Tags: Religion | christian | denominations | liberal | mass incarceration

5 Christian Denominations With the a Liberal Stance on Mass Incarceration

By    |   Thursday, 21 May 2015 12:03 PM

In February 2014, several Christian denominations joined together for the annual Christian Churches Together meeting in Newark, New Jersey, to discuss the issue of mass incarceration in the U.S. Many of the attending denominations took a more liberal approach to mass incarceration, noting that Jesus not only "loves the prisoner" but also was one.

Here are five Christian denominations that take the most liberal stance on mass incarceration:

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1. Evangelical Church
Evangelicals not only expressed opposition for mass incarceration through their attendance in the CCT meeting, but also have openly called for prison reform since 1983. In April 2013, the National Association of Evangelicals wrote a letter to the U.S. Senate asking senators to support Mike Lee's (R-Utah) and Richard Durbin's (D-Ill.) Smarter Sentencing Act, which would reduce the sentences for perpetrators of nonviolent and low level drug crimes.

2. Episcopal Church
The Episcopal Church has launched several programs to help those incarcerated and has supported legislation that promotes prison reform. The denomination has launched summer camps for the children of incarcerated individuals and also issued a statement after the Ferguson riots acknowledging that they consider mass incarceration to be an issue. The Episcopal Church also urged people to support the Second Chance Act encouraging prison reform.

3. Catholic Church
Pope Francis supports solving society's problems through a pursuit of social justice rather than by punishing crime. He condemned society’s constant use of criminal punishment and said incarcerated individuals were treated like “sacrificial victims, accused of the disgraces of society,” Catholic News Service reported.

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4. United Church of Christ
The United Church of Christ is a leading force in ecumenical efforts to advocate for social justice, including efforts against mass incarceration. In April 2015, leaders of the United Church of Christ helped organize Faith Call to End Mass Incarceration, a conference to advocate for a justice system that better incorporates the Christian values including forgiveness, fairness, justice, and repentance.

5. Baptist Church
According to the National Baptist Convention, the Baptist Church partners with criminal justice, crime prevention, and prison ministry programs for the African-American community in order to “bring persons into meaningful and right relationship with God.” The denomination has led multiple movements to help ex-prisoners re-adjust to society in addition to being staunch supporters of The Sentencing Project, which aims to document the trends in the American prison system.

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In February 2014, several Christian denominations met for the annual Christian Churches Together meeting to discuss the issue of mass incarceration in the U.S. Many of the attending denominations took a more liberal approach, noting that Jesus not only "loves the prisoner" but also was one.
christian, denominations, liberal, mass incarceration
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2015-03-21
Thursday, 21 May 2015 12:03 PM
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