A coalition of religious leaders and others gathered in
Concord on March 25, to bring awareness to the statewide effort to repeal the
death penalty in the state of New Hampshire.
The New Hampshire Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, a collection of various groups, offered reflections, prayers, and hymns, at locations around the city between St. Paul’s Church and St. Peter/Christ the King Parish. The march was originally supposed to take the vigil attendees to Blossom Hill Cemetery, outside of the New Hampshire State Prison, but it was cut short due to the chilly temperatures and the wind chill factor.
The vigil was one of a number of events being held around the state in the wake of the Legislature voting to repeal the death penalty by a more than two-to-one margin in the House. The legislation moves to the state Senate this week and activists are hoping it will be approved there and later, signed by Gov. Maggie Hassan, D-Exeter.
The marchers made a number of stops along North State Street in an effort to stress points about humanity outside of nonprofit organizations and churches, with religious leaders and activists offering comment.
The Rev. Jonathan Hopkins of Concordia Lutheran Church and the president of the New Hampshire Council of Churches, megaphone in hand, suggested instead of accepting capital punishment, people should be following the teachings of Jesus. The gospel of Matthew, he noted, preached against retaliatory violence.
“(An eye for an eye) was not God’s permission to allow states to execute people,” he said. “An eye for an eye was a compromise of sorts for people who could not abide by God’s perfect will.”
Here are some pictures and a short video clip from the march.