THERE IS A nationwide trend of Republican state lawmakers rethinking the death penalty, and their faith is playing a central role. From Catholics to evangelicals, Christian lawmakers on the Right are abandoning capital punishment like never before.
Take Colorado as an example. For years a bill to repeal the death penalty ran into a wall in the state Senate. This year three Republican senators co-sponsored the bill and provided the crucial votes for it to pass. The Colorado House of Representatives approved it and the governor signed it into law in March—making Colorado the 22nd state to abolish the death penalty.
Why did they do it? These Republican lawmakers decided the death penalty does not align with their Christian or conservative values: the sanctity of human life, individual liberty, and limited government. They see a system that exonerates one person on death row for every nine it executes, with more than 160 people in the U.S. being freed from death row due to wrongful convictions since 1973. They see a bloated government program that does nothing to make people safer.
“We were created in the image of God and that is a very good thing. And part of what that means, in my understanding, is it is against the natural order for one created in the image of God to willfully take the life of another created in the image of God,” said state Sen. Owen Hill. “My conscience demands that I vote to abolish the death penalty in Colorado.”