Thursday, February 10, 2011

Ohio's Catholic Bishops Urge Abolition of Death Penalty

Ohio's Catholic Bishops recently joined the long list of religious groups advocating against the worst excesses of our criminal justice system when they released a statement last week calling on Ohio Governor John Kasich and state lawmakers to abolish the state's death penalty. The statement, signed by clergymen from around the state, cited recent comments by Ohio State Supreme Court Justice Paul Pfeifer about the inherently discriminatory nature of the death penalty, and called for the death penalty's replacement with life without parole. From the bishops' statement:
The Catholic Bishops of Ohio agree. . . that Ohio's elected legislative leaders ought to debate and ultimately abolish the death penalty. Just punishment can occur without resorting to the death penalty. Our church teachings consider the death penalty to be wrong in all cases. Life imprisonment respects the moral view that all life, even that of the worst offender, has value and dignity.
Justice Pfeifer, who helped draft the 1981 legislation that established Ohio's capital punishment protocol, referred to Ohio's application of the death penalty as a "lottery" during a press conference on January 19. Ohio holds the dubious distinction of following Texas in recent years as the second largest purveyor of state-sponsored murder.

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