In the article, “Supreme Court Stays Execution of Buddhist Inmate,” by Adam Liptak, it is described how the execution of a Buddhist inmate in Texas was denied his request for his spiritual advisor to be present in the execution chamber on the basis that Texas policy only allows a state-employed Christian or Muslim religious advisers present in the execution room, not Buddhists or advisers of any other religion.
The article goes on to discuss how when Murphy, the inmate, asked to allow his religious advisor to be present at the execution that a prison official responded that only prison employees are allowed in the execution chamber. Texas officials justifies this policy by saying that it is based on security considerations; that to have an untrained visitor to the execution chamber could succumb to a multitude of consequences such as irrational behavior, pulling lines out of the inmate, taunting witnesses and so on.
This case presents a great nuance in the justice system of what is considered the line between religion and state. Furthermore, it presents the discrimination of one religion against the upholding of others which is obviously contradictory to the U.S. Constitution’s freedom of religion.
It is fascinating to see how such a specific case includes so many interdisciplinaries with religion such as state policy, societal norms, and prison protocol. It shows how there are still many issues that our country faces with the intersection of state and religion and it can be argued to a certain degree that our government is institutionalized to uphold a Christian faith.
Here is the article to read more.