Last week, the Supreme Court agreed to delay the execution of a man on death row because Texas officials weren’t allowing him to bring a Buddhist clergyman inside the execution chamber… even though they would allow a priest for Christians. That religious hypocrisy rankled even some of the most conservative members of the Court.
Texas has finally responded to that request, not by allowing a Buddhist chaplain to enter the chamber… but by banning all religious figures from the room where the executions take place.
… New execution procedures signed Tuesday say that chaplains and ministers may “observe the execution only from the witness rooms.”A spokesman for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice said the change is effective immediately.
“TDCJ Chaplain(s) will continue to be available to an offender until they are transferred to the execution chamber. The chaplain will also be present in the viewing room if requested,” said the spokesman, Jeremy Desel.
Texas found a way to treat all religions equally by being even more cruel.
Death penalty, still legal. But having a chaplain next to you in your final moments, even if that provides one last bit of comfort before you’re murdered by the state? Nah.
Why didn’t they just say any chaplain of the prisoner’s preference could come into the chamber before the execution takes place? Who knows. But instead of choosing the (ever so slightly) more compassionate option, they found a way to make the death penalty even worse.
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