Petition Closed
Petitioning Governor Bill Haslam

Reconsider support of the electric chair for the death penalty

Dear Governor Haslam,

I write to you as a fellow Tennessean and as a fellow Christian to ask you to reconsider your support for using the electric chair as a means of carrying out the death penalty in our state.

In only a handful of states is the electric chair still used as a means of capital punishment, because its use constitutes “cruel and unusual punishment” as prohibited by the Constitution of the United States.

The United Methodist Church believes that “all human life is sacred and created by God and therefore, we must see all human life as significant and valuable,” and that “the death penalty denies the power of Christ to redeem, restore and transform all human beings” (The Book of Discipline of the United Methodist Church, paragraph 164.G)

While we strongly believe in justice and accountability for those that commit  all crimes, particularly those crimes that end the lives of other human beings, capital punishment limits the opportunities for God to transform the convicted person and the victim’s family through the power of forgiveness and reconciliation.

In light of multiple studies that strongly suggest that the death penalty is applied with inequality with respect to different ethnic and socio-economic groups, and that emerging fields of genetic based forensic evidence have shown that many innocent people have been convicted and executed for crimes they did not commit, I urge you to use your executive powers as Governor of our state to eliminate the death penalty as a form of criminal punishment.

I pray, Governor Haslam, that you will join me in affirming the words of the prophet Ezekiel, who says “‘I do not rejoice in the death of anyone’ says the Lord, ‘repent, then and live’.” (Ezekiel 18:23)


In Christ,

Bishop Bill McAlilly
Bishop of the Tennessee and Memphis Conferences of the United Methodist Church

This petition was delivered to:
  • Governor
    Bill Haslam

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