Catholics denounce federal execution of Navajo tribe member

Catholic leaders have joined their voices with members of the Navajo Nation in opposing the Aug. 26 scheduled execution of Lezmond Mitchell, the only Native American on federal death row.

“The federal government’s planned execution of Mr. Mitchell violates the Navajo Nation’s cultural values, serves as a manifestation of the racial oppression inflicted upon Native Americans for centuries in the United States and devalues the sacred dignity of human life,” said Krisanne Vaillancourt Murphy, executive director of Catholic Mobilizing Network.

Vaillancourt Murphy, in an Aug. 24 column in America magazine, stressed that the Catholic tradition is not alone in opposing the death penalty, noting that “the Navajo culture, too, professes the sanctity of life, a teaching which undergirds the opposition of the Navajo Nation and many other tribes to the practice of capital punishment.”

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