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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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'A Social Statement on the Death Penalty'

Excerpts from the statement adopted by the 1991 ELCA Churchwide Assembly:

Excerpts from the statement adopted by the 1991 ELCA Churchwide Assembly:

"It is because of this church's ministry with and to people affected by violent crime that we oppose the death penalty. Executions focus on the convicted murderer, providing very little for the victim's family or anyone else whose life has been touched by the crime. Capital punishment focuses on retribution, sometimes reflecting a spirit of vengeance. Executions do not restore broken society and can actually work counter to restoration. ...

"Our challenge is to incapacitate offenders in a manner that limits violence, and holds open the possibility of conversion and restoration."


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