Shane Claiborne is back with us as a 2016 contributor at the festival where he will do several sessions empowering Christians to work to end the death penalty. We are inspired by Shane’s commitment to ending the death penalty and fueling his activism with his faith. Check out the below letter from Shane and maybe you can join him on the steps of the Supreme Court in holding vigil to abolish the death penalty June 29th to July 2nd.
A Letter From Shane Claiborne
To all my grace-filled revolutionary friends,
Here’s what I realized as I finished writing my new book Executing Grace. This isn’t just about a book. It is about a movement that has the potential to make history – to make the death penalty history.
This isn’t an ad (I’ve never been much of a self-promoter), it’s about uniting our voices and movements to stand on the side of grace, redemption, and life… and to put an end to the death penalty once and for all. I am hearing conservatives, liberals, and political misfits (I think that’s what I am) who are all convinced that if we work together we can create better forms of justice than killing those who kill to show that it is wrong to kill.
Unfortunately, when it comes to the death penalty – we Christians have been the champions of death. 85% of executions happen in the Bible belt. Where Christians are most concentrated is where the death penalty continues to flourish. It’s time to change that – as we declare the truth that no one is beyond redemption. And for those of you who are not Christians, we need your voice and your courageous witness too. We Christians don’t own exclusive rights to grace and mercy. We need your voice.
So here are a few really practical ways we can collectively disrupt the machinery of death in America:
Order Executing Grace now, as it releases this week, so that it can hit some bestseller lists and get as much buzz as possible. If you like it, throw a review up on Amazon. If you don’t like it, keep that to yourself (just kidding). We have also created a very helpful “Influencer Kit” which is sort of a tool box with everything you need to spread the word, and keep amplifying the message of grace.
Go to our website and check out the materials there. We’ve worked hard to create practical resources, links, facts, and photos there… useful info for organizing and creating conversations. There’s also a press kit for media on the site.
If you’re feeling a little more on the wild side, join me and some of my heroes on the steps of the Supreme Court as we hold vigil to abolish the death penalty on June 29-July 2. Every year, groups working for the abolition of the death penalty converge during this specific week, which marks both the date executions were halted in 1972 and when they resumed 4 years later. Murder victims’ family members against execution, exonerees (folks wrongfully convicted), and families of the executed – all join together. It’s a powerful event, and I hope you’ll join, even for a day. Register for the vigil here.
I want you to know that I feel so honored to have such incredible friends with whom I get to conspire and plot goodness, and create holy mischief. We really do have a movement on our hands. So much is at stake. Many lives are at stake. The message of God’s grace is at stake. So let’s do this thing… and make the death penalty history.
I love you each and all. Thanks for being such powerful voices for grace. Thanks for doing what you can to amplify the message of Executing Grace and bring about an end to execution.
– Shane Claiborne
Author / Speaker / Activist