Episcopal Peace Fellowship – December 12, 2016
Episcopal Peace Fellowship urges Life without Parole – not the Death Penalty – for Dylann Roof who killed 9 African-Americans and injured 1 in a Charleston church in South Carolina
Claysburg, Pennsylvania – This week Dylann Roof’s first death penalty trial begins in Charleston, South Carolina. Roof is accused of entering the Bible study class at Mother Emanuel AME church in Charleston on June 17, 2015 – observing the lesson with parishioners – then opening fire on those present while shouting racial slurs and insults.
Roof faces 33 charges, including hate crimes, murder, attempted murder and obstruction of religion, and could face the death penalty because of “the nature of the alleged crime and the resulting harm,” US Attorney General Loretta Lynch said in a statement in May 2016. The 22-year-old has also been charged in a state murder case, which also carries the death penalty and is scheduled following this trial.
The Rev. Allison Liles, EPF Executive Director, said “We stand with the Rev. Sharon Risher, whose mother, two cousins and a family friend were gunned down.”
Essence quotes Risher in an interview in its November issue – “I’m still on that journey of forgiveness. What Dylann Roof did has put a hole in my soul and the soul of America. I don’t personally believe in the death penalty. Even though he did this to my family, I still wouldn’t want him put to death. ” http://www.essence.com/lifestyle/lucy-mcbath-sharon-risher-on-gun-violence-healing
The Rev. Liles added – “Over a half-century ago, the Episcopal Church declared its position regarding capital punishment, which was reaffirmed at the 2015 General Convention of The Episcopal Church:
“The General Convention of the Episcopal Church opposes capital punishment on a theological basis that the life of an individual is of infinite worth in the sight of Almighty God, and the taking of such a human life falls within the providence of Almighty God and not within the right of Man.” [Emphasis Added]”
“Jesus calls us to a life of love, mercy and redemption,” she said. As his followers we must reject state sanctioned retribution and collective vengeance as reasons for taking human life. Scripture repeatedly calls us to overcome evil with good and to transform hatred with love. And the death penalty undermines the fundamental respect for human life by sanctioning the deliberate act of killing a human being.”
The Episcopal Peace Fellowship therefore urges the court to pursue life in prison sentences rather than capital punishment for the crimes committed by Dylann Roof.
The Episcopal Peace Fellowship has championed peace, nonviolence and social justice issues since its founding on Armistice Day in 1939.
Read more about EPF – http://epfnational.org.
Contact – EPF publicist Bob Kinney – 512.419.1738 –bob. firstname.lastname@example.org