By Clarence Rempel
Peter Goerzen, speaking on behalf of the Western District Conference (WDC), called for the end of the death penalty at a news conference in the capitol rotunda in Topeka, Kansas, on February 10. He and Kansas church leaders from the Catholic, Episcopal, Methodist, and Lutheran churches spoke in support of Rep. Steven Becker’s House Bill 2129 which would replace the death penalty with a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole. It gives the legislature the opportunity to protect society without killing.
Becker (pictured speaking at left) is a member of Buhler Mennonite Church. Peter is the chair of the WDC End the Death Penalty Task Force and serves as Campus Pastor and Director of Church Relations for Bethel College, North Newton, Kansas.
House Bill 2129 would end the death penalty in Kansas. For information about supporting House Bill 2129, check out the Kansas Coalition Against the Death Penalty at www.ksabolition.org. The first step for HB 2129 will be a hearing in a House Committee. Mennonite churches around the state are organizing letter writing drives, writing letters to the editor of their local papers, and contacting their state legislators in support of HB 2129. Now is the time to add your voice!
Excerpts from Peter’s Presentation
Today “we acknowledge the deep grief of families of murder victims…hold them in our prayers; and commit ourselves to walk with them” (2001 Mennonite Church USA Resolution).
“From our Anabaptist origins in the sixteenth century, Mennonites have believed that God is love, that God was incarnate in Jesus Christ, and that Jesus’ teaching example witnessed against the killing of human life. Our spiritual ancestors were persecuted for their opposition to killing” (2009 WDC Resolution).
“‘Killing people because killing people is wrong’ skews morality toward revenge and contributes to a culture of vengeance and death. It does not honor the conviction that all human life is sacred and created by God and therefore within God’s sovereign purposes and ability to redeem. Public policy must not stand in the way of that possibility.”
(Read Peter’s whole presentation at:https://mennowdc.org/committees-task-forces/)