Over the last few years, many leaders of the conservative movement in our state and country have come forward to express their concerns about the death penalty.
On April 15, Conservative Icon Richard Viguerie penned an editorial to NewsOK in Oklahoma citing his explanation of why the death penalty is inconsistent with conservative values.
Viguerie has been vocal in expressing his concern for the clear problems with the implementation of the death penalty throughout the country, particularly with regards to it’s problematic tendency of wrongfully convicting innocent people. He finds this to be entirely at odds with his values “as an anti-abortion, pro-law enforcement conservative who believes in the sanctity of life and society’s duty to protect the innocent.”
Viguerie’s editorial is specifically about Richard Glossip, a man slated for execution in Oklahoma, despite considerable questions of his guilt. The only testimony linking him to the crime came from a man who initially admitted to police that he had committed the murder. No physical evidence links Glossip to the crime for which he is sentenced to die.
The problems with Glossip’s case are unfortunately not unique to Oklahoma. In September 2014, the longest serving death row inmate in our state, Henry McCollum, was exonerated after spending more than 30 years on NC’s death row. In just the last two weeks, series have run in the Charlotte Observer and Greensboro News and Record about questionable convictions. As individuals skeptical of far-reaching governmental power, we are right to be extremely concerned by this reality.
We applaud the leadership exhibited by Richard Viguerie in his appeal to conservatives against the death penalty. “Conservatives are the leaders against government abuse and lawlessness. We understand that government can be callous about its errors, which are costly and cause harm to the innocent” writes Vigueire. “When government tries to execute a man who may well be innocent, I believe we have an even higher calling to speak out.”