Conservatives Concerned about the Death Penalty was featured in the Sunday edition of the Washington Post. The article’s author, Marin Cogan, interviewed CCATDP’s Heather Beaudoin and myself, and Cogan highlighted why conservatives are increasingly changing their views on the death penalty. She wrote,
Beaudoin reaches out to evangelical and other faith-based leaders and gets them talking about policy; her colleague Marc Hyden, the group’s national advocacy coordinator, works with movement conservatives, college Republicans, tea party activists and libertarians.
“For me, it’s about redemption,” Beaudoin says. “I think that is true for most evangelicals as well. That’s at the center of our faith. We believe in grace, we believe that God can do wonderful things. How can we say, ‘You are the worst of the worst, you are not worthy, and we will dispose of you?’ What does that say about us and what we believe?”
Hyden says he and Beaudoin have been surprised by how they’ve been welcomed at events like the Conservative Political Action Conference and on conservative college campuses. “I’m finding that we are being accepted in some of the most conservative circles of America,” he says.
Hyden, who previously worked for the National Rifle Association, frames his arguments to movement conservatives in a slightly different way than Beaudoin does. “There’s nothing limited about giving power to the state to kill you,” he says. Especially “if you don’t trust the government to launch a health-care site or deliver mail.”
But he understands as well as anyone that the journey to opposing the death penalty is a long and difficult one. “I used to support it, I’m a little ashamed to say,” Hyden says. “I was willing to violate my own conservative principles.” The harder he looked at the issues, though, “the less I could justify supporting it. It risks innocent lives, there’s no way it’s pro-life and it costs more than life without parole.”