Statement of the Rt. Rev. A. Robert Hirschfeld, Bishop of the Episcopal Church in New Hampshire, regarding the repeal of the death penalty in New Hampshire:
I give God thanks that the New Hampshire Senate joined with the House of Representatives to override the Governor’s veto and repeal the state’s death penalty. Today the Legislature fulfilled its moral obligation to the people of New Hampshire and demonstrated the courage to make the right decision.
The death penalty was ineffective as a deterrent to capital crimes, and was a waste of public resources — resources that could otherwise further advance the health and welfare of the people of the state.
More profoundly, the death penalty made us all complicit in homicide. When we put any person to death we do little but show how evil has succeeded in ensnaring us and in drawing us deeper into a web of increasing malice, hatred and violence.
I am deeply grateful to the many people, from a variety of religious and spiritual perspectives, as well as political parties, who worked persistently and with deep faith to abolish this morally repugnant practice.
In New Hampshire, the Diocese’s Prison Concern Committee will continue its good work to advocate for humane and just incarceration policies and practices, eliminate patterns of institutional racism, and promote effective re-entry of formerly incarcerated persons into caring communities.