Minute in opposition to capital punishment 4/1997
Summit Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends hereby reaffirms its longstanding opposition to the death penalty. The testimony of Friends is that there is that of God in every person, that the life of each person is valuable and sacred, and that no person is beyond redemption. We believe that all persons have the potential to respond to God’s light. Our deep reverence for human life and the most basic foundations of our religious belief deny the right to take another life, either in war or as punishment. As we could not take another life by our own hands, neither can we condone our government’s killing in our name. Therefore, we state emphatically that we individually and collectively oppose imposition of the death penalty. We encourage an increased emphasis on prevention of crime, on compassionate support for victims of crime and their families, and on methods of punishment which foster rehabilitation rather than vengeance. Specifically, we assert our preference for modes of punishment which recognize and respect that of God in every person, even in those who have committed heinous crimes.
Chatham-Summit Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends, Chatham, NJ