Texas Death Penalty Discussion Day
October 22-24 We are organizing a "Texas Death Penalty Discussion Day" on October 22-24, as an event during Amnesty International's National Weekend of Faith in Action on the Death Penalty. Amnesty's event takes place every October and seeks to bring together two important approaches to social justice: grassroots human rights activism and faith-based community action. The NWFA is not a national conference or event; rather, it is a weekend of solidarity action organized locally by faith communities all over the country. Register for Amnesty's National Weekend of Faith in Action on the Death Penalty You do not have to be a member of a faith community to organize a "Death Penalty Discussion Day". Students, teachers, civic organizations and individuals are also welcome to organize death penalty-related events. By registering, you express your intention to organize a death penalty-related event during the weekend of October 22-24 or on a day that is more convenient for your group. (Students and teachers typically organize an event in the week leading up to Oct 22-24.) The nature of your event is totally up to you and your local group. The Amnesty organizing packet contains lots of ideas for types of activities. One possibility would be to watch the DVD "Balancing the Scales" and then have a discussion about the death penalty. There arefive people scheduled for executionin Texas in October. Click Read More for further details. Amnesty has agreed to distribute TMN's moratorium resolution and our moratorium petition form in the packets that they send to registering Texas faith communities and other Texas registrants. They will also include a free copy of TMN's DVD "Balancing the Scales". Last year, 35 faith communities in Texas participated in the Faith in Action weekend. We hope to raise that number to at least 100 this year. We have mailed information packets of our own about the "Death Penalty Discussion Day" to almost 1,000 faith communities. Email us, if you would like us to send you information. Or just go to the Amnesty site and register yourself or your faith community. In addition to our goal of 100 participating faith communities, individuals and other groups, we hope to get thousands of new signatures on petitions calling for a moratorium. Please sign-up and ask your faith community or school if you can collect petition signatures on October 24 or on another day. If you do not belong to a faith community, but you would like to help collect petition signatures, email us and we will try to match you up with a church or other faith community in your area that will allow you to collect petition signatures. You can also collect signatures at your school or in your neighborhood. We are hoping that this program, as we envision it, can be extremely helpful to church leaders and members alike. The critical question for the Christian is how to best foster respect for life, preserve the dignity of the human person and manifest the redemptive message of Christ. We also need to explore the reasons why Texas continues to lead the nation in executions. Why does the South consistently lead in the number of executions with Texas alone having had more than 324 executions since 1976? How did we get this way? What are the attitudes of our parents, our friends, our neighbors, and members of our church? Have we, our family members or friends been victims of a violent crime? Is there any truth to the allegations that our criminal justice system is biased against people of color or that the death penalty is reserved mostly for poor people? What does the Bible say about the death penalty? What have contemporary church leaders, such as Pope John Paul II said about the death penalty? These are of course only a few of the questions and concerns which will arise in any program devoted to exploring our attitudes toward the death penalty.