Letter to the Editor

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Delaware death penalty repeal ‘makes sense’

As the legislative session nears its final days, I am praying that the death penalty repeal will have a full vote in the House. There are many reasons that repeal makes sense. These include the fact that is less expensive to incarcerate for life than to impose capital punishment, the fact that the system is racially biased, the fact that at least 151 innocent people have been on death row, and, most importantly for me, the Christian teaching that capital punishment is wrong. Only 2 percent of known murderers are sentenced to death, and they are primarily people of color, the poor, mentally ill and undereducated. Location, local politics and the quality of representation for the defendant play more of a role in sentencing than the actual crime. We can be better than this. Since 1973, 151 men have been released from death row around the country due to wrongful convictions. We can be better than this. I have heard Delawareans make the case that here in Delaware, we do not make such mistakes. The idea that Delawareans are somehow better human beings is one of the most arrogant arguments I have heard. It is the height of hubris. We can be better than this. I agree with what the United Methodist Church says about capital punishment: “The United Methodist Church cannot accept retribution or social vengeance as a reason for taking human life. It violates our deepest belief in God as the Creator and the Redeemer of humankind. In this respect, there can be no assertion that human life can be taken humanely by the state. Indeed, in the long run, the use of the death penalty by the state will increase the acceptance of revenge in our society and will give official sanction to a climate of violence.” The truth is, when we use the death penalty, we become what we hope to defeat. We can be better than this.

Amy Yarnall Dover Editor’s note: The Rev. Amy Yarnall is senior pastor of Wesley United Methodist Church, Dover.

delaware-general-assembly, death-penalty, religion
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