"Sioux Falls lawmaker to push again for repeal of death penalty in South Dakota," is the AP report, via the Repblic.
A South Dakota lawmaker says he'll ask the Legislature to repeal the death penalty in the session that starts Tuesday in Pierre.
Rep. Steve Hickey is a Sioux Falls Republican who also is a pastor.
He previously supported capital punishment but says he changed his mind after reviewing the Bible and deciding that the death penalty does not deter people from committing horrible crimes, save money or improve public safety.
Hickey has said his bill would apply only to future cases.
"Repeal the death penalty in S.D. - it's a matter of conscience," is the Sioux Falls Argus Leader OpEd written by Deacon Denny L. Davis. a member of St. Agnes Parish in Vermillion and serves as a deacon with the Sioux Falls Diocese.
Supporters of the death penalty justify it by saying it’s the consequence of the criminal’s terrible actions. The death penalty is not about what the murderers have done. It’s about what we as citizens do in response. South Dakota should repeal the death penalty. Doing so would reflect on each of us, and our actions as citizens.
As director of South Dakotans for Alternatives to the Death Penalty, I traveled the state, speaking to groups about our law. My efforts have nothing to do with argument or criticism. I simply ask this question: Do we have to kill human beings who murder?
When our state carries out this act, we are responsible as much as those in the death chamber. The zero-sum game of killing for murder should be rejected. As citizens and as people of faith, it reflects poorly on us, and life in prison without parole is a much more sane and just response. Violence, even that sponsored by the state, merely perpetuates more violence.
The late Nelson Mandela was recognized worldwide as a man of peace. Perhaps his strongest moment and most vivid gift to humanity came shortly after his release from nearly three decades of imprisonment. When he asked whether he hated those who took his freedom, Mandela demonstrated wisdom we can all emulate. He said, “Yes, I did. I felt hatred and fear but I said to myself, if you hate them, you will still be their prisoner. I wanted to be free, so I let it go.”
This lesson from South Africa is one South Dakota must consider. South Dakotans for Alternatives to the Death Penalty, in league with several state lawmakers, will bring a bill to the 2014 legislative session that will repeal the death penalty. Are you free enough to reject the flawed concept of violence for violence? Will you reject vengeance and embrace the life that comes from Him and the forgiveness He has shown you? If so, then join our efforts. Write your legislators.
Earlier coverage of the South Dakota repeal legislation begins at the link.