Christians in Arkansas oppose scheduled executions

Wikimedia Commons/ CA Corrections
The lethal injection room in the San Quentin State Prison

Christians from different sects in Arkansas have united to oppose the scheduled mass executions of inmates on death row.

Catholic Diocese of Little Rock Bishop Anthony B. Taylor appealed to Governor Asa Hutchinson to put an end on the scheduled killings, reported Catholic News Agency.

"Though guilty of heinous crimes, these men nevertheless retain the God-given dignity of human life, which must be respected and defended from conception to natural death," wrote the Catholic leader to Hutchinson.

In a statement made to THV 11, the office of the governor said he is "carrying out the sentencing of the jury and his responsibility as governor." The letter also indicated his willingness to meet with the Catholic leader again to discuss the death penalty as they had done numerous times in the past.

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Meanwhile Mercy Baptist Church Pastor Terrance Long has called on his parishioners to pray for people in authority to make "the right decisions in these executions," reported THV 11.

The Pulaski Heights United Methodist Church also shared the reasons they oppose the executions in the church's recent meetings. Reverend Betsy Singleton Snyder put emphasis on human's life as God-given.

"We believe God is the giver and creator life," said the reverend in a series of sermons. "And even if it's a state or federal law, we don't believe we have the right to be complicit along with the state in murdering someone because God always is restoring and reconciling people," he also stated.

Jewish leader of the Congregation B'Nai Israel Barry Block expressed his fear that scheduling a mass execution in the span of 10 days would make the state look "blood thirsty."

"The death penalty, in the Jewish tradition, is not to be carried out in mass," the rabbi told THV 11. "The court that puts to death as many as one person every 70 years is a blood thirsty court, and I'm afraid that Arkansas would be blood thirsty if allowed seven or eight executions to go forward," he added.

It has been 12 years since the state executed a man on death row.

The executions for the inmates were originally set in October 2015 but it was pushed back following the passing of a law that would make it legal for the state not to disclose the source of the drug to be used in the executions.

In February, Hutchinson rescheduled the killings and defended his stance on the condensed schedule of the executions. The governor cited the expiration date for the drugs to be used as the reason the eight men are to be placed under lethal injection in April, reported The New York Times.

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