
                     in the name of justice, in the name of peace.
                                   Jesus, our brother,
                    you suffered execution at the hands of the state
                       but you did not let hatred overcome you.
                      Help us to reach out to victims of violence
                    so that our enduring love may help them heal.
                                   Holy Spirit of God,
                     You strengthen us in the struggle for justice.
                               Help us to work tirelessly
                      for the abolition of state-sanctioned death
                       and to renew our society in its very heart
                           so that violence will be no more.
                                          Amen




UNDER THE LAW
In 1972, the Supreme Court of the United States of America declared that “the imposition and carrying out of the Death Penalty... constitutes
cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments.” In this decision, based on Furman v. Georgia, the
majority of the Court focused its objectives on the way death penalty laws had
been applied.The members of the Court found the result so “harsh, freakish, and
arbitrary” as to be constitutionally unacceptable.

However, in 1976, the Supreme Court moved in the opposite direction, deciding
“the punishment of death does not invariably violate the Constitution.”

Executions resumed in 1977.

Since that time more than 700 people have received lethal injections, while
almost 200 others have been electrocuted, gassed, hanged or shot by a firing
squad. More than 300 of those have been executed in the state of Texas.                                                                                                         ST
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                                                                                                                                                                                                             ictims are people with many needs.Those needs may be spiritual, physical,




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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Dead Man Walking – Sr. Helen Prejean




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                                                                                                                                                                                                             and emotional.Victims and their families should be in our prayers always.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Actual Innocence – Berry Scheck et al
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The abolition of the death penalty in no way lessens our sympathy, love
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The Rope,the Chair,and the Needle –
                                                                                                                                                                                                             and need to reach out to them. It is simply removing the false expectation that
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    James Marquart et al
          he Congregation of the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word, Houston,Texas has taken a Public Stance                                                                                           the murder of another human being will somehow remove all hurt or return
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Legal Lynching – Rev. Jesse Jackson
          against the Death Penalty by a vote of the total membership.This decision came after a two-year process in which                                                                                   a lost loved one.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    In Spite of Innocence – Michael Radelet et al
          all members of the Congregation participated in prayer, discussion and workshops on the issue.With the deepest                                                                                                                                                                            Against the Death Penalty – Gardner Hanks
          compassion we reach out to families of both victims and perpetrators, supporting them in their loss and pain.                                                                                                                                                                             Who Owns Death? Capital Punishment,the American
                   Our belief in the teachings of Jesus Christ that we must seek justice with mercy and forgiveness, and our                                                                   TAKE ACTION                                                                                          Conscience and the End of Executions – Robert Jay
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Lifton and Greg Mitchell
          solidarity with those who respect all of life compelled us to take this stance.We publicly declare our opposition to                                                                                                                                                                      When the State Kills:Capital Punishment and the
                                                                                                                                                                                               ADOPT A DEATH ROW INMATE
the death penalty and we will work to bring about a moratorium and eventual abolition of the death penalty.                                                                                                                                                                                         American Condition – Austin Sarat
                                                                                                                                                                                               The names of Death Row inmates are available on a variety of websites or by calling the prison
         This publication has been produced as a demonstration of our commitment. It includes reflections from many                                                                                                                                                                                 The Wrong Man:A True Story of Innocence on Death
                                                                                                                                                                                               system of states where the death penalty is still permitted.Write a letter of support to an inmate
faiths and personal stories by those whose loved ones have been touched by violence, as well as families of those on death                                                                                                                                                                          Row – Michael Mello
                                                                                                                                                                                               or send that person a card. Send a birthday card. Let the inmate know that he or she is included
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Don’t Kill in our Name – Rachel King
row.We have also included specific actions YOU can take to improve our justice system, to call for a moratorium on the                                                                         in your prayers.
death penalty, and be in solidarity with families of victims and those on death row. By joining together in our efforts, we
add strength to our unified voice of love and compassion toward all of God’s children.
                                                                                                                                                                                               PRAY FOR VICTIMS OF VIOLENCE, DEATH ROW INMATES AND THEIR FAMILIES
                                                                                                                                                                                               In your own prayers remember those who are on death row and their families as well as the
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    WEBSITES
         Carefully read this publication and use it as a reference.The center page may be removed as a poster, and we urge                                                                     victims of violence.There is so much suffering, please offer your own prayers to ease the pain of
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Death Penalty Information Center:
you to display it prominently.                                                                                                                                                                 all involved.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    www.deathpenaltyinfo.org
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    National Coalition to Abolish the Death
                                                                                                                                                                                               COLLECT AND SHARE INFORMATION
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Penalty: www.ncadp.org
                                                                                                                                           Sister Margaret Bulmer, CCVI                        There are many good books, brochures and websites with information in support of abolishing
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Amnesty International:
                                                                                                                                                         Legislative and Community Advocacy    the death penalty. Read all you can to educate yourself.As you come across stories or facts of
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    www.amnestyusa.org/abolish/
                                                                                                                                            Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word,Houston   interest, make copies and send them to others. Keep the flow of interest going.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Death Penalty News / Updates:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    http://people.smu.edu/rhalperi/
                                                                                                                                                                                               ATTEND A PRAYER VIGIL
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Equal Justice USA: www.quixote.org/ej
                                                                                                                                                                                               Check your local newspaper or church bulletin for the times and locations of Prayer Vigils. Some
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty:
                                                                                                                                                                                               are offered on the actual day of executions and others at specific times during the month. If
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    www.tcadp.org
                                                                                                                                                                                               there are no Prayer Vigils in your area, organize one.
A VICTIM OF THE DEATH PENALTY                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Moratorium Campaign:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    www.moratoriumcampaign.org
                                                                                                                                                                                               CONTACT LEGISLATORS TO EXPRESS YOUR OPPOSITION TO THE DEATH PENALTY
      A crucified Jesus Christ, an innocent victim of the death penalty, is cradled in his mother’s arms in Michelangelo’s famous Piata. Mary, his mother,                                     There are many form letters available on the Internet, but a personal letter straight from your
looks on his limp body with overwhelming sorrow. Her son was held as a common prisoner and executed in accordance with the law of the day by                                                   heart is the best. Call or write your legislators and do it regularly.
crucifixion.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           S O F C H A RI T
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      Pontius Pilate, the Roman Governor of Judea, could find no fault with Jesus. For political expedience, he simply washed his hands                                                        HOST A PROGRAM ABOUT THE DEATH PENALTY IN YOUR                                                                                    ST




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to cleanse himself of the decision to kill him.                                                                                                                                                CONGREGATION/CHURCH/SYNAGOGUE




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      Today the method of execution has changed, but people in the United States of America continue to be put to death                                                                        Contact your priest, minister or rabbi about hosting a program. Guest speakers through a variety




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under the auspices of the judiciary system.                                                                                                                                                    of organizations are often available. If you can’t find anyone, present the information yourself.




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      How can we, as a society, continue to permit the legal taking of a human life?
      By ignoring the death penalty, are we simply washing our hands while allowing this inhumane act to continue?                                                                             CIRCULATE PETITIONS CALLING FOR A MORATORIUM ON THE DEATH PENALTY
      Will you merely stand by or are you willing to take action to stop the killings?                                                                                                         Collect signatures yourself and send them to your legislators.Together our voices will be heard.




CONGREGATION OF THE SISTERS OF CHARIT Y OF THE INCARNATE WORD HOUSTON, TE XA S                                                                                                                 CONGREGATION OF THE SISTERS OF CHARIT Y OF THE INCARNATE WORD HOUSTON, TE XA S
                                                    BILL VAUGHT, Buda,Texas
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                OUR CORPORATE                                                                                                               ALTERNATIVES
                                                    “Executions also cause pain to the families of the person being executed.A lot of the time we’re treated as if we too had committed the crime,and
                                                    people don’t respect us or our suffering.But we feel the loss of our family member and that loss is real for us.”
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                STANCE ON THE                                                                                                               The legal taking of a life will not bring back the
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            life of a victim. More suffering does not alleviate

                                                   Bill Vaught’s brother John Wheat was executed by the State of Texas in June 2001. Bill, a member of the
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                ABOLITION OF THE                                                                                                            suffering.

                                                 Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty and the Texas Moratorium Network, promised his brother he                                                                         DEATH PENALTY                                                                                                               Abolishing the death penalty does not mean that
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            murderers are simply released back into society.
                                                 would do everything he could to abolish the death penalty. He has participated in local MVFR events, testified                                                                                                                                                                                             Incarceration for life is an alternative for those who
                                                 before the state legislature and, for three years in a row, taken part in Texas’s annual Moratorium March.                                                                                                                                                                                                 have been proven in a fair court of law to have
Bill says, “People who have committed crimes are human beings too.It would be more useful for society if,instead of killing them,we learned from them about how we can prevent other crimes                                                                                                                                                                 committed murder and show no remorse.
from happening in the future.”                                                                                                                                                                                                                  e, the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word, Houston,Texas
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                are called to reverence life in all its forms from conception to natural
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                death.At this time in our history, we see everywhere a growing disregard
                                                    BUD WELCH, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma                                                                                                                                                          for the sacredness of human life.

                                                    “I was opposed to the death penalty all my life until my daughter Julie Marie was killed in the Oklahoma City bombing.For many months
                                                    after the bombing,I could have killed Timothy McVeigh myself.Temporary insanity is real,and I lived it.You can’t think of enough adjectives to                              WE ARE CHALLENGED TO REVERENCE ALL OF LIFE AND DECLARE
                                                    describe the rage,revenge,and hate I felt.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                OUR OPPOSITION TO THE DEATH PENALTY.
                                                    But after time,I was able to examine my conscience,and I realized that if McVeigh were put to death,it wouldn’t help me in the healing process.
                                                    People talk about execution bringing ‘closure. But how can there be closure when my little girl is never coming back?
                                                                                                 ’                                                                                                                                     The United States Catholic Bishops have stated: “Jesus Christ taught us to seek justice with mercy,to                                                 No Death Penalty
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            No Death Penalty
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                love our enemies and to pray for those that persecute us. We add our voice to the public debate on the issue of the death                                    Death Penalty
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Death Penalty
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             Source:FBI
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Source:FBI
I finally realized that the death penalty is all about revenge and hate,and revenge and hate are why Julie and 167 others are dead.”                                                                                            penalty in hopes that we will not harden our hearts in the face of unspeakable violence,but will eventually decide that
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                the best response to violence and death is the biblical call to choose life.”
      In April 1995, Bud Welch’s 23-year-old daughter Julie Marie was killed in the bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. In the                                                                                                                                                                                                         RACIAL IMBALANCE
months after her death, Bud changed from supporting the death penalty for bomber Timothy McVeigh to taking a public stand against it. His change of                                                                             s We stand in solidarity with Pope John Paul II, the United States Catholic
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Conference of Bishops, the Leadership Conference of Women Religious,                                                      Racial discrimination was one of the points made
heart was inspired in part by Julie herself. Once, while listening to a radio report on an execution in Texas, she had turned to Bud and said, “Dad,that                                                                                                                                                                                                    by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1972 in condemning
makes me sick.All those Texans are doing is teaching all the children down there to hate.The murderer did wrong,but now the government has stooped to his level.”                                                                 the Conference of Major Superiors of Men and other Religious traditions who
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            the death penalty.
      Bud eventually arranged to meet with Timothy McVeigh’s father, Bill. “I saw a deep pain in a father’s eye, but also an incredible love for his son,”                                                                        have called for the abolition of the death penalty on religious, moral or
Bud says. “I was able to tell him that I truly understood the pain that he was going through,and that he – as I – was a victim of what had happened in Oklahoma City.” Bud spoke out                                              humanitarian grounds.                                                                                                     Studies have shown that African, Hispanic and
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Native Americans are often treated more harshly than
against McVeigh’s execution up until the day it happened, and he now continues to speak against the death penalty throughout the U.S. and abroad.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                s We believe that life in prison without parole is an effective and viable alternative                                      other citizens in their encounters with the criminal
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  to the death penalty.                                                                                                     justice system.
                                                                                                                                                  Stories courtesy of: David Atwood,Texas Coalition Against the Death Penalty

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Between 1930 and 1990, 4,016 persons were
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                s We pledge to address the roots of violence, the inequities in our justice system                                          executed in the USA. Of these, 2,129 (or 53 percent)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  and call for reform in our prison systems.                                                                                were African American. From 1930 to 1976, 405 (or
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            90 percent) of those executed for rape were African
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                s Through prayer and support, we will reach out in compassion to families of                                                American. During these same years, African
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  both victims and perpetrators, supporting them in their loss and pain.                                                    Americans accounted for only about 12 percent of
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            the nation’s population.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                s We will work with others to call for an immediate moratorium on the death
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  penalty and do all we can to bring about the abolition of the death penalty
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  in our country.                                                                                                           NO ROOM FOR ERROR
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Since 1900, in the USA, there have been on the
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            average more than four cases per year in which an
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            entirely innocent person was convicted of murder.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The death penalty is uniquely irrevocable.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            When an error occurs, there is no return from
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            this punishment.

CONGREGATION OF THE SISTERS OF CHARIT Y OF THE INCARNATE WORD HOUSTON, TE XA S                                                                                                                                                  CONGREGATION OF THE SISTERS OF CHARIT Y OF THE INCARNATE WORD HOUSTON, TE XA S
REFLECTIONS FROM                                                                                                                                                                                        KEN & LOIS ROBISON, Burleson,Texas


VARIOUS RELIGIOUS LEADERS                                                                                                                                                                               “Larry was diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic at the age of 21.Our family tried in vain to get him proper treatment.Mental health
                                                                                                                                                                                                        professionals told us that he was not well and would get worse without treatment,but hospitals routinely discharged him after 30-day stays
                                                                                                                                                                                                        because he was ‘not violent’and they ‘needed the bed. We were told that if he became violent,he could get the long term treatment that everyone
                                                                                                                                                                                                        agreed he needed.
               Within Buddhism,there are ten fundamental precepts,and the first precept is “I am reverential and mindful of all life.I am not violent.I do not kill.”
               And that pretty well sums it up.
                                                                                                                                                                                                        Our son’s first and only act of violence was to kill five people.Despite his well-documented history of mental illness,he was found sane and
                                                                                                                     Kabutsu Shindo, Rinzai Zen Buddhist Priest
                                                                                                                                                                                                        sentenced to die.The state of Texas executed him February 21,2000.How can a modern,civilized society choose to exterminate its ill citizens
                                                                                                                                                                                                        rather than treat them?”
               A sign of hope is the increasing recognition that the dignity of human life must never be taken away,even in the case of someone who has done great evil.
               Modern society has the means of protecting itself,without definitively denying criminals the chance to reform.                                                                                 Ken and Lois Robison believe that appropriate treatment is the only way to prevent mentally ill persons from committing acts of violence. Nearly a
               I renew the appeal I made most recently at Christmas for a consensus to end the death penalty,which is both cruel and unnecessary.                                                       third of the people on death row now are either mentally ill or mentally retarded.The Robisons believe that until preventative medical help is available,
                                                                                                                                                  Pope John Paul II                                     tragedies will only continue. Ken and Lois are the past directors of HOPE, an issue chapter of National CURE focusing on opposing the death penalty.
                                                                                                                                                                                                        They serve on the board of Texas CURE. Ken is a retired college teacher and Lois is a retired elementary teacher.
                                                                                                                                                                                                        They have eight children, fifteen grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren.
               Capital punishment is an absolutely crazy idea.It’s a spiritual impossibility and a cruel hoax that is sold to the families of victims.They are so
               vulnerable;the easiest thing to sell them is anger.It’s the biggest disservice we do to them.It guarantees them a life of pain.The only possible healing
               comes through forgiveness.The hard choice is the only one that works.                                                                                                                    KERRY MAX COOK, New York City, New York
                                                                                                           Rabbi Alan Lew, Congregation of Beth Shalom,San Francisco
                                                                                                                                                                                                        “In the initial months following my brother’s brutal,senseless murder in Longview,Texas,I was overwhelmed by the feeling that I wanted swift
               Not in my name do you take life.Not in my name...                                                                                                                                        and decisive punishment for his perpetrator.However,through my experience,I found out that in order to want the death penalty for him I had
                                                                                 Sister Camille D’Arienzo, Roman Catholic Nun,drafter of the Declaration of Life                                        to want it for innocent people as well,because that is the collateral damage of the death penalty.”

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Kerry Max Cook spent over 20 years on death row in Texas for a rape and murder he did not commit.
               We can do good to those who hurt us. We can refuse to exchange evil for evil but instead exchange good for evil. The death penalty expresses anger,                                      While he was in prison, his own brother was murdered, forcing Kerry to examine his feelings about the death
               coldly and cruelly.It teaches murder. We must unteach murder to be safe from murderers.                                                                                                  penalty from the perspective of a victim’s family member as well.After his release in 1997, Kerry began speaking out against the death penalty, locally
                                                                                  Rev. Donna Schaper, Massachusetts Conference of the United Church of Christ                                           and abroad. He particularly chooses to address groups who favor the death penalty, because he believes this is where he can have the most impact. Kerry
                                                                                                                                                                                                        is the proud father of a young son, Kerry Justice Cook.
               The abolition of the death penalty is making us a civilized society. It shows we actually mean business when we say we have reverence for life.
                                                                                                                                   Archbishop Desmond Tutu
                                                                                                                                                                                                        BILL PELKE,Anchorage,Alaska

               Look at who Jesus hung out with:lepers,prostitutes,thieves,the throwaways of His day. If we call ourselves Jesus’Disciples,we too have to keep                                           “The answer is love and compassion for all humanity.The answer is to love those who hate you,to love those who persecute you,and to love those
               ministering to the marginated,the throwaways,the lepers of today. And there are no more marginated,throwaway and leprous people in our society                                           who do all manner of evil against you.I am a Christian,and Jesus said whosoever has no sin,cast the first stone.Under that criterion,none of us
               than death row inmates.                                                                                                                                                                  can cast the stone of death.”
                                                                                                                                             Sister Helen Prejean
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Bill Pelke’s 78-year-old grandmother Ruth taught Bible lessons to neighborhood children in Gary, Indiana.
               Having lost my father and grandmother to gun violence,I well understand the deep hurt and anger felt by the loved ones of those who have been                                            One day in May 1985, four ninth grade girls from the local high school came to her door asking about the
                                                                                                                                                                                                        lessons, and she invited them into her home.As she turned to get information for them, one grabbed a vase and hit her over the head.Another grabbed
               murdered. Yet,I can’t accept the judgment that their killers deserve to be executed. This merely perpetuates the tragic,unending cycle of violence that
                                                                                                                                                                                                        a knife and began to stab her – a total of 33 times.While one held the knife inside her, the others ransacked her house.They ended up with $10 and a
               destroys our hope for a decent society.
                                                                                                                                                                                                        ten-year-old car.
                                                                                                                                               Rev. Bernice A. King
                                                                                                                                                                                                              A year later, one of the girls, Paula Cooper, was sentenced to death for the crime. She had been 15 when the murder occurred, and at 16 became
                                                                                                                                                                                                        the youngest female on Death Row in America. Originally supportive of Paula’s death sentence, Bill eventually forgave Paula, began corresponding and
               What does it say about the quality of life when people celebrate the death of another human being?                                                                                       visiting with her, and worked to overturn her sentence. She is now serving 60 years in prison. Bill retired in 1997 after over 30 years of service with
                                                                                                         Rev.Angelo Anthony, Missionaries of the Precious Blood                                         Bethlehem Steel, and now devotes his retirement to abolish the death penalty. He is one of the founders of “The Journey of Hope... from Violence to
                                                                                                                                                                                                        Healing,” a group of victim’s family members who travel the country speaking out against the death penalty and spreading the message of forgiveness
                                                                                                                     These reflections are courtesy of Religious Organizing Against the Death Penalty   and hope.


CONGREGATION OF THE SISTERS OF CHARIT Y OF THE INCARNATE WORD HOUSTON, TE XA S                                                                                                                          CONGREGATION OF THE SISTERS OF CHARIT Y OF THE INCARNATE WORD HOUSTON, TE XA S
                             CAROL BYARS, Houston,Texas
                                                                                                                                                                                                           A VOICE OF REASON:
                             “It is past time for being silent about the death penalty.In Texas we’re executing record numbers each year.Things have gotten so bad because people have all been silent
                             and let things get bad.We are told so many times that we are not supposed to forgive – that when people do horrible things to us we should do something just as bad
                                                                                                                                                                                                           THE FAMILIES OF VICTIMS’ OPPOSITION
                             in retribution.Those of us who know better – those of us who know the power of forgiveness – need to speak up.Every chance we get,we need to challenge the
                             mentality that compassion is a weakness.Compassion is the toughest thing of all,but it’s the only thing that works to restore peace in our lives.”
                                                                                                                                                                                                           TO THE DEATH PENALTY
                                                                                                                                                                                                           MARIETTA JAEGER LANE,Three Forks, Montana
                                         Carol Byar’s husband, James Hapney, was shot in 1977 by his mother’s next-door neighbor during an altercation. He
                              died from his wounds eight months later. Carol’s mother-in-law immediately urged family members to get guns and retaliate,
                                                                                                                                                                                                           “Loved ones,wrenched from our lives by violent crime,deserve more beautiful,noble,and honorable memorials than premeditated,state-sanctioned
but Carol knew even then that she wanted nothing to do with vengeance. “There had been enough bloodshed,” she says.
                                                                                                                                                                                                           killings.The death penalty only created more victims and more grieving families.By becoming that which we deplore – people who kill people –
      In court, Carol observed the man who was ultimately convicted of the crime and sentenced to life in prison. “I remember thinking he had the face of a baby,”
                                                                                                                                                                                                           we insult the sacred memory of all our precious victims.”
she recalls, “and I remember thinking about how he had a mama,and a young wife,and babies of his own.I couldn’t imagine his mother watching her child being put to death,or his children
watching their father being put to death.I never wanted that.”
                                                                                                                                                                                                                Marietta Jaeger Lane’s daughter Susie was abducted at the age of seven during a family camping trip to
      Years later, Carol tried to make contact with the man who had killed her husband. “I went to find him to tell him I had forgiven him,” she says, “and I found out
                                                                                                                                                                                                           Montana in 1973.The Jaeger family returned to their home in Michigan, and for over a year they knew
he had just died.I’m sorry I never had a chance to tell him.”
                                                                                                                                                                                                           nothing of Susie’s whereabouts. Shortly before the one-year anniversary of Susie’s disappearance, Marietta stated
                                                                                                                                                                                                           to the press that she wanted to speak with the person who had taken her child. On the anniversary date, she received a call from a young man who
                                                                                                                                                                                                           taunted her by asking, “So what do you want to talk to me about?”
                                                    JEANETTE POPP,Azle,Texas
                                                                                                                                                                                                                During the year following Susie’s disappearance, Marietta had struggled to let go of her rage because of her belief in the need for forgiveness. Her
                                                                                                                                                                                                           immediate response to the young man was to ask how she could help him, since she believed his actions must have placed a heavy burden on his soul.
                                                    "It is my wish that the death penalty be abolished in the state of Texas so that it can no longer be used as a threat to coerce confessions from the
                                                                                                                                                                                                           Her caring words disarmed him, and he broke down in tears on the phone. He subsequently spoke with Marietta for over an hour, revealing details
                                                    innocent."
                                                                                                                                                                                                           about himself and the crime that ultimately allowed the FBI to solve the case.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                Marietta was to learn that Susie had been killed on a remote Montana ranch a week after she disappeared. Despite her family’s tragedy, she remains
                                                   Jeanette Popp’s 20-year-old daughter, Nancy DePriest, was raped and murdered in 1988 at the Austin,Texas
                                                                                                                                                                                                           committed to forgiveness and has been an ardent opponent of the death penalty during the years since Susie’s death.
                                                Pizza Hut where she worked. Nancy had a 15-month-old daughter at the time.
                                                   The two men who were convicted of the crime, Chris Ochoa and Richard Danziger, spent 12 years in prison
                                                before being proven innocent and released. Students and professors at the University of Wisconsin – Madison’s
                                                                                                                                                                                                           RON CARLSON, Houston,Texas
Innocence Project had investigated Chris Ochoa’s claim that he was not guilty.They eventually learned that homicide detectives had threatened him with
the death penalty and coerced him into confessing to Nancy’s murder and implicating his friend as well.The Innocence Project also discovered that
                                                                                                                                                                                                           “The world is not a better place because the State of Texas executed Karla Faye Tucker.Even though Karla murdered my only sibling – my sister,
another man,Achim Josef Marino, had been mailing letters of confession, and Marino, who was serving three life sentences in Texas prison for
                                                                                                                                                                                                           Deborah,who had raised me after our mother died – I stood with her as one of her witnesses when she was executed.I was there to stand up for
unrelated crimes, was convicted of Nancy’s murder and sentenced to another life term in 2002.
                                                                                                                                                                                                           the Lord,for the strength of his love.Karla and I had both done a lot of wrong in our lives.We had both turned to drugs to heal our pain;we
     “Had Chris and Richard been given the death sentence,they would likely have been executed before Josef Marino came forward,” Jeanette observes.Today, she and Chris Ochoa
                                                                                                                                                                                                           had both hurt a lot of people.But the love of Jesus Christ transformed us.We were able to forgive ourselves and each other.‘I love you,Ronnie’was
speak publicly about the effect that wrongful conviction has had on both of their lives.
                                                                                                                                                                                                           one of the last things Karla said.I still carry that love with me.”

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Ron Carlson’s sister, Deborah Thornton, and a companion were murdered with a pick axe by Karla Faye
LINDA WHITE , Magnolia,Texas
                                                                                                                                                                                                           Tucker and Daniel Garrett in 1983. Both Tucker and Garrett were sentenced to death. Ron originally supported
                                                                                                                                                                                                           their sentences, telling the prosecutors, “I think they got what they deserved.” Ron lost his stepfather and natural father within a year of Deborah’s death. “You
“I believe the death penalty is about who we are as a society,not what the offender has done to deserve this punishment.As long as we model killing as an appropriate response,we will continue to be
                                                                                                                                                                                                           can imagine the anger that was in this body,” he says now. For many years, Ron treated his pain with alcohol and drugs, until becoming a Christian and turning
the most violent society within the highly developed nations.”
                                                                                                                                                                                                           his life “over to the Lord” in 1990. Ron ultimately forgave Karla and Dan and worked hard to commute their death sentences. Dan died in prison of
                                                                                                                                                                                                           natural causes in 1993. Despite widespread appeals on her behalf, Karla Faye Tucker was executed on February 3, 1998, in Huntsville,Texas.
           Linda White’s 26-year-old daughter Cathy was abducted, raped, and murdered in 1986. Following this devastating loss, Linda returned to
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Ron was invited by Karla to witness the execution as one of her representatives.When he did so, he became the first known victim’s family
college to study grief and loss in order to be able to educate others and counsel those with similar losses. She is adjunct professor in the Psychology and
                                                                                                                                                                                                           member to witness an execution on behalf of the murderer. Ron’s decision caused rifts within his family that remain to be healed. But most family
Philosophy Department at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville,Texas. Research in the area of death and dying has led her into other academic
                                                                                                                                                                                                           members still offer their love and support.And Ron knows he made the right decision. “I drew strength from the Lord,and I knew he was there...God reached out of
areas, primarily violence and its prevention, and finally into restorative justice. She currently works in several areas of restorative justice, including victim-
                                                                                                                                                                                                           heaven to hold us in his hands and cradle us with his love and compassion.Karla died with a smile on her face.They took her body,but they didn’t kill
offender mediated dialogues. Linda values, above all, responses to violence that are themselves non-violent, and therefore opposes the death penalty for
                                                                                                                                                                                                           her spirit.”
any crimes.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Pull out poster on the next two pages



 CONGREGATION OF THE SISTERS OF CHARIT Y OF THE INCARNATE WORD HOUSTON, TE XA S                                                                                                                             CONGREGATION OF THE SISTERS OF CHARIT Y OF THE INCARNATE WORD HOUSTON, TE XA S
                                    working together
                               to abolish the death penalty.




THE CASE AGAINST THE DEATH PENALTY
                                                                                                                         TAKE ACTION
  The number one case against the death penalty is that a human life is taken. All human beings deserve
respect and dignity.
                                                                                                                         s Adopt a Death Row inmate
  The death penalty is cruel and unusual punishment and is driven by tradition, fear of crime, politics
and vengeance.
                                                                                                                         s Pray for victims of violence, death
  The United States is the only western industrialized nation to retain the death penalty. None of Western
                                                                                                                           row inmates and their families
Europe has the death penalty.The practice has been stopped in Canada, Mexico, South Africa, Russia and
many other nations.
                                                                                                                         s Collect and share information
  There are no exceptions to the death penalty for youthful offenders (17 at the time of crime), people who
have been seriously abused and neglected as children, mentally ill people, rehabilitated people or citizens
                                                                                                                         s Attend a Prayer Vigil
of another country.
  You are at a significant disadvantage in the courts if you are poor. The poor get court-appointed attorneys
                                                                                                                         s Contact legislators to express your
who, even if they are competent and motivated, are usually under funded for investigators and experts.
                                                                                                                           opposition to the death penalty
Most people on death row are poor.
  Experience has shown that innocent people have been sent to death row. A number of people with strong
                                                                                                                         s Host a program about the death
claims of innocence have been executed.
                                                                                                                           penalty in your
  The criminal justice system is tainted with racism. Approximately 40% of the people on death row are
                                                                                                                           Congregation/Church/Synagogue
African American vs. 12% in the general population.
  The death penalty does not deter crime. Murder rates are influenced mostly by demographics, economic
                                                                                                                         s Circulate petitions calling for a
conditions, the drug trade and community policing practices.
                                                                                                                           moratorium on the death penalty
  Life in prison without parole is a viable alternative to the death penalty. The challenge is to respect all of life.

To get involved or to learn more, visit our website at: www.SistersOfCharity.org

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                                                                                                                           SISTERS OF CHARITY
                                                                                                                         OF THE INCARNATE WORD
www.ChoosingMercy.org                                                                                                           H O U S T O N ,                                       T E X A S

				
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