Executions in Tennessee | Church & Society Statement

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Executions in Tennessee

On August 8, the State of Tennessee executed Billy Ray Irick. This was the first execution carried out in our state in since December 2009. We are aware that the State plans two more executions in 2018, one on October 11 and another in December, and though there are some paths toward appeal in those cases, it is important that people of faith make their voices heard.

As United Methodists, “We believe the death penalty denies the power of Christ to redeem, restore and transform all human beings. The United Methodist Church is deeply concerned about crime throughout the world and the value of any life taken by a murder or homicide. We believe that all human life is sacred and created by God and therefore, we must see all human life as significant and valuable. When governments implement the death penalty (capital punishment), then the life of the convicted person is devalued and all possibility of change in that person’s life ends. We believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ and that the possibility of reconciliation with Christ comes through repentance. This gift of reconciliation is offered to individuals without exception and gives all life new dignity and sacredness. For this reason, we oppose the death penalty (capital punishment) and urge its elimination from all criminal codes.” (The Social Principles of the United Methodist Church)

What can you, or your faith community, do to express your unequivocal opposition to
these executions?

  • You can contact the Governor’s office, since the Governor has the power to grant a stay of execution (Governor Bill Haslam, 615-741-2001).
  • Letters expressing opposition to the death penalty and signed by members of the congregation
    can be mailed to the Governor’s office. (1 st Floor, State Capital, Nashville, TN 37243)
  • You can also participate in one or the prayer vigils as a visual and physical expression of
    your opposition to capital punishment.

Tennessee Conference Committee on Church and Society
Chairperson: Reverend Ken Edwards