The following minute on capital punishment was approved by Green Country Friends Meeting in Tulsa, OK on 5/12/96. It was submitted by Don Satterthwaite, co-clerk, Green Country Friends Meeting.


We of the Green Country Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quaker) are concerned about the use of capital punishment in our state of Oklahoma. After long seeking, we affirm the historic opposition of Quakers to capital punishment. We acknowledge that people have the need and the right to seek safety and order for themselves and their communities. We stand with people who seek to make their communities safe. We do not believe, however, that capital punishment provides the safety and order which it seems to promise. We attempt to base our lives on respect for that Spirit of God that dwells in each person. Killing, as a form of punishment, is not in accord with this respect. The death penalty magnifies the tragedy of a lost life by killing again, ignoring the human capacity for change, quenching forever the possibility of redemption and renewed contribution. Any corporate action of the state overrides the dissent of citizens who object to having their citizenship lent to this purpose. Our opposition to capital punishment, however, is grounded in faith and conscience. An executed person cannot bring further physical harm, but state-sanctioned killing does harm the community in many ways:

Although always represented as an action of the state, capital punishment is a delegated action that requires specific state employees to kill a human being, and to do so at a moral and psychological peril to themselves that neither they nor the state can calculate in advance.

We encourage those who are concerned about the safety of our communities to join in seeking a society that does not promote violence. We believe that in our own lives lie the roots of violence and the seeds of harmony. We believe that, together, we can discover a vision of community that nourishes the healthy potential of each person. Let us join together to build this vision.


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