Capital punishments are on the declines, according to the Death Penalty Information Center. A new report says that state-sanctioned executions have fallen to the lowest number in 25 years. This year, there were 28 death penalties recorded, the lowest since 1991 (when states reported 14). The center’s executive director, Robert Dunham, told The New York Times, “The numbers are consistent with a long-term trend in which public support for the death penalty is dropping, the number of executions is dropping and the number of death penalties imposed is dropping.” He thinks a major reason for growing public opposition to the death penalty seems to be the rising number of exonerations of death row inmates—causing people to question the fairness of the death penalty. And as a result, many juries are opting to sentence offenders to life in prison rather than death, which is causing a drop in court-sentenced executions—in face, the report indicates numbers the country hasn't seen since the '70s. Discuss
Yesterday, a private charter plane carried 149 Christian refugees from Kurdistan to Slovakia where they are receiving full asylum, made possible by a ton of donations totaling $12 million. The average donation to the fund, which is operated by the organization Mercury One, was $100. The refugees, who are residents of the historically Christian Nineveh, were terrorized by ISIS back in August 2014. The refugees will now enter a three-year integration program, which will include education, language training and accommodations to help them integrate into Slovakian society.
Mercury One was founded by political pundit, Glenn Beck, who heavily encouraged his listeners to help the persecuted Christians in the Middle East. As a result, 130,000 listeners donated, according to a statement by Beck. In a press release about the evacuation, humanitarian Johnnie Moore, whose advocacy led to the creation of the Nazarene Fund, said:
[The] evacuation is the result of many months of careful planning involving a team of people, but none of this would have been possible without the generous support of thousands upon thousands of those who donated to Mercury One’s Nazarene Fund. For a year, I traveled around the world speaking up on behalf of persecuted Christians, but so few were willing to act. This wasn’t the case with Glenn Beck and—more importantly—his audience. This evacuation is the first in a series of interventions we are making on behalf of ancient Christian communities in the Middle East, which are facing an ongoing genocide.
The famously brutal terrorist group, ISIS, claims it will execute 180 Assyrian Christians who they kidnapped in February. The group demanded the Assyrian community pay $12 million for the release of the captured Christians, but Assyrian leadership says the amount is “unbearable.” The Christian Post cited Osama Edward, director of the Assyrian Human Rights Network, as saying, "The negotiations ... have been suspended due to the unbearable demands of the terror group. ISIS threatened to execute the 180 hostages if we didn't pay the ransom."
The kidnapped Assyrians are part of a group of 230 ISIS captured back in February from the Khabur river valley in Syria. Discuss