Faith communities from Ohio have pledged to take action during Death Penalty Abolition Week for Ohio Faith Communities from Oct. 8 through Oct.17. The week of action was conceptualized by faith leaders within the #NoDeathPenaltyOH campaign, which seeks to abolish the death penalty during the current legislative session.
More than 60 individual faith communities have registered across 13 counties, as well as several statewide interfaith organizations. The actions faith communities are taking include placing yard signs on their front lawns, organizing prayer services, bringing in speakers and hosting postcard writing parties for congregants to contact their legislators, according to a news release. The faith communities involved represent a broad spectrum of beliefs, including Judaism, Sikhism, Paganism, Zoroastrianism, Catholicism, interfaith communities, and several Christian denominations like Methodists, Episcopalians, the United Church of Christ, Evangelical congregations and the Mennonites.
Rabbi Robert Nosanchuk, senior rabbi of Anshe Chesed Fairmount Temple in Beachwood and a leader within the Ohio Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, explained how Jewish beliefs inspired their community to join the campaign for repeal.
“Modern Jews draw their impetus to combat the use of capital punishment from the sacred text of the Torah which says, ‘justice, justice you shall pursue,’” Nosanchuk said in the release. “This text shows how the justice system itself must be an exemplar of discernment. So as Jews emerged as a religious community, capital punishment became at odds with our vision of justice.”
Faith communities have played roles in other states that have recently abolished the death penalty and in Ohio. Two bipartisan bills, Senate Bill 103 and House Bill 183 are in committee and are expected to move forward this fall.
Faith communities interested in participating in Death Penalty Abolition Week for Ohio Faith Communities should to visit nodeathpenaltyoh.com.