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Seek Moratorium on Capital Punishment

Because Jesus explicitly repudiates retaliation (Matthew 5:38-39), The United Methodist Church values the sanctity of human life, and desires that no human being be executed by capital punishment.

Although The United Methodist Church stands unequivocally in opposition to the death penalty, we realize there are states within the United States that might be open to a moratorium on the death penalty as a gradual step toward abolition. There are numerous reasons for seeking a moratorium that include:

  • the possibility of innocence, as seen in the exoneration of 128 people wrongfully placed on death row in the United States since 1976 (Note Death Penalty Information Center),
  • the American Bar Association has currently called for a moratorium on the death penalty,
  • thorough investigations and competent experienced capital case lawyers that are often not appointed to defend poor defendants in capital cases,
  • highly publicized capital cases that seem often to be decided in an emotionally charged atmosphere, and
  • DNA evidence was not available when most current death row prisoners were convicted.

The General Conference of The United Methodist Church calls upon US federal and state government officials to enact, within forty days of the closing of the 2008 General Conference, an immediate moratorium on carrying out of the death penalty sentence.

This request should be sent to US federal and state government officials by the secretary of the General Conference, the Council of Bishops, and the general secretary of the General Board of Church and Society immediately upon the close of the 2008 General Conference.

Resolution #5036, 2008 Book of Resolutions
Resolution #259, 2004 Book of Resolutions
Resolution #242, 2000 Book of Resolutions

See Social Principles, ¶ 164 A, G.

From The Book of Resolutions of The United Methodist Church - 2012. Copyright © 2012 by The United Methodist Publishing House. Used by permission.