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Friday, March 13, 2009

New Mexico Senate Approves HB 285
The Senate approved the measure on a vote of 24 yes, 18 no.  HB 285 would replace the state’s death penalty with a sentence of life in prison. Governor Bill Richardson has not said whether he will sign the bill, but has said that his past support of the death penalty has “softened,”
Dear Friend,
The time has come for personal contacts to New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson urging him to take a leadership position on New Mexico’s groundbreaking package of legislation designed to better support the families of murder victims.  Please craft and send your personal message today.  A phone call would be great, and even better would be if you fax a letter, then follow it up with a telephone call.  An additional touch would be to also send the letter in the postal mail.

Thank you for taking this action today.  If you have any questions or I can help you in any way, please do not hesitate to contact me directly.

Viki Elkey
Executive Director 

New Mexico Coalition to Repeal the Death Penalty
PO Box 8552
Santa Fe, NM 87504
Fax: 505.986.9287
Cell: 505.205.3750

www.nmrepeal.org
viki@nmrepeal.org

Information for calls, letters and faxes to NM Governor Bill Richardson

Address:        Office of the Governor

490 Old Santa Fe Trail
Room 400
Santa Fe, NM 87501

Telephone:    (505)827-3000

Fax:                (505)827-3026
Email:            gov@gov.state.nm.us

Points to make in your message to the Governor:

Please encourage Governor Richardson to support HB 285 to abolish the death penalty in New Mexico, and also support HB 211 that allows for paid or unpaid leave for family members to attend court proceedings and HB 284 that expands services to murder victim family members in New Mexico.

It’s about helping murder victim families:

New Mexico will become the first state to TRULY put victims’ families first.  When murder happens, it is the family of the victim that suffers the most and the longest – yet our criminal justice system is focused on how to treat the murderer. It is time for the focus to return to the family, to address the harsh realities of losing a loved one. The Catastrophic Crime and Family Restitution Program would replace the death penalty with true life without parole and create an innovative package of services for the families of murder victims – the first such program in the country. This legislation is the toughest on criminals and the most compassionate to the families of the victim.

 

Public opinion supports this package of bills:

A statewide December 2008 poll of likely New Mexican voters showed that 64% support replacing the death penalty with life without parole plus restitution to victims’ families.  That number is higher for the following categories:

1.        Hispanic voters, 72%

2.        Democrats, 73%

3.        Roman Catholics, 73%

Keeping the death penalty means risking a wrongful execution:

At least 130 men and women who were convicted and sentenced to death have been released from death row nationwide since 1973 – less than 15% of them through DNA evidence.  Rather, it is false witness testimony, police misconduct and prosecutorial misconduct that put innocent men and women on death row in this country.   In 1974, New Mexico sentenced to death four innocent men, Thomas Gladis, Ronald Keine, Clarence Smith and Richard Greer, based on false witness testimony and police misconduct. A 1992 study found 23 cases since 1900 where innocent people were executed.

The death penalty costs too much:

According to the NM Public Defender Department, the abolition of the death penalty would save New Mexico several million dollars each year.  The costs of the death penalty are borne systemically, impacting the Public Defender Department, the Attorney General’s office, the various District Attorney offices, and the trial and the appellate courts.  In December, 2004, Supreme Court Chief Justice Bosson estimated that the cost of a death penalty case was 6 times higher than other murder cases in New Mexico.

The world is watching:

Since 2007, the last time an abolition bill was up for consideration in the NM State Legislature, the following countries have abolished the death penalty – Liberia, Mexico, the Philippines, Albania, Rwanda, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Chile, Argentina and the Tongo.  This brings the total number of abolitionist countries to 91, with another 33 countries that are abolitionist in practice.  New Mexico wants to join these countries in abolishing the death penalty instead of remaining with the likes of China, Cuba, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.

Dott. Claudio Giusti

Via Don Minzoni 40, 47100 Forlì, Italia
Tel.  39/0543/401562     39/340/4872522
e-mail  giusticlaudio@aliceposta.it

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Mr. Maurizio Benazzi,
Thank you for your kind and respectful letter and request. I am delighted to offer a response and to have you use any of the following for the newsletter Ecumenici – Leonhard Ragaz. It is a very important initiative and I am grateful for your leadership and service for peace and justice through it.

In addition to what I will share in this text, I invite you to use anything you find useful from our website – www.mlp.org – my bio, other writings, etc. You might find interesting that I just returned from a Benefit Climb of Mt. Kilimanjaro for LGBT Equality — and took an Italian rainbow PACE flag with me to the summit. Photos of that Italian PACE flag are on our website with the stories at www.mlp.org

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For your use in the newsletter:

 

First of all, we are very glad to welcome you among us, dear friend: how do you feel in yr job in MLP, psychologically, physically and spiritually?

As an out gay human rights activist, I work to foster understanding, acceptance and embrace of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender persons and their families within their faith communities of choice and civil society. I have been an activist serving in the LGBT and HIV-AIDS communities since 1988. Radical progress has been achieved toward LGBT equality and in raising awareness and support for those affected by HIV-AIDS, and there is much yet to accomplish.

Working for change and LGBT equality within faith communities in the United States, with particular attention to the Christian tradition and the Presbyterian Church (USA) as an out gay person of faith places me in remarkable situations. I am often interpreting “the church” to LGBT persons encouraging them to know that not all Christians are anti-gay, and at the same time, working to let Christians know that many of us who are people of faith want to fully participate within our church, tradition or faith community.

I do believe absolutely that as queer people, we are people of heart and spirit. I believe that being gay is a gift, a blessing and certainly not a mistake or curse. I believe that God creates all persons in the image of God, that God loves all of God’s creation unconditionally, and that all persons should be unconditionally welcome into all faith communities.

 

What are the purposes of the MLP? Do you believe you reached those goals in USA …and in Europe have you contacts?


Having worked full-time for More Light Presbyterians, the national LGBT equality network within the Presbyterian Church (USA) since 1999, it has become evident to me that this work of LGBT equality, like other peace and justice work, is a long-distance run, a marathon, not a sprint. It is important, therefore, for all of us who are activists to take good care of ourselves and each other, physically, emotionally and spiritually.

While we have some correspondence with LGBT people of faith in Europe, and around the world, we do not have a tangible network beyond the USA. I keep a global view by participating in Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.

How can we the europeans, whether as citizens or as believers, help american people, to settle peace in Iraq by the means of non-violence?
It is important for all the people of the world who are committed to making peace and ending war to keep speaking up and speaking out. It is essential for each person to work for peace within their own country, to continue holding up the possibilities and necessity for peace to their own political and religious leaders. A growing number of citizens within the USA oppose war, and this war in Iraq. Many of us have opposed this war from its start. As Italians, please continue to place pressure upon your political leaders to not support the USA in such unilateral actions. And, may all of us continue to pray for peace while working to end this war. The other day my heart was encouraged by seeing a sign on a car in my hometown of Santa Fe, New Mexico that said this, “I oppose the next war.”

While it is necessary to persist in political action, to speak out, to voice our commitments to peace… it is also necessary to live together in peace where we are by recognized all persons and creation as sacred, worthy of respect, equality and care.

 

What spiritual message would you send to our subscribers, believers of every religious confession and non-believers?
As a person of faith, I take seriously the commandment of Jesus as recorded in the Gospels, that we are commanded to “love God, neighbor and self.” And, Jesus was clear to say that their are no boundaries to that understanding of neighbor, that all persons are our neighbors. The spiritual ethics, teachings and example of Jesus parallel Buddha. The ethical teachings and essence of Judaism, Christianity, Islam and Buddhism mirror each other in the call for all persons, all beings to dwell together in peace, harmony and community. Any departure from these ethics and values do not reflect the truth of each.

It is not possible for a person of faith, Christian, Jew, Muslim or Buddhist, to authentically claim that lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender persons are not equally created sacred and natural. Who we are, who we fall in love with, how we make love and create family as LGBT persons is natural and sacred.

 

What do you think about ecumenism in the U.S?


The ecumenical movement in the United States with roots back to the 1960’s finds some of its strongest expression and growth within the Welcoming Church Movement in the United States and Canada. Many of us who are working for LGBT equality within our own tradition share resources, network and organize across denomination or faith tradition lines. Those who study the growth of churches indicate that the Welcoming Church Movement is experiencing significant growth in the midst of decline for those who are unwilling to offer hospitality, welcome and affirmation to LGBT persons and their families.

While we continue to address homophobia and heterosexism within civil society and among some religious groups, the tide has turned. It is not morally or spiritually acceptable to “gay bash” as it was even a few years ago. In political, religious and social circles and discourse, it is not possible to “get away” with anti-gay remarks or discrimination without a challenge now.

 

Can we find in USA a sincere dialogue with islamic religion?


Interfaith dialogues for and between LGBT Christians, Jews and Muslims continue to be part of the welcoming movement within both the USA and Canada. We share common goals of working for understanding and acceptance within our own faith traditions, as well as dealing with mythology about us that seems to be similar across lines. Interesting, fundamentalist theology and language sounds quite the same whether it comes from a fundamentalist Christian, Jew or Muslim. It is not acceptable that any religion, society or government ruled by religion, treat LGBT persons as second-class human beings or citizens. All persons of faith, and all human beings committed to fairness, must challenge any and all ant-gay attitudes, laws or treatment that harms or discriminates against LGBT persons and their families.

 

Can you tell us about a few meaningful episodes of your personal and ecclesiastic life; what’s happen today in USA in LGBT community and the HIV-AIDS Community ?


I see many signs for hope. More countries are recognizing that they violate principles of fairness by not allowing same-gender couples to marry. Those of us working for marriage equality for same-gender couples in the USA are encouraged when other countries lead the way, lead by example and offer same-gender marriage and/or civil unions. While struggles continues within religious bodies, there is no turning back. Not too many years ago, invisibility and silence were the rule. Now, as LGBT persons we are out, we are claiming our spiritual birthright along with equal civil rights alongside heterosexuals.
My best to you and those you love,
Michael

Michael J. Adee, M.Div., Ph.D., Nationa Field Organizer
More Light Presbyterians, 369 Montezuma Avenue # 447, Santa Fe, New Mexico 87501 USA
(505) 820-7082 , michaeladee@aol.com, www.mlp.org

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We must act and dare the appropiateness and not whatever comes to our mind not floating in the likelihood but grasp the reality as brave as we can be freedom lies in action not in the absence of mind obedience knows the essence of good and satisfies it, freedom dares to act and returns God the ultimate judgment of what is right and what is wrong, Obedience performs blindly but Freedom is wide awake Freedom wants to know why, Obedience has its hands tied, Freedom is inventive obedient man respects God’s commands and by virtu of his Freedom, he creats new commands. Both Obedience and Freedom come true in responsability (Dietrich Bonhoeffer)

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