Dear New Hampshire Council of Churches Community:
This notice comes to you to inform you of recent progress on an issue of common concern and we know you will want to participate because we are people of faith. The issue is the death penalty in New Hampshire and, as most of you know, the New Hampshire Council of Churches has focused on its repeal as a sacred and theological issue. The NHCC policy statement, adopted in 2010, can be seen by clicking this link: NHCC Death Penalty Policy. As Christians, we see God in every person and believe in the promise of redemption. Therefore, we support outreach and advocacy in support of the repeal of the death penalty in New Hampshire.
Following is some detailed information on how you can be of support on the movement toward repeal. Please do all you can to express your support of repeal to those who are considering this issue as described below in all the ways you can.
On April 3 the Judiciary Committee of the NH State Senate took testimony on the death penalty from 9 am to 1 pm, and from 2 to about 3:30 pm. By the time they were done, they had heard from 52 speakers calling for repeal and 8 who favored retaining the death penalty. Repeal advocates included retired Chief Justices of the State Supreme and Superior Courts, the Bishops of the Roman Catholic and Episcopal churches, several people who had lost family members to homicide, a man who served years on death row for a crime he did not commit, and a former police chief. Another 150 repeal supporters were there, too.
Senators also heard from four representatives of police organizations and four legislators who favor retaining the death penalty. You can see more details from the NH Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty .
The five Judiciary Committee members will consider the repeal bill TOMORROW, Tuesday, April 8 in "executive session" to determine their position and make a recommendation to the full Senate. The committee's members are: Sharon Carson, Bette Lasky, David Boutin, Sam Cataldo, and Donna Soucy. If you live in one of their districts, please contact them TODAY. Use this link to the NH State Senate for contact information: http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/Senate/members/wml.aspx
The full Senate is expected to take up the bill on April 17.
As we state in our policy statement, "Do not repay anyone evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all" (Romans 12:17).
Please hold everyone involved both advocacy and decision making in prayer in the coming days.
Clare J. Chapman