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Uniting Church opposes death penalty for Bali bombers

The Uniting Church in Australia has today reaffirmed its opposition to the death penalty, amidst speculation that the execution of three men responsible for the 2002 Bali Bombings is imminent.

Uniting Church President, Rev Gregor Henderson, said that while the Church condemns terrorism and continues to pray for those affected by the horrific and devastating events of October 2002, the Church would not condone the death penalty under any circumstances.

“We acknowledge the ongoing suffering, anger and loss experienced by the Balinese and Australian communities since 12 October 2002,” Mr Henderson said.

“The crimes were abhorrent, and those responsible must be held to account.

“But the Uniting Church is a peacemaking church, committed to working for peace and justice in the world. As Christians, we believe that we are called to love our neighbour as we love ourselves and to extend this love even to our enemies.

“We regard human life as sacred and it is this belief that calls us to reject capital punishment, wherever it exists.”

MR Henderson said that the bombings had touched our collective conscience on matters central to human existence: the presence of human evil in the world; vulnerability and fear in the face of violence; and the meaning of justice.

But, he said, justice would not be served through the execution of those convicted of the crime.

“We are committed to standing against the death penalty, believing that it denies the possibility of personal transformation which we believe is one of God’s gifts available to everyone,” Mr Henderson said.

“The Church therefore calls upon its members to pray for the perpetrators of the Bali bombings while we continue to offer our constant prayers and support for the many victims and their families.”