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Church clerk commends death penalty suspension

On Feb. 21, Robert Wiese, of Deer Park, clerk of the Spokane Friends Church, wrote a statement commending the suspension of the death penalty as a first step to address the need for a state constitutional amendment to abolish “a violent and cruel tradition of ‘legal revenge’ that further darkens the already misguided practice of punitive justice in our culture.”

Robert calls for restorative justice and ending the cycle of state-sanctioned violence that “only imprints itself as a failed, destructive and therefore contradictory solution to violence.”

He knows some are disappointed or angry about the moratorium, including some who lost family members.  He hopes they will seek healing through forgiveness and reconciliation rather than vengeance.

“Where the gift of grace abounds, there exists no need for a human being to die at the hand of a violent state-sanctioned justice system to satisfy an institutional exploitation of emotional gratification.    At the end of the day, it will be empty emotion that sweeps over the revengeful.  Those lost through violence will not be returned by violence,” he said.

Robert pointed out that it’s understandable there are tears of anger and loss because of violence, but he said “tears of hatred, anger, revenge and bitterness” are “exhausting, empty and lonely tears.”

He calls for mourning together, mourning the loss of a loved one, the loss of all innocence and the unfulfilled potential in the life of the perpetrator and the families of those who committed a violent act.

“When we hold all in the light of Christ’s love, only then can there be a release to a better life and legacy for those left behind and those that will come later,” he said, hoping the state will move to a model of restorative justice that teaches children a positive example. 

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