According to The New York Times, Illinois governor Pat Quinn signed a bill today abolishing the death penalty in his state. Illinois joins a list of 15 other states including Alaska, Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin which have also eliminated capital punishment. One of the bill’s supporters was anti-death-penalty activist Sister Helen Prejean, made famous when portrayed by Susan Sarandon in the Oscar-winning movie Dead Man Walking.
Who truly has the ethical and spiritual authority to decide if “an eye for an eye” is just punishment for a crime? How does killing someone, even when they’re guilty beyond all reasonable doubt, serve the victim, the victim’s family, and society at large?
Hopefully more states (including my own) will realize that the death penalty is moralistic and out-dated, and will pass similar abolition bills in the future.