By The Rev. Michele Fischer
On Monday, June 13th, the South Carolina Synod Assembly received a resolution for a faithful approach to the death penalty in South Carolina from Pastors Beth and Don Costlow, from Lutheran Church of Our Saviour in Greenville, along with congregational member William Kendig.
When read before the assembly, the resolution included references to The Ten Commandments, Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount, and both the Small and Large Catechisms, and finally the ELCA’s social statement against the death penalty, which was approved in 1991.
The resolution requested a study on the death penalty, with a report to be presented to the South Carolina Synod Assembly in 2023, and guidance in engaging our state legislators.
RESOLVED that the South Carolina Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, in Assembly June 12-14, 2022, call upon the Synod Council, the Criminal Justice Task Force, and other interested persons to lead our synod in studying criminal justice in general, and the death penalty in particular, thereby equipping and mobilizing our synod congregations to address the issues of criminal justice in reference to the death penalty; and be it finally
RESOLVED that the efforts of this group be reported back to our 2023 Synod Assembly with recommendations for ways our entire South Carolina Synod can faithfully and effectively engage our state legislators.
South Carolina is one of twenty-seven states that still have the death penalty. In May of 2021, the state legislature authorized the use of the firing squad if they were unable to use a lethal injection.
Several members of the assembly stood up to speak for the resolution. There were no speakers against the resolution.
The resolution passed 256 vs. 43.