The Bishop’s Task Force on the Death Penalty is a coalition of clergy and lay persons within the Episcopal Diocese of Olympia committed to abolishing the death penalty within the state of Washington.

During the 78th General Convention of The Episcopal Church, the House of Bishops reaffirmed its longstanding call to put an end to the death penalty. The death penalty remains legal in 31 states and in federal jurisdictions with over 3,000 persons awaiting execution. The House of Bishops also recognized that the death penalty is disproportionately applied to the poor and to minorities and is in direct opposition to the witness of Jesus.

The Bishop’s Task Force on the Death Penalty is dedicated to educating others about the death penalty and motivating them to become advocates for its abolition.

For more information or ways to get involved, please contact Dave Avolio or fill out our Contact Form.


Task Force Updates

February 3, 2017

Efforts to eliminate our state’s death penalty took an important step forward today with the introduction of HB 1395 to the House of Representatives.   A companion bill, SB 5354 was presented to the Senate on January 20th. Every parishioner concerned about this issue is urged to contact Rep. Laurie Jinkins. Chair of the House Judiciary Committee and Sen. Mike Padden, Chair of the Senate Law and Justice Committee, requesting that they hold hearings on these bills. It would be helpful to contact Senator Mark Miloscia and other sponsors of SB 5354, and Representative Tina Orwell and other sponsors of HB 1935, to thank them for their sponsorship.  Contact information can be found on the Legislative web site here.

There will also be a hearing in the House Judiciary Committee on HB 1935, the bill to abolish our death penalty, at 8:00 AM on Wednesday, February 15th.  All are urged to attend to show support.

December 7, 2016

Recently, Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson and former Attorney General Rob McKenna, have launched a drive to pass a bill in the Washington State Legislature or abolish our state’s death penalty.

We call upon all parishes and missions in out Diocese to take action in support of this bill. Parishioners should have the opportunity to learn about the issue, pray about it, talk about it, hear about it and write about it. Members of the Task force welcome invitations to come to parishes to present informational programs.


What Can You Do to End the Death Penalty?
  • Learn about it. Read and study the issue.  See attached list of resources.
  • Pray about it. Individually and corporately in your Prayers of the People, intercessory prayer chains, etc.
  • Talk about it. Discuss the issue with friends and family, attend and testify at legislative committee hearings.
  • Teach about it. Adult education classes, sermons, service clubs, etc.
  • Write about it. Contact your own district legislators, expressing your opinion. Write to bill sponsors, thanking them for their support. Voice your opinion to all members of the House Judiciary Committee and Senate Law and Justice Committee (go to www.leg.wa.gov for names and contact information). Send letters to the editor of newspapers serving your community.

Resources

Organizations

Books

  • Against the Death Penalty, John Bessler
    Presents Justice Stephen Breyer’s landmark dissent in the 2015 Glossip v. Gross decision.
  • Race and the Death Penalty: The Legacy of McLeskey v. Kemp, David Keys and R. J. Marteau
    An update on the controversial 1987 McLeskey decision.
  • Executing Grace, Shane Claiborne
    An evangelical speaks to the death penalty
  • Thirteen Ways to Look at the Death Penalty, Mario Marazziti
    Views of a founder of the World Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty and the work of the Community of Sant Egidio
  • Confronting the Death Penalty: How Language Influences Jurors in Capital Cases, Robin Conley

For an extensive list, go to the Death Penalty Information Center website, www.deathpenaltyinfo.org, click on resources and then books.