Episode: When the Government Bans Chaplains from Execution Chambers

Quick to Listen Logo
When the Government Bans Chaplains from Execution Chambers

Last month, the Supreme Court ruled that Texas could not execute inmate Patrick Murphy if they did not allow his Buddhist chaplain into the death chamber with him. In response, last Thursday, the state of Texas decided to ban all chaplains from entering the death chamber with inmates. Patrick Murphy’s situation echoes the story of Alabama inmate Domineque Ray. Ray, who was executed in February, requested to have his imam be present with him in the execution chamber. Ultimately, his request was denied and Ray was put to death without the presence of his chaplain. Chaplains serve many roles in the final moments of an inmate's life, including comforting family members, says Earl Smith, who served for decades as a death row chaplain in San Quentin State Prison in California. When they’re kept from inmates in their final moments, it can mean there’s no one who is able to relay the individual’s last words. “That inmate was looking for a way to say ‘bye’ in peace and because you said ‘No, you can’t have [the chaplain],’ even in his death, there was no peace,” said Smith. “We often say that when they’re executed there’s going to be closure. Executions don’t bring closure. They just mean someone has died.” Smith joined digital media producer Morgan Lee and theology editor Caleb Lindgren to discuss why Christians should want all death row inmates to be able to be with their chosen chaplain when they die, what it’s like to spiritually walk with prisoners, and the surprising circumstances that led to Smith winding up at San Quentin.

Quick to Listen
Users who viewed this episode also viewed...

Quick to Listen > Don’t Remember Reinhard Bonnke for His Crowd Sizes

Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries. Last Saturday, Reinhard Bonnke, a prominent German evangelist in Africa, passed away at the age of 79. Bonnke’s ministry began in 1967 and lasted for 50 years. Millions of people attended his crusades, leading him to be dubbed by some as“the Billy Graham of Africa...

Quick to Listen > Talking Is Not Going to Change the World

Here’s how Quick to Listen producer Richard Clark introduced this podcast last year: I’ve been fascinated by the potential of podcasts because I see them as an opportunity for listeners to opt-in to become part of a captive, actively listening audience. Podcasts provide us with opportunities for active listening, a chance to hear multiple perspectives on a subject without the temptation to click away or draw conclusions too soon...

Quick to Listen > The Church Doesn't Get Men. Can It Learn from Non-Christians Who Do?

Check out this headlines from the past decade: “Why Don’t Most Men Go to Church?” Christian Century, October 2011 “Why Men Still Hate Going to Church” CT Pastors, Summer 2012 “7 Actions to Engage Men in Your Church” Pastors.com, March 2014 “Why Do Men Hate Church and What Can Be Done About It?” The Tennessean, Jan 2015 Mending Men’s Ministry, Christianity Today, June 2018 And then there’s a newsletter, The Masculinist, which reflects on a monthly basis on the factors driving men men from church...
Comments (0)

Login or Sign up to leave a comment.

Log in
Sign up

Be the first to comment.