“Killed In Front Of My Eyes”

On the 20th anniversary of her book, Dead Man Walking, Sister Helen Prejean describes how watching an execution compelled her to become an activist:

I knew when I came out of that execution. It was the middle of the night. I’d never watched a protocol like that — a human being had been strapped down and killed in front of my eyes. I had in front of me the horror of his crime and then the horror of watching the state kill him. I threw up. My first instinct was to run, and then I went and realized I’d been called to tell the story and get it out to the people.

She also seems to be a fan of the new Pope:

When Pope Francis got up and made one of his first speeches, he said the Church has been too self-referential. He said we have to do what Jesus did; we have to go to the margins of society. And he mentioned two things: hospitals and prisons. He said, you know, one of the most serious sins is spiritual worldliness. Jesus said that you’re not to lord over people; you’re to be the servant of each other. I interpret that as addressing the way the Church has been using its position to silence people and control them and threaten them with excommunication. Those are power moves.

Update from a reader:

I remember reading this article by Prejean back in 2005. It had a bigger negative impact on my opinion of Bush than any other single thing I read.