California Episcopal Bishops Statement Supporting Moratorium on the Death Penalty in California

Posted on March 26, 2019

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. On March 13, Governor Gavin Newsom signed an executive order placing a moratorium on the death penalty in the state, calling it “ineffective, irreversible and immoral.” We are grateful to Governor Newsom for taking the bold and courageous step to institute a moratorium on executions in the state of California.

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.” In 2012 and 2016, when a proposition was put before California voters for the repeal of the death penalty, the Episcopal bishops issued this same call. We commend the Governor for placing the moratorium on the death penalty, effectively restricting its use for the next four years in California.

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 abolish the death penalty. 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. Marc Andrus, Bishop, Diocese of California
The Rt. Rev. Barry L. Beisner, Bishop, Diocese of Northern California
The Rt. Rev. John Taylor, Bishop, Diocese of Los Angeles
The Rt. Rev. Diane Jardine Bruce, Bishop Suffragan, Diocese of Los Angeles
The Rt. Rev. Mary Gray-Reeves, Bishop, Diocese of El Camino Real
The Rt. Rev. David Rice, Bishop, The Diocese of San Joaquin
The Rt. Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, Assisting Bishop, The Diocese of San Diego