"Death penalty opponents put 'Jesus on Trial'," is by Jarvis DeBerry in t New Orleans Times-Picayune.
In a Loyola Law School mock trial gaveled to order by real-life U.S. District Judge Helen "Ginger" Berrigan Friday, prosecutors asked jurors to execute a certain Jesus of Nazareth for blasphemous acts they say were both heinous and responsible for leading multitudes of people astray. The itinerant preacher's defense lawyers argued that he shouldn't be executed, that nobody ever should, but the state said there remained a threat to the public.
"What jail? What prison can hold a man who can walk on water?" asked Mark Osler, a former federal prosecutor who teaches law at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota.
Jeanne Bishop, a Chicago public defender who lost a sister, brother-in-law and their unborn child to murder, said her client's embrace of society's rejects - tax collectors, lepers, bleeding women, non-bleeding women - reveals a startling theology: "No one is beyond the redemption of God. No one is beyond the purpose of God. Then how can we have a death penalty?"
Friday's "Jesus on Trial" demonstration was organized in part by the Jesuit Social Research Institute at Loyola University, which makes no secret of its opposition to the death penalty. In a pamphlet distributed before the trial called "Diminishing All of Us: The Death Penalty in Louisiana," the JSRI notes that "Louisiana has one of the highest wrongful-conviction rates in the country. More people have been exonerated in Louisiana in the last ten years than executed."
Earlier coverage of the program presented by Mark Osler and Jeanne Bishop begins at the link.
The program grows out of Osler's book, Jesus on Death Row: The Trial of Jesus and American Capital Punishment.