Bishop Hirschfeld's Testimony on HB 351, Expansion of the Death Penalty

On February 7, Bishop Hirschfeld submitted written testimony on HB 351, "Relative to an act making a person who knowingly causes the death of a child guilty of capital murder." You can read the Bill Language HERE.

The following is Bishop Hirschfeld's written testimony:

Dear Chairman Welch, Vice Chairman Sapareto, Members of the House of Representatives’ Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee, thank you for the opportunity to enter my testimony into the record.

No one can argue against the need to punish perpetrators of crimes against children, especially murder.  Such violence against the most vulnerable among us evokes in all of us the most jagged and painful of human emotions, including the urge to seek retribution.  However, as a Christian, a follower of Jesus who urged us not to seek vengeance, I speak against New Hampshire’s Death Penalty, even when it is intended for those who commit heinous acts against our most vulnerable.

I do not believe we want to be complicit in the state-sponsored taking of life.  Nor do we want to bear the enormous financial cost incurred by the death penalty of needed funds that can be more healthfully expended for the benefit of New Hampshire.  The death penalty only perpetuates a culture of hatred, which perpetuates the violence of our society.

I am opposed to this Bill because it damages the dignity of the citizens of this great State.  To expand the death penalty, and not to seek to end it completely, erodes our adherence to our highest values and imperils our collective soul.