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NH Bishop speaks on state’s death penalty hearings

NH Bishop speaks on state’s death penalty hearings

The Rev. A. Robert Hirschfeld, Episcopal bishop of New Hampshire, testified at the New Hampshire House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee hearing in favor of a bill that would repeal the state’s death penalty law.

Bishop Hirschfeld was quoted the op-ed “Of the Death Penalty and Human Dignity” in the local NH/VT Valley News:

According to the Concord Monitor, members heard testimony from religious leaders, police officers, lawyers and family members of murder victims urging them to repeal the law. They discussed issues such as the high costs associated with imposing the death penalty, unfairness in deciding which defendants are sentenced to death, and the very real possibility that an innocent person will be wrongfully executed.

These are all powerful arguments in favor of abolition, but we found most compelling statements that focused on the moral compromise inherent in the death penalty.

Former Attorney General Phil McLaughlin told the committee that he had changed his mind on the issue after his son returned from serving in Iraq and told him, “Our government shouldn’t kill its own people.”

And the Rev. A. Robert Hirschfeld, Episcopal bishop of New Hampshire, said that, “Repealing the death penalty is a way for the state to counteract and push back against the culture of violence. Whenever the death penalty is administered by the state, the dignity of all our citizens is diminished.”

In fact, the death penalty makes killers of us all. And that’s hard to live with.


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Especially in light of the recent obscenity of a botched execution in Ohio, all my prayers are with Bishop Hirschfeld.

JC Fisher

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