death penalty news—-TEXAS

March 20


Death penalty opponents hope book will help end executions

Religious opponents of the death penalty hope a new book about a Texas
death row case by a best-selling author can help their efforts to end the
practice of state-sanctioned executions.

Thomas Cahill's just-published book, A Saint on Death Row, chronicles the
life of Dominique Green, who at age 30 was executed by lethal injection in
2004 for his role in a robbery that resulted in one mans death. The
victim's family asked that Greens life be spared, but he was executed

"Dominique Green's was one of the many needless Texas executions," said
Cahill, the author of such best-selling books as How the Irish Saved
Civilization and The Gifts of the Jews.

Among those championing the case of Green, who underwent what has been
described as a sincere embrace of the principles of nonviolence, was
Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate.

Tutu, long a proponent of nonviolence and forgiveness, became a hero to
Green and visited the young man while Green was on death row.

At a recent appearance with Cahill at New York's Riverside Church, Tutu
upbraided the United States for its continued practice of the death
penalty. The South African cleric noted the United States, were it a
European country, could not join the European Union because the EU bars
membership to nations that condone the death penalty.

"Why do you do this?" Tutu asked. "What are you doing to yourselves, you
wonderful, generous people? You are brutalizing yourselves. … It is
making you an obscene nation."

David Atwood, founder of the Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty,
told the Riverside audience he and other death penalty opponents in Texas,
many acting out of religious convictions, realize they are fighting an
entrenched "system of death," but remain hopeful that ultimately the death
penalty will end in Texas.

Texas leads the nation in the number of executions. Atwood said 435 have
been carried out in the state since 1982. 12 have been carried out this
year, with the latest occurring the day Cahill and Tutu spoke at

(source: Religion News Service)