The National Latino Evangelical Coalition (NaLEC) became the first national association of Evangelical congregations to join the effort to repeal the death penalty. NaLEC’s board of directors voted unanimously for the resolution and is urging its 3,000 member congregations to support efforts to end capital punishment across the country.
The President of NaLEC, Rev. Gabriel Salguero, said, “As Christ followers, we are called to work toward justice for all. And as Latinos, we know too well that justice is not always even-handed. The death penalty is plagued by racial and economic disparities and risks executing an innocent person. Human beings are fallible and there is no room for fallibility in matters of life and death.”
Rev. Salguero is featured at the press conference here:
EJUSA began a dialog with NaLEC in 2013, when we gave a workshop at the group’s Advocacy Institute and a presentation to their board of directors. Fernando Bermudez joined the presentation to tell his story of being wrongfully convicted. He spent 18 years in prison in New York for a murder he did not commit.
“After prayer, reflection, and dialog with anti-death penalty organizations like Equal Justice USA, we felt compelled to add our voice to this important issue,” said Rev. Salguero.
Heather Beaudoin directs EJUSA’s Evangelical outreach and has been meeting with Evangelical leaders across the country since joining EJUSA in 2011.
“The faith community has been a critical force in the movement to repeal the death penalty,” said Heather. “One exception has been the Evangelical community, but that is changing along with the larger national trend away from the capital punishment. We have found a real eagerness among Evangelicals to take another look at this issue. We are thrilled to formally welcome NaLEC into the death penalty abolition movement.”
Last year, Rev. Salguero called on “Hispanic evangelical leaders to closely examine their stance on capital punishment and mass incarceration.”