Written by Sister Patrick Murphy, PVBM
Rodney Berget was the 19th person executed in South Dakota.
As a member of the Presentation Sisters, I’m hoping you will help us to ensure that he is the last person executed in our state.
No one deserves to die. When the government administers vengeance disguised as justice, it becomes complicit with killers in devaluing human life and human dignity. In civilized society, we reject the principle of doing to criminals what they do to their victims: the penalty for rape cannot be rape, or for arson, the burning down of the arsonist's house. We should not, therefore, punish the murderer with death.
I, along with the American Civil Liberties Union of South Dakota, believe the death penalty inherently violates the constitutional ban against cruel and unusual punishment.
A society that respects life does not deliberately kill human beings. An execution is a violent public spectacle of official homicide, and one that endorses killing to solve social problems — the worst possible example to set for the citizenry, and especially children.
Yours in life,
Sister Patrick Murphy, PVBM
Presentation Sisters Mission for Justice and Non-violence