Do the Wages of Sin Apply After Conversion?
Supreme Court considers case of conversion and death penalty
All eyes are on the Supreme Court this week, at least indirectly, and it's not even June. There's Rehnquist's cancer, internet rumors that Bush is considering Thomas as chief justice, debate on the influence Sen. Arlen Specter might have over nominations, speculation on whether Alberto Gonzalez is now out of the running … and even an actual court case—the federal government's request that the Supreme Court take up the case of Oregon's assisted suicide law.
But yesterday, the justices considered another interesting case that has something to do with religion: Brown v. Payton. Weblog summarized this case back in May: It has to do with a California prosecutor's telling a jury not to consider murderer William Payton's conversion to Christianity when it sentenced him.
Those interested in the legal aspects should check out Goldstein & Howe's SCOTUSblog, which has published several bits of analysis and summary. Those interested in the bloody details of the crime and an argument for why Payton should be executed can read the press release of the Criminal Justice Legal Foundation, which filed an amicus curiae brief.
Weblog, however, is more interested in the religious aspects of the case. Should repentance and conversion make a difference in sentencing, capital case or not?
Back in 1998, Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, and others petitioned George W. Bush (then governor of Texas) to halt the execution of Karla Faye Tucker. (Those "others" include Pope John Paul II, who has more respect among evangelical Protestants than either Robertson or Falwell). Tucker had hacked two people to death with a pickax, but converted to Christianity in prison.
"She is not the same person who ...
Launched in 1999, Christianity Today’s Weblog was not just one of the first religion-oriented weblogs, but one of the first published by a media organization. (Hence its rather bland title.) Mostly compiled by then-online editor Ted Olsen, Weblog rounded up religion news and opinion pieces from publications around the world. As Christianity Today’s website grew, it launched other blogs. Olsen took on management responsibilities, and the Weblog feature as such was mothballed. But CT’s efforts to round up important news and opinion from around the web continues, especially on our Gleanings feature.
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