RELIGIOUS VIEWS: Over 150 Catholic Theologians Call for Repeal of the Death Penalty

In response to the executions of Troy Davis and Lawrence Brewer on September 21, over 150 Catholic theologians have signed a statement calling for the abolition of the death penalty in United States.  The theologians stated: "[W]e oppose the death penalty, whether a person on death row is guilty or innocent, on both theological and practical grounds. While we especially deplore and lament the killing of Troy Davis, we also decry the death sentences of the more than 3,200 inmates on death row and the 1,268 executions since the death penalty was reinstated by the Supreme Court in 1976. We urge our nation to abolish capital punishment, and we also implore our churches to work unwaveringly to end it as well as all other threats to human life and dignity."  The statement cited former Supreme Court Justice William Brennan, who wrote, "The death penalty is imposed not only in a freakish and discriminatory manner, but also in some cases upon defendants who are innocent."  The theologians also pointed to studies showing racial and economic bias in the death penalty system and to past statements from the U.S. Council of Catholic Bishops and the Pope.  Read full statement below.

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