06/12/05 — Ministers discuss death penalty moratorium

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Ministers discuss death penalty moratorium

By News-Argus Staff
Published in News on June 12, 2005 2:01 AM

Local ministers and laymen met Friday at Greenleaf Christian Church to discuss the proposed death penalty moratorium.

Among the nearly two dozen participants at Friday's roundtable was the Rev. Dr. Gregory Moss, senior pastor
at St. Paul Baptist Church in Charlotte. He pointed to Bible chapters from
Luke and Isaiah as evidence of God's restrictions on vengeance for crimes committed and said politicians were playing "political football" with the issue.

People who oppose the death penalty are called soft on crime the same as people who oppose U.S. intervention in Iraq as being unpatriotic, Moss said.

Dennis Jacobs, senior pastor at Christ Centered Church, also used biblical text as reason to support the two-year halt.

"The scriptures mandate we have this moratorium," Jacobs said.

The Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II said the moratorium made common sense. The system has shown itself to be flawed, he said, and until its flaws are determined and corrected, the executions need to stop.

"It its possible to be pro justice, pro punishment and pro victim and still be anti-death penalty and support a moratorium, particularly as a Christian," Barber said.

"The justice system is broken and has been broken for a long time, said Wilbur Barnes of the NAACP. "Any logical-thinking person would do the right thing ... we cannot allow the status quo to continue," Barnes said.

Mary Rhoe, a member of the state board of the NAACP, said officials in the justice system should be held accountable when people are wrongfully placed on death row.

Minister Debra Lloyd said the public would be responsible for wrongful executions "when we don't speak up to a flawed system."