A coalition of religious, legal and law enforcement leaders are working to repeal New Hampshire’s death penalty.
The bishops of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Manchester and the Episcopal Church of New Hampshire made an unusual joint plea for passage of this bill.
Catholic Bishop Peter Libasci said savings from ending capital punishment should be devoted to services for victims of crime and their families.
“But the death penalty neither deters others, nor brings this perpetrator to understanding, but instead, in the worst of ironies, publicly validates the very act of a taking of a human life,” Bishop Libasci said. “The death penalty does not help the criminal to understand the magnitude of what he or she has done; it reinforces, instead the terrifying notion that there is, ultimately, no sacrifice in the taking of human life.”
Episcopal Bishop Robert Hirschfield recalled his outrage at learning of a heinous rape and murder in his Connecticut hometown where he grew up.
“My instinct is to exact such retribution that would include the death penalty,” Hirschfield said. “As a Christian, however, I am called to a higher and sacred ground. I am constantly called by God to protect my soul, and the souls of the church I have been called to lead, from the sin of violence and hatred even in the face of such horror.”