by Bob Geary
People of Faith Against the Death Penalty kicked off a new campaign to abolish capital punishment in North Carolina today with a press conference featuring Sister Helen Prejean, renowned death penalty opponent and author of the very influential Dead Man Walking.
Our Triangulator blog carried a post yesterday about the PFADP effort. At the press conference, Sister Prejean was the first of numerous speakers and was brief but to the point: The death penalty is on its way out in the United States. She spoke for about 4:00.
(The video is a little shaky to begin with, but then I get a grip.)
Standing behind Sister Prejean are, from left: Rev. Lisa Fischbeck, rector of Episcopal Church of the Advocate, Chapel Hill; Rev. Frank Dew, a Presbyterian minister from Greensboro; Rev. Nancy Petty, pastor of Pullen Memorial Baptist Church in Raleigh; Pastor Alan Felton, Salem United Methodist Church in Oxford; Steve Dear, executive director, PFADP; Rev. Dr. William Haley, a Baptist minister from Youngsville; Father Minlib Dallh, of the Dominican Friars of Raleigh; and Steve Bass, interim director, Murder Victims Families for Reconciliation.
It should be noted that, while 34 states continue to have capital punishment on the books, about half of the 34 have executed no one in recent years.
Just a handful of states— notably, Texas, Alabama and Ohio — use it with any regularity at all, according to Death Penalty Information Center data.
North Carolina hasn't executed anyone since August, 2006.