Death penalty ends in New Jersey

Before torture returned to the Land of the Free, my #1 issue was opposition to the death penalty, and it still weighs heavily on me.

Good news, though. Bucking the longer trend of a broadening of the death penalty in the United States and amplifying very recent, if smaller, moratorium movement, New Jersey has now banned it. So that’s good news. Enjoy what you can.

I was mightily annoyed last night that the one of three people I saw interviewed “on the street” (forget which outlet) who defended the death penalty did so quoting by Jesus’ bidding “do onto others” — a rather cruel reading of the text. (The other two, opposing it, show that the Innocence Project‘s core message has gotten out.)

By Scott Wells

Scott Wells, 46, is a Universalist Christian minister doing Universalist theology and church administration hacks in Washington, D.C.


  1. I have the strong feeling that the USA will only have chances of recovering their moral leadership in the world when they get rid of the death penalty everywhere and forever. Right now the USA is in the same list with countries such as Saudi Arabia and China: not the best partners to be with in the matter of human rights.

    Another good moment this week was the US delegation joining the international consensus in Bali regarding climate change. Is anybody feeling that the presidential elections are near?

  2. I can understand the human desire to kill the worst of the worst, but there is something about that desire that brings out an ugliness in us which is what we really ought to be sentencing to death.

  3. Don’t forget that Illinois has effectively gotten rid of the death penalty when Gov. George Ryan put a moratorium on it before he left office.

    Missouri has ended it, for the moment, until they can find a doctor to administer it.

    Of course, lots of things may change when the Supreme Court rules on whether lethal injection is cruel and unusual punishment.

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