Religion and the Death Penalty: A Call for ReckoningReligion and the Death Penalty: A Call for Reckoning
Edited by Eric Owens
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This important book is sure to foster informed public discussion about the death penalty by deepening readers' understanding of how religious beliefs and perspectives shape this contentious issue. Featuring a fair, balanced appraisal of its topic, this book brings thoughtful religious reflection to bear on current challenges facing the capital justice system. One look at the list of contributors reveals the significance of this book. Here are recognized leaders from the academy, government, and public life who also represent a wide range of faith commitments, including Jewish, Christian, and Muslim. Like many people of faith and goodwill, the authors disagree with one another, variously supporting retention, reform, or abolition of capital punishment. As a result, the book presents the most comprehensive and well-rounded religiously oriented discussion of the death penalty available.

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Series Foreword


Jean Bethke Elshtain



Religion and Capital Punishment: An Introduction

Erik C. Owens and Eric P. Elshtain

I. Faith Traditions and the Death Penalty

1. Catholic Teaching on the Death Penalty: Has It Changed?

Avery Cardinal Dulles, S.J.

2. Can Capital Punishment Ever Be Justified in the Jewish Tradition?

David Novak

3. The Death Penalty: A Protestant Perspective

Gilbert Meilaender

4. Punishing Christians: A Pacifist Approach to the Issue of Capital Punishment

Stanley Hauerwas

5. The Death Penalty, Mercy, and Islam: A Call for Retrospection

Khaled Abou El Fadl

II. Theological Reflections on the Death Penalty

6. Categorical Pardon: On the Argument for Abolishing Capital Punishment

J. Budziszewski

7. Biblical Perspectives on the Death Penalty

Michael L. Westmoreland-White and Glen H. Stassen

8. Christian Witness, Moral Anthropology, and the Death Penalty

Richard W. Garnett

9. Human Nature, Limited Justice, and the Irony of Capital Punishment

John D. Carlson

10. Responsibility, Vengeance, and the Death Penalty

Victor Anderson

III. Personal Commitments and Public Responsibilities

11. The Death Penalty: What's All the Debate About?

Frank Keating

12. Reflections on the Death Penalty and the Moratorium

George H. Ryan

13. God's Justice and Ours: The Morality of Judicial Participation in the Death Penalty

Antonin Scalia

14. Why I Oppose Capital Punishment

Mario M. Cuomo

15. Capital Punishment: Is It Wise?

Paul Simon

16. Facing the Jury: The Moral Trials of a Prosecutor in a Capital Case

Beth Wilkinson

17. The Problem of Forgiveness: Reflections of a Public Defender and a Murder Victim's Family Member

Jeanne Bishop

Afterword: Lifting New Voices against the Death Penalty: Religious Americans and the Debate on Capital Punishment

E. J. Dionne Jr.