CALL FOR PAPERS: TORONTO SCHOOL OF THEOLOGY GRADUATE STUDENTS’ ASSOCIATION TO HOST VIRTUAL CONFERENCE ON JUNE 11

Note that graduate students of theology from anywhere in the world are encouraged to submit a paper proposal for this virtual conference. The annual TGSA Conference provides an excellent opportunity for students to get their feet wet in presenting a conference paper. The deadline for submitting your proposal is Monday, April 5.

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THE DEATH PENALTY: A STAIN ON OUR CONSCIENCE by Jan Michael Ostrowski

Execution of George Stinney, 1944, age 14 (Cinematic reenactment)

Reflecting on the first weeks of 2021, it seemed that the United States had become almost unrecognizable to me. On January 6th, five people died in what could best be described as a coup attempt to overturn an election and prevent the peaceful transference of power. This happened during the worst health crisis in over a century, with the US Covid death toll reaching almost 4,000 per day, and surpassing a total of 400,000 dead since the beginning of last year.

Amidst all this carnage, what had gone practically unnoticed was the rush by the Department of Justice since last July to execute more federal prisoners in one year than they had since 1896. In the latter half of 2020, ten federal prisoners had been put to death; this contrasts with the seven executions carried out by the states, a 37-year low. For the first time in US history, the federal government had executed more prisoners than in all of the 50 states combined. Three more condemned were executed in January before the new administration took office. This also broke with a 130-year precedent of pausing executions during a presidential transition.

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