Kansans are opposed to the death penalty for a variety of reasons. Some feel the practice is morally wrong while others feel that the system is simply too broken to continue. The movement for abolition is not one that could be described as "liberal" or "conservative." Abolitionists come from all points along the political spectrum, from a variety of backgrounds and from across the state of Kansas.
Here are just a few reasons why KCADP members want to repeal the death penalty and replace it with life without parole. You can share your own story about your opposition to the death penalty here.
Stan Bohn - Newton
Mark Geitzen - Wichita
Rev. Josh - Lawrence
I went to an Amnesty International meeting in High School that just so happened to be about the death penalty. I learned something there that changed my mind forever. I never thought about it before, but the inmate doesn't just evaporate when convicted, someone has to put them to death. After hearing interviews with prison guards that were required to help with executions, I found out that doing that job is traumatic.
Since that first meeting with Amnesty, I have done research here and there throughout my life about the death penalty. Turns out that even though the law is "blind," somehow, the death penalty is disproportionately (and outrageously so) for the poor and ethnic minorities. The real tragedy came to light for me when all the DNA evidence that came out more recently revealed how many innocent people were executed and now there is no way to get them back.
These days, as a Christian pastor, my theology has turned me against the death penalty as well. For one thing, the cross that Jesus was put on was a state-sponsored execution. Not-to-mention that what makes Jesus the Christ is that when you look through him to God, you see a God that is about enduring and steadfast love not a God of punishment and retribution. In the end, I guess, I am against the death penalty because I think that if Jesus had a vote, he would vote "no" as well.
Heidi - Hutchinson
1. The State should not have the power of life and death over its citizens. That is a power reserved, I believe, for God.
2. Our legal system is imperfect and has a documented track record of false convictions. People of color are especially vulnerable to failures of justice. A life sentence can be overturned -- a death sentence cannot. It is unconscionable to put to death an innocent person.
3. Executions serve no practical purpose. The death penalty is not a proven deterrent for crime, and it ends up costing the state more than life without parole. Life without parole would serve the same purpose of preventing future victims while also sending a strong message about the strength of our criminal justice system.
4. I want to promote a culture of life that permeates throughout our society. If we are truly pro-life, then we must consider that all people are created in the image of God, and thus their life has value regardless of their reprehensible action.
5. I believe there is hope of redemption for every individual -- no matter what their crime. Jesus came to save sinners, not to condemn them to death. While I do not believe violent criminals should be set free, I do believe we must not cut short the time in which God can move in their life to free their hearts from sin, and perhaps even bring about healing reconciliation with the family of their victims.
Sue - Spring Hill
I oppose the death penalty because it is not very smart to kill someone for murdering someone. It is a proven fact that it costs more of our tax money to put someone on death row than it does to give them life in prison.
Tony - Winfield
But God said an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. Yes, in the Old Testament, He did say that. But He also pardoned the first murderer and set a mark on him that no one was to avenge him. In the New Testament, God talks about how vengeance is His, and He also pardoned another person of the death sentence by stepping in and saying “He who is without sin cast the first stone”.
Man is too quick to want to avenge, to declare that they will never forgive the perpetrator. And it really is understandable! But who are we to hold ourselves higher than God, who did pardon, who said to forgive, and who didn't even avenge His own Son's innocent death? He totally could have! But He didn't. He said that anyone who doesn't forgive, will not be forgiven by Him. Wow, that is pretty heavy! But those are the words of God, who was even able to forgive those who crucified His innocent Son, who did no wrong.