Religion and the death penalty

Published 6:55 pm Friday, January 20, 2012

One of the most hotly-debated topics among people of faith will be at the center of discussion Tuesday night at Trinity Episcopal Church in Demopolis. Trinity will be the host site for a forum that will focus on the death penalty.

“One of of the things that I do, along with a few of my parishioners, we do quite a bit of prison ministry,” J.D. Barnes, rector of Trinity Episcopal, said of how the idea came about. “We have a good friend of ours who is a Methodist minister in the Birmingham area who is part of a group that is not trying to hide the fact that they are against the death penalty.”

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The minister, Tom Duley, and the group, Justice and Mercy for All, will conduct Tuesday’s forum, which is intended to discuss the merits and drawbacks of the death penalty.

“They put together various forums and they asked if we would host one,” Barnes said. “I am fine with that. I think any time there is an opportunity where we can discuss an issue that is relevant to our faith in kind of a rational way, the church is a good place for that to occur.”

The event will feature two different speakers and figures to leave time for questions and discussion as it welcomes people from around the community.

“They’ll have a speaker there, a woman who had kind of befriended someone who had been on death row. We will hear some of her thoughts about the death penalty,” Barnes said. “We’ll talk about kind of a lot of the idiosyncrasies about the death penalty in the state of Alabama.”

The event is open to any who wish to attend and is set for Tuesday, Jan. 24 at 7 p.m.