Religion enters the death penalty debate

Religion enters the death penalty debate

LITTLE ROCK, AR (KAIT/KARK) - A Central Arkansas minister said this week that the debate over the death penalty in Arkansas has weighed heavily on his mind and his heart.

"It's not our responsibility. That's up to God, not to us," Rev. Britt Skarda Sr. told Little Rock television station KARK.

Skarda is one of several ministers and pastors to talk about the issue in recent weeks during their sermons. Skarda told KARK that he recently started talking about the issue from the pulpit.

"I feel like it is a front to the gospel. The good news of Jesus Christ came to offer forgiveness," Skarda said.

Skarda, who serves as senior pastor of Pulaski Heights United Methodist Church, said his church opposes capital punishment and that he believes the time of the executions during religious season sends a wrong message.

"It's very difficult to understand Christians celebrating one day the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the coming of forgiveness and wholeness, and the next day Christians doing this act of taking lives," Skarda said.

Hindu Raj Gandhi also spoke about the issue.

"For serious crimes, I believe that the committed person should be killed," Gandhi said.

Gandhi told KARK that a criminal that kills someone is violating God's will and that taxpayers should not pay for the housing.

"Alternately they're all a burden to society and I think we should get rid of them," Gandhi said.

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