Monday, June 20, 2005

Abolition in the Dakotas

This popped up from the South Dakota Argus Leader:

Church to fight death penalty

In Bismarck, United Methodists from North and South Dakota voted last week in strong support of an anti-death-penalty resolution and a push to raise more money to fight the global AIDS pandemic.

Meeting in their annual conference session June 8-11, 500 voting members heard 2 Dakota Wesleyan University students and other participants advocate that the church fight South Dakota death penalty laws. North Dakota does not have a death-penalty provision.

Ben Brooks, a DWU junior from Deadwood, said, "In his actions forgiving the woman taken in adultery and deserving death under the law, Jesus made his stand against the death penalty."

Karl Kroger of Sioux Falls called on clergy and lay members to not only support abolishing the death penalty but also to lobby legislators. Last year, Kroger was part of the lobbying team that led the Legislature to abolish the death penalty for juveniles in South Dakota.

Also involved in introducing the anti-death-penalty resolution was a group of young United Methodist clergy and some students from the University of South Dakota United Campus Ministry. The resolution underlines the historic stand of the United Methodist Church against the death penalty.

In the Dakotas, the annual conference represents 300 congregations and 43,000 individual members of churches.

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