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October 21, 2015

Evangelical group adds interesting nuance to death penalty stance

As reported in this Christian Science Monitor article, a notable religious group has made a notable change in its death penalty position. The article's headline(s) provide the basics: "Why US evangelicals are changing their position on the death penalty: The National Association of Evangelicals has officially supported the death penalty for more than 40 years. They have now softened their stance." Here are the details:

As the death penalty continues to lose favor with Americans, the National Association of Evangelicals has adjusted its position on the practice.  Since the early 1970s, the NAE has supported capital punishment as a deterrent to criminals.  But on Monday, the organization  — which represents more than 45,000 churches from almost 40 different denominations, serving millions of Americans — passed a resolution that acknowledges growing opposition and differing views on death penalty.

"Evangelical Christians differ in their beliefs about capital punishment, often citing strong biblical and theological reasons either for the just character of the death penalty in extreme cases or for the sacredness of all life, including the lives of those who perpetrate serious crimes and yet have the potential for repentance and reformation," the resolution states. "We affirm the conscientious commitment of both streams of Christian ethical thought."...

White evangelical support for the death penalty has waned recent years, from 77 percent in 2011 down to 71 percent in 2014, according to a March survey from the Pew Research Center.  At the same time, 66 percent of white mainline Protestants and 63 percent of white Catholics favor the death penalty.  Overall, the survey shows American support for the death penalty has dropped from 78 percent in 1996 to 56 percent in 2014.

October 21, 2015 at 09:54 AM | Permalink

Comments

Way past due.

Posted by: Hal Looyah | Oct 21, 2015 12:13:31 PM

There's still a ways to go though.

Posted by: Rick | Oct 21, 2015 7:49:12 PM

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