Today's Tennessean reports, "Methodists want state to reconsider electric chair law," by Getahn Ward.
A group of United Methodist leaders is urging Gov. Bill Haslam and state lawmakers to reconsider a bill that starting July 1 would allow Tennessee to execute death row inmates via the electric chair in the event the state is unable to obtain drugs used for lethal injections.
United Methodists Opposed to the Death Penalty plans a prayer vigil at 11 a.m. Tuesday at Legislative Plaza. Members are also attempting to make arrangements to deliver to the governor's office a letter from Nashville area Bishop William T. McAlilly.
In that open letter and a statement on his blog Friday, McAlilly cited the church's teaching against the death penalty as a means of justice.
"In only a handful of states is the electric chair still used as a means of capital punishment, because its use constitutes 'cruel and unusual punishment' as prohibited by the Constitution of the United States," he wrote.
"The United Methodist Church believes that all human life is sacred and created by God and therefore, we must see all human life as significant and valuable, and that the death penalty denies the power of Christ to redeem, restore and transform all human beings."
Bishop McAlilly has also invited others to sign the open letter.
"Electric chair brings life to old death penalty debates," is the WBIR-TV News report, via KTVH-TV.
On Friday afternoon, Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam defended his decision to sign a bill that requires the use of the electric chair to carry out executions if lethal injection is not available.
"The bill passed the legislature by a 90 percent margin," said Haslam during a stop in Sevier County. "I think the legislature felt really strongly there needed to be a backup method in case the drug used in executions wasn't available."
Friday the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Tennessee released a statement criticizing Haslam's decision to sign the bill that brings back the electric chair.
"Regardless of the method, state killing is wrong," wrote Hedy Weinberg, executive director of ACLU-TN. "Tennessee took a huge step backward by mandating use of the electric chair—an extremely brutal and cruel means of execution—at a time when eighteen states have recognized that the death penalty is unfair and unjust and repealed it altogether."
Earlier coverage from Tennessee begins at the link.