Although Wisconsin does not have the death penalty – and has not had it for more than a century and a half – proposals to enact it have been made from time to time. At such times, the Wisconsin Council of Churches has developed a variety of resources to help congregations understand and discuss this question from the standpoint of Christian faith. Because the issue of capital punishment continues to raise profound moral and religious questions, we keep these resources available.
WCC Statement on the Death Penalty
Read or print the Wisconsin Council of Churches statement on the death penalty (PDF format).
Pastoral Letter on the Death Penalty
Read or print the Pastoral Letter on the Death Penalty issued by Wisconsin Religious Leaders in September, 2006.
View a copy of the Educational Packet for Wisconsin Congregations: Death Penalty Advisory Referendum (1.8MB PDF file). The packet contains:
- Outlines for a one or two hour study and discussion;
- A Bible study on capital punishment;
- Information about the death penalty, and a quiz;
- Sample sermons and ecumenical statements opposing the death penalty, and a list of websites for finding your denomination’s statement on the death penalty; and
- Additional information and lists of websites and resources for further study.
Death Penalty Resources
The following resources are offered online and reflect a number of capital punishment considerations.
American Civil Liberties Union, “DNA Testing and the Death Penalty”
- See the Project’s report, Mandatory Justice, by both supporters and opponents, on improving the capital punishment process.
Creighton University — On being “pro-life” in all respects
- Information and links on the history of the death penalty, issues in the debate, costs and procedures, and famous cases, statistics, and further reading, on the website of Criminal Justice Degree Schools.
- Comprehensive national website, includes spectrum of issues, facts and resources
Denominational Statements on the Death Penalty
- Organization founded by Sister Prejean, author of Dead Man Walking
Pew Forum on Religion and the Law
- A speech by former Illinois Gov. George Ryan on what led him to place a moratorium on executions and later commute the sentences of 167 death row prisoners
- A website with arguments and information supporting the death penalty.
- Stories from wrongfully convicted former death row prisoners who have been exonerated.