[Diocese of Northern California] The eight Episcopal bishops in the State of California released the following statement Oct. 10 about that state’s ballot initiative that would abolish the death penalty.
Grace and peace to you, in the Name of Jesus Christ. We are the bishops of the six dioceses of the Episcopal Church in California. We believe that the citizens of our state face a profound moral choice this November in the form of Proposition 34. That measure, if approved, will end the death penalty in our state, replacing it with a sentence of life without parole.
While we acknowledge that this may be an issue on which reasonable people of good faith might disagree, we want to reaffirm emphatically our Church’s opposition to the death penalty, a position first officially stated by our General Convention in 1958. Then, and in subsequent statements, the Episcopal Church has based its opposition to the death penalty in our understanding of God’s justice, our regard for the sacredness of human life, our commitment to respect the dignity of every human being, our desire to seek and serve Christ in all persons, and our mission to continue Christ’s work of reconciliation in this world.
It is from this position of faith that our Church has repeatedly called upon all its members “to work actively to abolish the death penalty in their states.” We now repeat that call, and ask for your support of Proposition 34. We also wish to acknowledge with grateful hearts all our fellow-citizens, people of many different religious commitments, or of no religion, who are working to accomplish this goal. We pray that our combined efforts will at long last result in the end of the death penalty in California, and we pray God’s blessing upon all.
The bishops in the State of California:
The Rt. Rev. Barry L. Beisner, the Episcopal Diocese of Northern California
The Rt. Rev. Marc Andrus, the Episcopal Diocese of California
The Rt. Rev. Mary Gray-Reeves, the Episcopal Diocese of El Camino Real
The Rt. Rev. Chester L. Talton, the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin
The Rt. Rev. J. Jon Bruno, the Rt. Rev. Diane Jardine Bruce, & the Rt. Rev. Mary Glasspool, the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles
The Rt. Rev. James R. Mathes, the Episcopal Diocese of San Diego