On May 15, 2015, Bishop Alan M. Gates and Bishop Gayle E. Harris of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts issued the following statement regarding the sentencing of Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev:
We are grieved at the death sentence rendered today by the jury in the trial of Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Our church’s teaching insists that institutionalized violence neither answers nor prevents other forms of violence, and that execution is an unjustified violation of the prohibition against taking a human life–even in a case such as this where the wanton disregard for life displayed by the Marathon bombing is repugnant and morally inexcusable.
In the immediate aftermath of this sentencing decision, when our reactions are, naturally, emotional and visceral ones, words from the prayer attributed to St. Francis may help us in our own prayers and response:
“Lord, make us instruments of your peace;
Where there is hatred, let us sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is discord, union;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
And where there is sadness, joy…”
As a community of faith, let us rededicate ourselves to peace in every context.
The Rt. Rev. Alan M. Gates, Bishop
The Rt. Rev. Gayle E. Harris, Bishop Suffragan
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See the bishops’ April 23 statement against the death penalty here.