National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty
Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
Washington, DC—On Thursday, January 15th, the states of Oklahoma and Florida are scheduled to conduct their first executions of 2015 by putting to death Charles Frederick Warner and Johnny Kormondy, respectively. Although the national observance is the following Monday, January 15th also marks the birthday of renowned nonviolent civil rights activist and anti-death penalty advocate Martin Luther King, Jr.
Dr. King received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964 for his efforts in combating racial inequality through nonviolence. Dr. King said of the death penalty, “I do not think that God approves of the death penalty for any crime, rape and murder included. Capital punishment is against the better judgment of modern criminology and above all, against the highest expression of love in the nature of God.”
Said Diann Rust-Tierney, Executive Director of the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, and Barbara Arnwine, Executive Director of the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law:
“The death penalty has no place within the moral framework of a more peaceful and just society, for which Dr. King gave his life Oklahoma and Florida mar the remembrance of this great man by choosing his birthday as the day for executions. . All who honor the memory of Dr. King must be jarred and disturbed by the sad spectacle of two executions on the day that marks his birth. We are appalled by the lack of sensitivity and poor judgment being demonstrated here.”