Ethical Actions

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American Ethical Union Opposes Death Penalty

Statement and Call to Action


Call to Action

The American Ethical Union expresses its dismay at this week’s news that the federal government will resume executing prisoners on death row. Our organization has been a staunch and consistent opponent of the death penalty for decades.*

Killing people held in state custody is never acceptable, regardless of their crimes, because it violates two fundamental human rights: the right to life and the right not to be subjected to cruel, inhuman, or degrading punishment. Capital punishment is an affront to the ideals of human worth and dignity we exist to uphold.

Read the full statement here.

  • Facebook

    • If you are not on Facebook, skip this step

    • If you are on Facebook: 

      • Engage with the AEU post and the AEU Ethical Action post.  (To engage is to click on one of the little icons that shows your reaction.  Like is nice, but any of the others would be more helpful in raising the prominence of AEU on Facebook.)

      • Share the AEU or the AEU Ethical Action post on your own timeline.  (This will expand our reach to include your friends and contacts.  Expanding our reach increases the likelihood that more people will receive our message and consider joining our stand.)

      • Comment on the post(s).  A comment increases the prominence of the post so that it is more likely to show up in the timelines of people who follow the page.  (This matters.)

  • Share the Statement--and your views and values--with friends, neighbors, co-workers.  Talking (respectfully) about an issue, whether it’s climate change, immigration, the death penalty, or any of the other hot buttons that seem to divide us as a nation is one of the best ways to help others understand our point of view (and to understand theirs).  Katherine Hayhoe urges us to talk about climate change “with mutual respect and a focus on what genuinely connects us.”  It’s a good technique for this issue as well.

  • Share the Statement--and your views and values--with decision makers.  And then engage them about the issue.

    • Call your representatives’ offices--both state and federal.  Ask what your representatives’ stance on the death penalty is.  Ask what they are doing to eliminate it in Texas--or our country.  If they can’t support eliminating the death penalty, ask what they are doing to make sure that all who receive the death penalty are innocent; that the death penalty is fairly applied in the criminal justice system so that it is not disproportionately given to the poor or to people of color. Then let us know what answers you got.

    • Be prepared to ask a question about a candidate’s stance on the death penalty, referring to the Statement, if you wish, during a candidate forum (or before agreeing to work in their campaign).  Just asking the question brings the issue to their attention (and to the audience as well), and it might even elevate the issue for future action.

One final note: This issue is especially fraught in the aftermath of the mass murders in El Paso and Dayton. The Dayton shooter was killed by police; the El Paso shooter has been arrested, and local authorities have already announced their intention to seek the death penalty. Opposition to the death penalty based on reason and our core values can be complicated by our very valid emotions of grief and anger. Take the time you need before following through on this alert.

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August 18

Austin Humanists at Work Giveaway Day

August 18 - Austin Humanists at Work Giveaway Day

Ethical Society Of Austin is excited to volunteer with Austin Humanists at Work for their August Giveaway.

If you are interested, please arrive at 8:40 AM for brief announcements and set up. They open the line at 9:00 AM sharp and finish by 10:00 AM, sometimes earlier. If you would like to come, please read their Volunteer 101 ( for ground rules. If you are interested in donating items, please review their list of needed items (

They meet in the 8th Street parking lot, under the Interstate 35 overpass. They set up in the northwest corner of the parking lot, closest to the Austin Police Department headquarters. You can park in the lot right where they set up. One of their volunteers wearing a yellow bandanna will point you in the right direction.

From there it’s a short drive to the regularly scheduled ESOA meeting, which starts at 10:30.