Mailbag: The death penalty is not Christian

I lament the defeat of Proposition 34, the initiative that would have replaced the death penalty with life in prison without the possibility of parole. As a pastor, Jesus' death is never far from my mind. State-sanctioned execution was wrong when Rome executed Jesus as a rebel, and it is wrong today! The cross, a cruel form of killing, is a constant reminder to Christians that we must struggle for peace, love and compassion, even when it is most difficult.

In his life, Jesus boldly defied an antiquated worldview: "You have heard it said an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth ... but I tell you turn the other cheek" (Matthew 5:38), thereby replacing an outdated form of punishment with a compassionate response. As Christians, our faith obligates us to end this immoral tradition of killing the killer. Jesus replaced it 2,000 years ago. Why is it taking us so long?

What's worse is that the death penalty risks executing innocent people. I wept for days last year grieving Georgia's execution of potentially innocent Troy Davis. I thank God that Frankie Carrillo was found innocent and taken off death row, but imagine the blood on our hands had California killed him. I cannot live with this, can you?

It breaks my heart to imagine Jesus on the cross even at his own execution advocating for compassion. While Proposition 34 was defeated, I take hope in God's gift of a new day and a new opportunity to seek justice, love kindness and walk humbly in this world. I pledge to work for a society where this outdated practice will be yesterday's shame, without the threat of ever executing an innocent person and where compassion is stronger than fear and hatred.

Rev. Dr. Sarah Halverson

Costa Mesa

Fairview Community Church


Charter committee

I read Lauren Williams' Nov. 7 article, "Measure V trailing in early returns," and was struck by Mayor Pro Tem Jim Righeimer's comment: "I think through this whole process we heard the community loud and clear," and "The community wants more of a committee-type process." Also, he said, "And that's what I'll be bringing forward to get the community (involved in the writing) of the charter and to make sure any of the concerns and safeguards are put in the charter to make the public feel comfortable."

The desire for an elected charter committee (community involvement) to write the charter was expressed in public comments when Righeimer first proposed the charter and at nearly every City Council meeting thereafter. But now, because his proposed charter was voted down, Righeimer says that he hears the community loud and clear. It should not require an election to communicate with him.

I am glad to hear that he is now considering a charter committee, and it should be an elected committee, but I am still not convinced we need a charter. I suggest that Councilwoman Wendy Leece and past Mayor and Councilwoman-elect Sandra Genis be considered to lead the restart of the charter effort.

Charles Mooney

Costa Mesa

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