The overall goal of the Clergy and Faith Community Mobilization Project is to educate and organize within faith-based communities, which are typically more sympathetic that the population at large to death penalty abolition. Through meetings, the distribution of materials, and coalition building, we hope to energize California's religious base to be strong, knowledgeable and effective advocates for death penalty abolition.
One barrier discouraging clergy from discussing the death penalty with their congregations-though the vast majority of the world's faiths have official doctrine against the death penalty-is a lack of resources and a general discomfort with the issue. A key component the Clergy and Faith Community Mobilization Project will be to host, clergy-only luncheons in key counties which will serve to educate clergy about the death penalty (including county-specific information about number of death sentences and violent crime statistics) and foster dialogue about the issue. At these luncheons, relevant guest speakers-such as murder victims' family members, law enforcement personnel, or individuals formerly on death row who were found innocent-will help to foster dialogue. Clergy will be provided with clergy-specific materials which will support them in their efforts to speak to their communities about the faith community. Additionally, representatives of each faith community will give a presentation on their faith's teachings, with time for questions and discussion.
Each luncheon will aim to gather 50 religious leaders from that county, and will lead to a series of concrete actions by which DPF may measure success. Participating clergy will sign pledge cards, commit to speak about the death penalty a specific number of times in the upcoming year and they will receive materials to distribute in their place of worship.
- Host clergy-only luncheons in key California counties
- Develop and distribute 10,000 - 20,000 pamphlets/brochures to religious institutions in key counties.
- Increase the number of articles about the death penalty in religious publications
- Arrange for a religious delegation(s) to meet with key legislative and civic leaders
- Work in coalition with California People of Faith Working Against the Death Penalty, which was originally founded by Death Penalty Focus in 1999.