Catholic social teaching is very clear that the death penalty is as abhorrent as any murder. We're supposed to be as opposed to it as we are to abortion. (Andrea squirms in her seat.) Yet, we know that most Catholics don't accept this. Statistically, it seems to be easier or more compelling to be against abortion than it is to be against the death penalty.
Naturally, I have to do this backwards. I find it much easier to oppose the death penalty than abortion.
And really, one doesn't even need the church's social justice teaching to formulate a reasonable argument against the death penalty. It's irreversible, it disproportionately affects minorities, it turns us into what we hate.....
I feel a need to mark this disturbing milestone in some way. But I'm also feeling rather idea-free at the moment. Do I just buck up and send an e-mail about this date to the social justice coordinator at my church and see if she does anything? Do I host some sort of event in the community? Do I light a candle and meditate or pray, keeping vigil through the night?
I await your wisdom, oh wise ones. I need help here.
May we come to honor, even in those whom we fear, your image and form. -Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi