Saturday, January 23, 2016

Sister Helen Prejean: Does Truth Matter?

Sister Helen Prejean: Does Truth Matter?:
Dead Man Walking & The Death Penalty
Dudley Sharp

1) The parents of rape/torture/murder victim Loretta Bourque, a "Dead Man Walking" Case

" . . .makes you realize the Dead Man Walking truly belongs on the shelf in the library in the Fiction category."

"Being devout Catholics, 'the norm' would be to look to the church for support and healing. Again, this need for spiritual stability was stolen by Sister Prejean." (1)

2) Case Detective Michael Vernado, in the rape/torture/murder of Faith Hathaway, a Dead Man Walking Case

"I wouldn't have had as much trouble with (Prejean's) views if she would have told the truth . . ." " . . . (Sr. Prejean) based her book on what was in I guess a defense file and what (rapist/murderer) Robert Willie telling her." (1)

" . . . she's trying to mislead people in the book. And that's something that she's going have to work out with herself." "(Sr. Prejean's) certainly not after giving anybody spiritual advice to try to save their soul." (1)


Book Review: "Sister Prejean's Lack of Credibility: Review of "The Death of Innocents", by Thomas M. McKenna (New Oxford Review, 12/05) (3)

"The book is moreover riddled with factual errors and misrepresentations."

"Williams had confessed to repeatedly stabbing his victim, Sonya Knippers."

"This DNA test was performed by an independent lab in Dallas, which concluded that there was a one in nearly four billion chance that the blood could have been someone's other than Williams's."

" . . . despite repeated claims that (Prejean) cares about crime victims, (she) implies that the victim's husband was a more likely suspect but was overlooked because the authorities wanted to convict a black man."

" . . . a Federal District Court . . . stated that 'the evidence against Williams was overwhelming.' " "The same court also did "not find any evidence of racial bias specific to this case."

Prejean's speculation is grotesque and false.


Sharp reply: Did she consider the mental suffering of a parent who lost their innocent daughter to a rape/murder or, possibly, the mental (and physical) suffering of that girl, as she was being raped and murdered?

Of course the sister considered it and she made her choice - the murderer.

5) "(Sr. Prejean) remains convinced that if people could see the brutality of killing a human being, they might reconsider their support for the death penalty." (4)

Sharp reply: See the pattern? Sr. Prejean is talking of the peaceful execution of the guilty murderers, not the incredible brutality of the murder of the innocent victims (4).

6) Sr. Prejean: “It is abundantly clear that the Bible depicts murder as a capital crime for which death is considered the appropriate punishment, and one is hard pressed to find a biblical ‘proof text’ in either the Hebrew Testament or the New Testament which unequivocally refutes this. Even Jesus’ admonition ‘Let him without sin cast the first stone,’ when He was asked the appropriate punishment for an adulteress (John 8:7) – the Mosaic Law prescribed death – should be read in its proper context. This passage is an ‘entrapment’ story, which sought to show Jesus’ wisdom in besting His adversaries. It is not an ethical pronouncement about capital punishment .” Dead Man Walking (2)

Sharp reply: Has she just forgotten all of this?

7) Sr. Prejean claims that "75% of those on death row aren't educated above a sixth grade level" (5)

Sharp reply: The median education on death row is 12th grade,  with 87% above 8th grade, 13% below (6). I suspect she just made up her claim. 

8) Ford or Sr. Prejean: " . . . since 1973, there have been 146 (now 166) exonerations (from death row) (5)".

Sharp reply: This has been a well known fraud, beginning about 20 years, ago, when the number was 69.  Based upon numerous reviews, possibly, as many as 26-46 actual innocents (as of today)  have been discovered and released from death row (7). Anti death penalty folks just redefined "innocent" and "exonerated" as if they redefined lie as truth, and put a bunch of cases into those fraudulent definitions (7).
9)  Sr. Prejean  commonly, calls the death penalty racist, refers, herein, to the primary execution states as "former slave states" and, recently stated, while in St. Louis, “the system of injustice which disproportionately kills black bodies.” (5), a statement which can, reasonably, be seen as putting another match to the powder keg in Ferguson, Mo.

Ford writes: "Sister Helen devastates us with the reality that the death penalty is sought more often against people of color than against whites" (5).

Sharp reply:  White murderers are twice as likely to be executed as are black murderers and are executed at a rate 41% higher than black death row inmates (8a). 

For the White–Black comparisons, the Black level is 12.7 times greater than the White level for homicide, 15.6 times greater for robbery, 6.7 times greater for rape, and 4.5 times greater for aggravated assault (8a). As robbery/murder is the most common capital murder, the multiple may be even higher.

"There is no race of the offender / victim effect at either the decision to advance a case to
penalty hearing or the decision to sentence a defendant to death given a penalty hearing." (8a)

10) The sister calls the death penalty classist (5).

Sharp reply: "99.8% of poor murderers avoid the death penalty. It may depend, strictly, upon the definitions of the "wealthy" and "poor" , as to whether or not wealthy murderers are more or less likely than 0.2%, in the context of the very small percentage and number of wealthy capital murderers (9)."

11) Sr. Prejean states: "we turn our eyes away from the fact that we view violence as redemptive (5)."

Sharp reply: Why would we turn our eyes, away? Christians, more than any group, understand the redemptive value of violence, not only with the Passion of the Christ, but the redemptive value of the death penalty, as detailed for 2000 years (10).

As the Sister called God an ogre for crucifying His Son (10), her perspective is expected . . .

12)  “(Sister Prejean)  received nothing but a stony silence, however, when she questioned the basis of the biblical crucifixion story as a “projection of our violent society.” “Is this a God?” Prejean asked about the belief that God allowed his son, Jesus, to be sacrificed for the sins of humanity. “Or is this an ogre?” “The audience — to that point in strong agreement with the author of “Dead Man Walking” — said and did nothing.” (11)

Sharp Reply: It is understandable that the audience was stunned. Sister Prejean is condemning the bedrock of the Christian faith.

She has done this, repeatedly.

Appropriately, Pope Benedict XIV appears to rebuke her a few days later:  “If to save us the Son of God had to suffer and die crucified, it certainly was not because of a cruel design of the heavenly Father. The cause of it is the gravity of the sickness of which he must cure us: an evil so serious and deadly that it will require all of his blood. In fact, it is with his death and resurrection that Jesus defeated sin and death, reestablishing the lordship of God. (12)”

Much more in footnotes


5)  RE: REBUTTAL To: "God Allows Us to Wake Up”: Sister Helen Prejean Comes to BC,  By: Craig A. Ford, Jr., Graduate Students of Color Blog, 10/11/14,

6) Table 5, Capital Punishment 2012, Bureau Of Justice Statistics,  May 2014, NCJ 245789

7)  Death Row, "Exonerations", Media  & Intentional Fraud 


b) Table 12, Executions and other dispositions of inmates sentenced to death, by race and Hispanic origin, 1977–2012, Capital Punishment 2012, Bureau of Justice Statistics, last edited 11/3/14

9) See  Is There Class Disparity with Executions?

within   The Death Penalty: Fair & Just

10) a) The Death Penalty: Mercy, Expiation, Redemption & Salvation

b) New Testament Death Penalty Support Overwhelming

11) “God, ogre comparison doesn’t fly with interfaith crowd”, Paul A. Anthony, Rocky Mountain News, 03:35 p.m., August 24, 2008.

12)  “It Is Not ‘Optional’ for Christians to Take Up the Cross”, 8/31/2008) (2).

See also