April 23, 2019

Redemption, rehabilitation, and the case to end capital punishment


Many folks in the OneLife LA community are celebrating Easter and the start of the Easter season this week. Even if you aren’t celebrating Easter, you still have probably noticed the signs of spring: flowers blooming, grass greening, and birds chirping. These signs — both Easter and spring — remind us of the ideas of “redemption” and “resurrection”.

Both words are rooted in the Christian experience of Easter and share connotations of re-birth, renewal, and new chances.

OneLife LA is based on the unshakeable belief that every human being has innate dignity — this also means that no human being is beyond redemption.

Every person has the capacity to change for the better, to be saved and to have full lives. No human person is perfect but we believe that no person is solely defined by the worst thing they have done in their lives.

That’s why OneLife LA believes that the death penalty should be ended.

Last year, Pope Francis updated  the Catechism of the Catholic Church and declared that capital punishment “heavily wounds human dignity.”

The Pope said that capital punishment is “contrary to the Gospel, because a decision is voluntarily made to suppress a human life, which is always sacred in the eyes of the Creator and of whom, in the last analysis, only God can be the true judge and guarantor.”

In other words, no one is either “unredeemable” or “not worthy of life.” Archbishop Gomez responded with similar sentiments when Governor Gavin Newsom signed an executive order to temporarily halt capital punishment in California.

“[Capital punishment] does not deter violent crime and it does not bring true justice or healing to victims of violent crime. And sadly, judicial execution has always been a punishment imposed far more often on African Americans, Hispanics and the poor in our society….The death penalty violates the condemned person’s dignity and deprives that person of the chance to change his or her heart and be rehabilitated through the mercy of God.”

Let us continue to work together to change hearts with love and hope, knowing that no human person is beyond redemption and that this season of Easter and of spring reminds us of these possibilities and give us hope for the future.

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