On Thurs., SCOTUS ruled that Texas death row inmate, John Ramirez, is permitted physical contact and audible prayer with his spiritual adviser during his execution - a decision that will set precedent for other prisoners.
The verdict passed 8-1, overruling a lower court's previous decision that denied Ramirez's request.
Religious freedom is a fundamental right, but it could become burdensome for the state to gauge sincerity of belief, and this could be used as a ploy to delay execution. Furthermore, protocols are in a place for a reason and violating them could interfere with the execution team's ability to do their job safely.
Centuries of precedent allow for condemned prisoners to receive spiritual comfort. SCOTUS seems to finally be recognizing this and will hopefully rethink its decision and apply this standard for prisoners of all faiths.
Capital punishment is a barbaric affair that compounds violence with violence. It eliminates any possibility of rehabilitation, drains tax dollars, and forces the victim's loved ones to relive the crime. The death penalty is no more effective at ensuring a safe society than a life sentence - we need to reform our sense of "justice".