Magazine article National Catholic Reporter

Indiana Senate Sustains Death Penalty

Magazine article National Catholic Reporter

Indiana Senate Sustains Death Penalty

Article excerpt

Indianapolis Archbishop Daniel M. Buechlein joined other clergy who testified before an Indiana state senate committee in support of a bill that aimed to abolish capital punishment in the state.

Following more than three hours of intense debate, the committee struck down the bill, which was sponsored by State Sen. Morris Mills, R-Indianapolis. If passed, the measure would have moved 46 inmates off the state's death row and given them life sentences without parole.

According to The Indianapolis Star and The Indianapolis News, Mills is a Quaker and says his religious beliefs hold that the death penalty is wrong. Many of those who spoke in defense of Mills' proposal were clergy, including those from Episcopal, Baptist, Methodist, Evangelical Lutheran and Jewish congregations. Former Indiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Richard Givan also testified in favor of the bill.

In his testimony, Buechlein said the Catholic church calls on everyone "to recognize the sacredness of all human life and ... reject as anti-life any action that threatens, diminishes or extinguishes life."

He said the church's "opposition to abortion and euthanasia is well-known. Our opposition to death as a penalty for capital offenses is less known to the general public," despite bishops' statements against it.

"Surely all of us who are leaders in our state are concerned about the rise of violence in Indiana," Buechlein told the committee. "Can we not work together to strengthen a culture of life to counter an ever-growing culture of death? …

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