Facts & Research


Leaders and organizations representing a variety of faiths have taken stances on the death penalty, often tying their views to beliefs about human dignity, retribution, and redemption.


Religious denominations in the U.S. have frequently made statements about the death penalty, sometimes pointing out concerns about its application, and other times judging the morality of the punishment itself. Historically, most major religious bodies allowed for the use of capital punishment, but criticism of the practice has greatly increased in recent times.

At Issue

In a diverse democracy, no single religious point of view occupies a privileged position in the framing of law. Nevertheless, the principles of various communities of faith are relevant in the political debate because they help inform the views of their respective constituents and reflect the “evolving standards of decency” that are vital to the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the Eighth Amendment.

What DPIC Offers

DPIC provides a compilation of statements about the death penalty from a broad array of religious denominations. DPIC occasionally highlights the views of those speaking from a faith perspective when the comments relate to a case or controversy involving capital punishment. Finally, it features the results of death penalty polls when broken down by particular faiths.

News & Developments

Victims' Families

May 30, 2023

Victims’ Families are Divided Over Death Penalty as Bowers Trial Begins

On May 25, 2023, 12 death-qual­i­fied jurors and six alter­nates were select­ed in the fed­er­al cap­i­tal tri­al of Robert Bowers, who is charged with killing 11 wor­ship­pers at a Pittsburgh syn­a­gogue in 2018. Prosecutors struck all the Black, Hispanic, an…