I cannot think of a better way to honor the victims of the Charleston massacre, and the Jesus they worship, than by insisting on another form of justice for Roof.
The color of your skin shouldn’t determine whether you live or die. But that is precisely the case for Duane Buck, a Texas man facing execution. His case is before the Supreme Court this month.
Pope Francis continues his drumbeat for a global moratorium on the death penalty. This is a wake-up call not just for Catholics, but also for all Christian leaders and lawmakers to reflect and take action.The words of the world’s most popular faith leader in fact come at a time when religious communities are questioning the death penalty theologically and biblically. Opposition to the death penalty even among conservative Christians continues to mount, as evident in the National Association of Evangelicals’ thoughtful reconsideration of its strong support of the death penalty.
After his Sunday Angelus prayer, Pope Francis turned his attention to capital punishment — and the overall treatment of prisoners in general — calling on all Christians to work toward abolishing the death penalty. He also asked for government leaders worldwide, and those of Catholic faith, specifically, to halt any executions during this Holy Year of Mercy.
Two decades after her anti-death penalty work was transformed into an Oscar-winning movie, Dead Man Walking, Sister Helen Prejean’s campaign continues with the backing of Pope Francis. Prejean met with the pope on Jan. 21 to deliver a thank-you letter from Richard Glossip, whose execution in the U.S. was halted in September after intervention from the pontiff.
A judge on Nov. 10 issued the death penalty for the white supremacist convicted of shooting to death three people at two Jewish centers in Kansas last year.
Johnson County District Court Judge Thomas Kelly Ryan sentenced Frazier Glenn Cross, 74, to die by lethal injection.
A jury in early September convicted Cross, a former senior member of the Ku Klux Klan, of the murders and recommended that he be put to death. Cross also was convicted of three counts of attempted murder for shooting at three other people.
The National Association of Evangelicals, which represents over 45,000 churches from almost 40 different denominations, published a resolution Oct. 19 that substantially revises their position on the death penalty.
The resolution casts serious doubt on the fairness of the U.S. criminal justice system, citing, among other things, the use of DNA evidence in the exonerations of 258 people in the first decade of the 21st century. While levelling a substantial critique of criminal justice in the U.S., the resolution does not call for an end to the death penalty, but instead acknowledges both sides as legitimate positions.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Tuesday that the pope, back in Rome after a six-day visit to the United States, sent a letter through a representative, Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano.
“While not wishing to minimize the gravity of the crime for which Ms. Gissendander has been convicted, and while sympathizing with the victims, I nonetheless implore you, in consideration of the reasons that have been expressed to your board, to commute the sentence to one that would better express both justice and mercy,” Vigano wrote.
“In reaching its decision, the Board thoroughly reviewed all information and documents pertaining to the case, including the latest information presented by Gissendaner’s representatives,” a release sent from board chairman Terry Barnard said. No other explanation of the decision was given.
Pope Francis is not a liberal or conservative. He transcends pedestrian labels that drive wedges in American society.
So perhaps it trivializes spirituality and religion to keep political score on the pope's visit. But it also might lend instruction and context to some of our raging debates.
So here's how I score it: In the current American political context, Pope Francis was mostly, but not exclusively, left-leaning in his address to Congress on Thursday.