to Mobilize Faith-Based Opposition to America’s Death Penalty
On November 16 and 17, 2010 in Atlanta, hundreds of religious leaders and concerned people came to the Historic Ebenezer Baptist Church and Emory University for The Kairos Conference and Concert: Discerning Justice and Taking Action on America’s Death Penalty.
At Ebenezer Church, where the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. co-pastored with his father, representatives of People of Faith Against the Death Penalty and 20 national and regional religious organizations and advocacy groups launched the Kairos Campaign to Mobilize Faith-Based Opposition to America’s Death Penalty.
The next decade is the kairos moment toward repealing the death penalty in the United States. It is the ripe political, social, and cultural moment in history for the movement to abolish the death penalty in the United States. The word kairos describes this time of opportunity for the movement to repeal the death penalty. It’s an ancient Greek word meaning the right or opportune moment, the supreme moment, and period of time in which something special happens. Theologian Paul Tillich calls Kairos, the “manifestation of the divine dimension of the moment… when the new reality has come, the time of the New Being.”
Now is the time for the religious community to raise its voice to abolish the death penalty. People of Faith Against the Death Penalty intends to facilitate moving the religious community in America to become strategically engaged with the movement to abolish the death penalty. The Kairos Campaign is composed of national, regional, and state clergy and lay leadership in the religious community intent on prayerful action.
The Kairos Campaign will raise the death penalty on the agendas of religious bodies, provide coordination among faith communities, and give you the ability to take concrete action in coordination with your state death penalty abolition group. This campaign will be focused on working with and boosting state-level campaigns and abolition organizations’ efforts.
Now is the time to become involved. The death penalty will be abolished in the United States. The death penalty is declining in use in our country, and our government’s global isolation in retaining the death penalty continues to grow. In November 2010 the U.S. government was forced to oppose 107 countries calling for a moratorium on executions in a vote at the United Nations. We are allowing our government to stand with China, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Iran and others with some of the worst human rights records.
It’s time the religious community in America got serious about working to repeal the death penalty. People of faith and good will can and must challenge and lead the religious community in the United States to rise to this kairos occasion.
Join this campaign of hope and challenge to action. Stay involved. Let us help our faith communities to repent of our tacit participation in torture and killings in our names. Let us chose redemptive action.
Let us consult with, coordinate with, and cooperate with those state and national organizations who have long been in this struggle while most in the religious community were silent. We faithful have a moral duty to struggle for justice and do the hard work to bring our faith communities’ political, cultural and financial resources to bear to end the death penalty and foster restorative justice.
Visit: Ten Goals of the Kairos Campaign