Eliminating the Death Penalty

The Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference,and The United Methodist Church
oppose the death penalty.

Since 1980 the Oregon-Idaho Conference has made a public statement of opposition. The most recent version, passed by the Annual Session meeting in June of 2011 is below:

The Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference, continuing its witness since 1980 and in harmony with the historic position of our United Methodist Church, reaffirms its opposition to the death penalty, and urges all members of the Conference to actively oppose capital punishment in the states of Oregon and Idaho.

Our position is based on our understanding of justice in the teachings of Jesus, and is supported by studies indicating that the death penalty is not a deterrent to murder, and that the penalty is imposed almost entirely on those unable to pay for an adequate defense.

We regard the deliberate taking of life as profoundly incompatible with the Gospel’s core teaching of love, mercy and forgiveness. As United Methodists, who have long preached and practiced a social gospel, we are deeply troubled by the fact that the death penalty is imposed disproportionately often on the poor and on members of minority groups.

We also believe the unacceptably high error rates in death penalty cases demonstrate that the state is making God-like decisions without God-like powers. Our faith persuades us that there is an image of God in everyone, that each of us is better than the worst thing we have ever done, and that repentance and rehabilitation is always possible.

We encourage action for alternatives to the death penalty, such as those proposed in Oregon by “Oregonians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty,” www.oadp.org; PO Box 361, Portland, OR 97207- 0361). In Idaho information can be obtained from the Oregon website or from www.deathpenaltyinfo.org.

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