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Author Topic: Only Christian clergy allowed in the Alabama death chamber  (Read 682 times)
MillCreek
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« on: February 08, 2019, 06:16:12 AM »

https://www.npr.org/2019/02/08/692605056/supreme-court-lets-alabama-execute-muslim-murderer-without-imam-by-his-side?utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=news

I disagree with the State of Alabama, I opine that they are favoring one religion over another, plus it would be the only decent thing to do.  I guess this means if they execute a Jewish prisoner, no rabbi allowed, or someone from India, no Hindu priest.  I would not deny the comfort of their own clergy to someone about to be executed.
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zxcvbob
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« Reply #1 on: February 08, 2019, 06:23:08 AM »

Wow. I never thought I would agree with Justice Kagan about anything! 
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Hawkmoon
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« Reply #2 on: February 08, 2019, 06:24:33 AM »

For once, I agree with the SCOTUS liberals.
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makattak
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« Reply #3 on: February 08, 2019, 06:29:22 AM »

The point is that the "clergy" was a prison chaplain. On staff.

I'm fairly certain they'd also deny a any member of the Christian faith his choice of clergy if he were not on staff, also.
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Ron
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« Reply #4 on: February 08, 2019, 06:32:30 AM »

Considering the state of our government(s) I would prefer we remove their authority to sentence a person to death.

Our government has shown itself to be untrustworthy even in the smallest of things and downright complicit in evil in others.

Our government is not worthy of that responsibility.
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BTR
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« Reply #5 on: February 08, 2019, 06:34:16 AM »

The Muslim clergy was there, but he had to be other on the side of the glass.

A simple solution is to ban all clergy from the death chamber.  They can minister all they want until it is time to execute the perp.  Easy.

Rape and murder of a girl and it still took them 23 years to kill the bastard.   angry
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RoadKingLarry
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« Reply #6 on: February 08, 2019, 06:37:47 AM »

I'm a little torn on this one.
On one hand I don't give a rat's ass about the condemned's comfort. I'm pretty sure his 15 year old rape/murder victim wasn't afforded her clergy of choice when she was brutally murdered so *expletive deleted*ck him.

On the other hand I don't like seeing an official government entity choosing an acceptable religion. It does look like the prison didn't so much as require a Christian clergy as require that the clergy was a vetted employee.

On the other other hand, don't rape and murder 15 year old girls and this sort of thing won't be an issue.
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WLJ
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« Reply #7 on: February 08, 2019, 06:40:14 AM »

I'm a little torn on this one.
On one hand I don't give a rat's ass about the condemned's comfort. I'm pretty sure his 15 year old rape/murder victim wasn't afforded her clergy of choice when she was brutally murdered so *expletive deleted*ck him.

On the other hand I don't like seeing an official government entity choosing an acceptable religion. It does look like the prison didn't so much as require a Christian clergy as require that the clergy was a vetted employee.


I was getting ready to type pretty much that very thing when you posted.
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Ben
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« Reply #8 on: February 08, 2019, 06:43:39 AM »

Considering the state of our government(s) I would prefer we remove their authority to sentence a person to death.

Our government has shown itself to be untrustworthy even in the smallest of things and downright complicit in evil in others.

Our government is not worthy of that responsibility.

First and foremost, mostly the above. Though I am still in favor of the death penalty - carried out quickly - for heinous crimes as long as there are multiple, independent, and concrete sources of evidence. Way too many DNA exonerations in the last 10 or so years to make me comfortable being a death penalty advocate.

On the OP, I can see where "staff vs not staff" could be a viable defense for AL, though I think that is a dumb rule. If you're going to allow the condemned to have clergy present, then it should be of whatever religion they follow.  While I can see the defense for having clergy that has been trained to work in the prison system for everyday interactions with prisoners, the death chamber is a separate, secure area where outside clergy would be surrounded and protected by prison staff.
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lee n. field
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« Reply #9 on: February 08, 2019, 06:43:47 AM »

Quote
They said it would be a security risk to let someone into the room who wasn't an employee of the state's corrections department.

OK, so what exactly does the state of Georgia think a non-employee is going to do, or be able to do?
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Fly320s
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« Reply #10 on: February 08, 2019, 06:49:06 AM »

OK, so what exactly does the state of Georgia think a non-employee is going to do, or be able to do?

Pobably just policy or law that prevents a non-employee in the secure area.
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BTR
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« Reply #11 on: February 08, 2019, 06:49:44 AM »

OK, so what exactly does the state of Georgia think a non-employee is going to do, or be able to do?

The argument is that the state prison employees are trained to deal with prisoners- like if the prisoner gets violent, etc in the death chamber... and random clergy are not.  They only want trained staff in the death chamber if bad things happen.
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Ron
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« Reply #12 on: February 08, 2019, 06:50:50 AM »

Regarding the actual topic  grin

I am not opposed to accommodating other religious traditions as long as it doesnĺt cost the state extra money or pose a security risk.
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WLJ
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« Reply #13 on: February 08, 2019, 06:51:03 AM »

The argument is that the state prison employees are trained to deal with prisoners- like if the prisoner gets violent, etc in the death chamber... and random clergy are not.  They only want trained staff in the death chamber if bad things happen.

Aren't they basically strapped to a table during the process?
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Ben
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« Reply #14 on: February 08, 2019, 06:53:57 AM »

Aren't they basically strapped to a table during the process?

That's why I don't see a problem. The time they might get violent is on the walk. Just keep the clergy separated until the condemned is strapped down. Problem solved. Plus I'm pretty sure there are at least two guards still standing there.
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« Reply #15 on: February 08, 2019, 06:58:37 AM »

Only objection I could see in this is that the Iman himself could cause an issue.
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« Reply #16 on: February 08, 2019, 07:44:53 AM »

If they are going to allow one, then they should allow any.

I do understand the reasoning, that the Chaplin is an employee. But I don't think its reasonable, and I actually question why the hell they have a Chaplin on staff at all. Let local clergy apply for passes or something of that nature to allow them to provide their services to prisoners who would like to partake of their services. There's no reason to have one on staff.

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« Reply #17 on: February 08, 2019, 08:23:19 AM »

I'm a little torn on this one.
On one hand I don't give a rat's ass about the condemned's comfort. I'm pretty sure his 15 year old rape/murder victim wasn't afforded her clergy of choice when she was brutally murdered so *expletive deleted*ck him.

On the other hand I don't like seeing an official government entity choosing an acceptable religion. It does look like the prison didn't so much as require a Christian clergy as require that the clergy was a vetted employee.

On the other other hand, don't rape and murder 15 year old girls and this sort of thing won't be an issue.
Why is the only official prison chaplain a Christian? Surely they have other Muslim prisoners -- why isn't there a Muslim chaplain?

I've spent more time than I'm happy about in hospitals in recent years, and on a couple of occasions I was seriously considering calling a halt to the medical intervention and just allowing myself to die. Twice, at odd hours, I requested a chaplain. I'm a Protestant Christian. The first time, the chaplain on duty was a Unitarian Universalist. Nice woman, but she didn't really relate to my religious background and I didn't relate to hers.

The second time, the chaplain who showed up wore a black shirt and a white collar and had a very Irish name. I assumed that he was Roman Catholic. Wrong. Russian Orthodox! As a chaplain in VA hospital. Go figure. He was a nice guy, and he did help me, but I found it more than a little surprising to find a Russian Orthodox chaplain on the staff at a VA hospital. It wasn't an accident. He told me that they specifically wanted a Russian Orthodox, and they recruited him to fill the slot.

It seems to me that a prison system that has Muslim inmates should have a Muslim chaplain.
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« Reply #18 on: February 08, 2019, 09:34:41 AM »

It seems to me that a prison system that has Muslim inmates should have a Muslim chaplain.
How many?  If it's a Sunni chaplain it's going to tick of the Shi'a and vise versa.  How specific do you get with fractionalized Christians?

I don't see that as working.
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Angel Eyes
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« Reply #19 on: February 08, 2019, 11:15:29 AM »

The issue is easily resolved by not allowing any clergy of any religion inside the execution chamber.


(ETA)
Quote
Ray was sentenced to death for the 1995 rape and murder of a 15-year-old girl, Tiffany Harville. Her body was found in a cotton field. Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall called the execution a "long-delayed appointment with justice," local media reported.

This, times a million.


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lee n. field
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« Reply #20 on: February 08, 2019, 12:59:03 PM »

Why is the only official prison chaplain a Christian? Surely they have other Muslim prisoners -- why isn't there a Muslim chaplain?

I've spent more time than I'm happy about in hospitals in recent years, and on a couple of occasions I was seriously considering calling a halt to the medical intervention and just allowing myself to die. Twice, at odd hours, I requested a chaplain. I'm a Protestant Christian. The first time, the chaplain on duty was a Unitarian Universalist. Nice woman, but she didn't really relate to my religious background and I didn't relate to hers.

The second time, the chaplain who showed up wore a black shirt and a white collar and had a very Irish name. I assumed that he was Roman Catholic. Wrong. Russian Orthodox! As a chaplain in VA hospital. Go figure. He was a nice guy, and he did help me, but I found it more than a little surprising to find a Russian Orthodox chaplain on the staff at a VA hospital. It wasn't an accident. He told me that they specifically wanted a Russian Orthodox, and they recruited him to fill the slot.


Last church we were at had, for a couple years, a lead pastor who was a military chaplin.  (Between chaplain gigs, as it turned out.)   According to something he said, the military provides chaplains to meet the religious needs of soldiers.  Whatever religion.  I have heard of Wiccan chaplains.  Would a VA hospital have used the same standard?

Quote
It seems to me that a prison system that has Muslim inmates should have a Muslim chaplain.

At least on an on-call basis.
« Last Edit: February 08, 2019, 02:31:38 PM by lee n. field » Report to moderator   Logged

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lee n. field
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« Reply #21 on: February 08, 2019, 01:06:08 PM »

How many?  If it's a Sunni chaplain it's going to tick of the Shi'a and vise versa.  How specific do you get with fractionalized Christians?



Depends.
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« Reply #22 on: February 08, 2019, 01:08:21 PM »

You want a solution?  Fine.  No prisoner gets any support during the death sentence.  See how simple that is? 

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« Reply #23 on: February 08, 2019, 01:58:33 PM »

You want a solution?  Fine.  No prisoner gets any support during the death sentence.  See how simple that is? 


I'm fine with that. Prisoner gets his (or her) last rites or whatever in the cell before starting the last walk. Chaplain (or other cleric who isn't designated as a chaplain) waits on the other side of the glass, with all the other observers. Simple, non-discriminatory, and doesn't create any semblamce of creating a state-sponsored religion.
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« Reply #24 on: February 08, 2019, 02:58:23 PM »

the death chamber is a separate, secure area where outside clergy would be surrounded and protected by prison staff.

Indeed.

My thoughts:
1.  The prisoner is tied down, secured.
2.  Let whatever religious official the condemned wants be the one to make the risk assessment, accepting that while the prison staff will try to protect him or her, that they're on their own for any injury/death if the inmate does decide to attack them.
3. The execution itself is the ultimate punishment, and is more to protect society than to actually punish the convicted.  It's like putting down a rabid animal.  At this level, it isn't the animal's fault it is rabid, but it needs to be put down anyways.  Make it as painless as practical.

Ron - the problem with using "security risk" is that anything could be a security risk.  I'd add a "significant" in there to avoid stupidity.

Quote
I'm fine with that. Prisoner gets his (or her) last rites or whatever in the cell before starting the last walk. Chaplain (or other cleric who isn't designated as a chaplain) waits on the other side of the glass, with all the other observers. Simple, non-discriminatory, and doesn't create any semblamce of creating a state-sponsored religion.

All or none, I'm fine with that.  All can be restricted some with standards that are obviously about safety.  Maybe things like "must be able to walk at a normal pace" to avoid having to deal with wheelchairs or excessively infirm chaplains. 

That said, "other side of glass" would be my default for everybody.  I support using nitrogen asphyxiation for execution, and using a room for it at that.  As such, nobody else in the room.  I'd have the chaplain in his own room, with an intercom system.
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