Quaker Universalist Conversations

Death penalty opposition in the Philippines

Statement of the Bohol Friends Worship Group in the Philippines

A Statement of Concern on the Spate of Killings and Reimposition of Death Penalty in Our Country

“Love your neighbor as yourself”. (Mark 12:31)
“THOU SHALL NOT KILL”. (Exodus 20:13)
”Anyone who kills you thinks he is offering service to God… because they have not known the Father”. (John 16:2)

We, the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) in the Philippines, hereby express our deep concern on the spate of killings and the intent to reimpose death penalty in our country which we vehemently oppose.

In the midst of all these, we strongly support the legitimate efforts of our national government in its Anti-Illegal Drugs Campaign and we call for the Mainstreaming of Rehabilitation instead of treating drug dependents as incorrigible criminals. We also laud its moves for Peace Talks with insurgent forces, initiatives to address Labor, Agrarian, Social Welfare, Education, and Environment issues and challenges, with particular attention for the poor.

But we cannot countenance the reimposition of death penalty in our country’s judicial system. The United Nations emphasized the “harsh reality” that the death penalty discriminates. “Study after study proves that if you are poor, minority or mentally disabled, you are at higher risk regardless of guilt or innocence. The right to life—broadly understood as a right to be free from deadly violence, maiming, torture, and starvation—is paramount. The special status of life is reflected in the Ten Commandments. The Koran teaches that if anyone saves a life, it shall be as though he had saved the lives of all mankind. In the Jewish tradition, he who saves one soul, it’s as if he saved the entire world. The Catholic Church extends this right to the unborn.

“Going deeper and beyond the Golden Rule that behooves us to ‘do unto others what we want others do unto us’, there are really no ‘others’, so whatever you seem to do to another you actually do to yourself. For in our fundamental oneness as humanity in the parenthood of one God, you and I are indeed one, identical with each other through our identity ultimately with the Ground of all being. Then how could I ever want to harm or do violence to myself? All beings desire their own well-being. I must therefore wish for you what I wish for myself, since we are one”.

We firmly believe in the futility of the methods of outward domination, and of the appeal to force. For not through antagonism, but through co-operation in its widest sense, will the best be achieved for each and all.

“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law”. (Galatians 5:22-23)

“Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me”.

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