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Monday, September 24, 2018

06-13 NW Indiana Catholic

Murder Victims’ Families for Reconciliation members present Rev. Bernice King a Indiana Journey of Hope T-shirt

REV. BERNICE KING PRAISES GROUP'S STAND FOR COMPASSION AND FORGIVENESS
BY ELIZABETH JOHNSON

    Gary -- Calling Murder Victim's Families for Reconciliation (MVFR) "one of the most important organizations in America," Reverend Bernice King praised those taking part in the June 4-20 "Journey of Hope" for "setting a higher standard of compassion, forgiveness and non-violence."
    King, the youngest child of slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., spoke Saturday, June5, at Ss. Monica-Luke Church.  Her message of reconciliation was part of the Journey of Hope's activities in Gary.  MVFR is an organization of the families of homicide victims who are opposed to capital punishment.
    King prefaced her remarks by stating that she is opposed to the death penalty under any circumstances.
    "I lost my father and my grandmother to violence, yet I cannot accept the judgment that their killers deserved to be executed," she stated.  "Sometimes, I struggle with my feelings of anger, but then I remember that my father was a Christian minister who preached a message of forgiveness and non-violence."
    As the daughter of a minister and as an ordained Christian minister herself, King said that she is called to "love the evil-doers even as I deplore their deeds.  This isn't easy."
    Christianity, she points out, calls for forgiveness as a way to spiritual wholeness.  Capital punishment denies survivors the opportunity to forgive those who have wronged them.
    "Revenge and retribution can never bring about healing," she said.  "Every act of violence leaves in its wake the seeds of more violence.  We have to make something positive come out of the tragedies we have faced.  Forgiveness is a positive, transforming, healing force."
    King said that while she opposes the death penalty on moral reasons as a Christina, she also has "equally compelling social reason" as a concerned citizen for opposing capital punishment.
    She spoke of innocent people who have been wrongfully executed.
    "The death penalty makes irrevocable the miscarriage of justice," she stated. "Is it worth the death of even one innocent person to execute 2,500 who are guilty?"
    Capital punishment, she said, sets an example of brutality that makes us, as a country, "a little less humane, and more willing to take human life again."
    "If we are ever going to have credibility for moral leadership in the world, we will have to abolish the death penalty," she stated.
    King also called for handgun control, particularly the Brady Bill, but not as part of an omnibus crime bill that includes additional capital punishment offenses. She urged her listeners to take a stronger stand against the glorification of violence in film, television and popular music.
    To those taking part in the Journey of Hope, she said, "I salute you for your bravery.  Your efforts will reap a great victory for humanity --- a more just and loving America.