Religion, Death Penalty & the Need for Criminal Justice Reform

Last November, Alabama scheduled  Domineque Ray’s execution for February 7. The prison warden met with Ray on January 23 to discuss the procedures for his upcoming lethal injection. Ray was told that the prison chaplain, a Protestant Christian minister, was required to be in the execution chamber during his death. Ray, who was a devout Muslim, asked if his imam could be present instead. The state said no. He then asked if the minister could be excluded from the execution chamber. The state refused that request. On January 28, Ray filed a lawsuit in federal court to halt his execution. He argued that the prison’s policy violated federal religious-discrimination laws as well as the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause, which forbids government officials from elevating one faith or denomination above another. Listen to this podcast to hear what happened next.