One of the things the Peace and Social Concerns Committee considered was the following minute about capital punishment, which was written and approved by Des Moines Valley Friends. We prayerfully considered the Minute, and then approved it unchanged. It was then approved by Iowa Yearly Meeting (Conservative).
As stated below, we have heard legislation to reinstate the death penalty may be coming from the Iowa state legislature this upcoming session. You are encouraged to share this with your legislators, newspapers, friends and neighbors.
Iowa Yearly Meeting of the Society of Friends (Conservative) is deeply distressed by new attempts to reinstate the death penalty in the Iowa Legislature. We have a long-standing history of opposition to capital punishment as being contrary to basic Quaker values. Quoting from our own Faith and Practice, (2011),
“Friends oppose capital punishment because it violates the sacredness of life. No person is beyond redemption. The God-given dignity and worth of every human being requires that punishment allow for reform of the offender and possible revision of the sentence. Execution is brutalizing and degrading to the individuals who impose it and to the society that endorses it.”
While we recognize the anger and fear that arise from brutal crime, focusing these emotions on the offender often misdirects energies that could be spent on building community and victim support as well as rooting out the causes of violence – such as social injustice, poverty, substance abuse, and hopelessness. Iowa Legislators should be aware that “legal” murder neither teaches that killing is wrong, nor recognizes the sanctity of all life. Thus, the Iowa Yearly Meeting of Friends, asserts on public record our opposition to any attempts to reinstate the death penalty in the State of Iowa.