I Was In Prison
Online Prison Ministry Newsletter
January 11, 2006
Dale S. Recinella, Catholic Lay Chaplain, Florida Death Row and Solitary Confinement
Susan M. Recinella, Clinical Psychologist for mentally ill adults, and Catholic Lay Minister to Families of the Executed
Upcoming Events:

Florida Catholic Bishops’ Campaign against the Death Penalty
Dale S. Recinella and Dr. Susan M. Recinella are the featured speakers in this program on the Catholic Campaign to End the Use of the Death Penalty in America.
The Bishops of Florida have approved this series of presentations to educate Catholics and interested others about Church teaching on the death penalty.
Attendance by catechists, educators, Respect Life coordinators, and Peace and Justice Committee members is particularly encouraged.
The program will be offered in every diocese in Florida during 2007.

Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee

Pensacola, FL – Saturday January 20, 2007
9:00am - 12 Noon
Sacred Heart Co-Cathedral
1212 E. Moreno St., Pensacola FL
For information:
Contact Sacred Heart Co-Cathedral staff at (850) 438-3131
Or the Florida Catholic Conference at (850) 222-3803 or flacathconf@flacathconf.org

Tallahassee, FL – Sunday January 21, 2007
1:30pm – 4:30pm
St. Thomas More Co-Cathedral - O’Brien Hall
900 W Tennessee St., Tallahassee, FL 32316
For information:
Contact St. Thomas More Co-Cathedral staff at (850) 222-9630
Or the Florida Catholic Conference at (850) 222-3803 or flacathconf@flacathconf.org

Archdiocese of Miami
Miami, FL – Saturday February 3, 2007
10:00am – 1:00pm
Archbishop Edward McCarthy Pastoral Center
9401 Biscayne Blvd., Miami, FL 33138
For information: Deacon Edgardo Farias, Director
Office of Detention Ministry, Archdiocese of Miami
Office (305) 762-1093 or Cell (786) 346-3889 or Edgardo@miamiarch.org
Or the Florida Catholic Conference at (850) 222-3803 or flacathconf@flacathconf.org

University of Notre Dame
The Death Penalty Leaves No Survivors
Dale S. Recinella
Sponsored by: ND-ASK [ND Against State Killing]
February 14, 2007
For details contact: Will McAuliffe (315) 559-7010 or mcauliffe.4@nd.edu

A Religious Phenomenon
By: Dale Recinella

“Don’t you agree that the death penalty is about politics?”

The question is from the gentleman in the center of a 14-cell corridor on Florida’s death row. My guess is that I’m being invited into a dispute between neighbors. It’s best to hear from both sides before weighing in.

“Politics as opposed to what?” I query. Sure enough, the man in the next cell answers.

“As opposed to religion. The death penalty is about religion.”

“Thank heavens you’re not asking my opinion about the food,” I respond with a laugh.

“Don’t be dancing around it. Is the death penalty a political issue or a religious issue? What do you say?”

“Because we are in the Bible Belt, it is absolutely both a political and a religious phenomenon.”

“How can it be both? You’re just playing both sides.”

“No. I’m dead serious. Fundamental to the consciousness of the Bible Belt is the belief that law and social policy are to be taken from a literal reading of the English translation of pull quotes of verses of the Bible. That’s why it’s called the Bible Belt. And the death penalty in America is a Bible Belt phenomenon.”

“What are you talking about?” chides the instigator of this discussion. “They’ve got the death penalty in Illinois and in New York. They aren’t Bible Belt are they?”

“No. But they sure have been influenced by it.”

“Hold up, man,” interrupts the neighbor in the proceedings. “What is the Bible Belt?”

“The Bible Belt is a historical phenomenon that occurred in the United States in the 19th century over the issue of slavery. In 1845, a large group of Christians in the south separated from their northern counterparts and created their own, new church. This new southern church held, as a matter of dogma, that the Bible mandated slavery of blacks by whites. That church became the dominant church of the southern United States.”

“Do they still teach that today?”

“No. In fact half a dozen years ago, they apologized for it. But the mentality and spirit of that geographic movement is what we now call the Bible Belt.”

“How come nobody knows this?”

“Not everybody doesn’t know it,” rejoins a third man in an adjoining cell who was raised in the south to be a Christian but is now a Black Muslim. “A lot of us do know it.”

“So, what exactly is the Bible Belt?”

“The Bible Belt consists of all the States that allowed slave ownership plus the territory of Oklahoma, which also allowed slave ownership but wasn’t yet a state by the Civil War. It is the former Confederate States plus Oklahoma and the border states.”

“So what’s that got to do with the death penalty?”

“Plenty. Support for the death penalty at large in the U.S. has dropped dramatically since 1994. According to the most recent polls, when given the sentencing alternative of life without possibility of parole, only 52% of Americans support the death penalty. Yet, here in the South, the largest Protestant denomination has recently declared that the death penalty is ordained by God’s word.”

“Just like they did with slavery 150 years ago,” chimes in the Black Muslim.

“The reality is that almost 90% of the executions in the U.S. during the last three years have been in the Bible Belt. And 100% of the people executed since 1976 for crimes committed as a minor have been in the Bible Belt. The American death penalty is a Bible Belt phenomenon.”

“Just our luck,” sighs the protagonist to his neighbor. “We’re Christians sitting in the Bible Belt.”

UPDATE: As of December 31, 2006, over 85% of all the executions in the U.S. since restarting the death penalty thirty years ago have occurred in the Bible Belt.

First published: The Florida Catholic, June 6, 2002
© 2002 Dale S. Recinella & The Florida Catholic.
Used with permission. All rights reserved.
No further reproduction or republication without prior written permission.


I Was In Prison
News & Updates
This ezine is targeted for people involved in prison ministry or in stopping the death penalty, we think you will find helpful information for people who are undecided about capital punishment, for those who have never experienced the inside of a jail or prison, and for those who feel called to participate through prayer and adoration.

Your name and information will never be used or sha#3333FF with anyone. We promise!

Dale S. Recinella, Catholic Lay Chaplain, Florida Death Row and Solitary Confinement
Susan M. Recinella, Clinical Psychologist for mentally ill adults, and Catholic Lay Minister to Families of the Executed

If you Like this Weekly Ezine - You will love Dale's Book!
Sr. Patricia Proctor
Paperback: 433 pages

Excellent book on the topic!,
June 13, 2005 Nathan Eanes
(Review from Amazon.com)

The Biblical Truth about America's Death Penalty is a must-read. It deals with Biblical standards of Capital Punishment and then compares them to the system used in America today. It is the best-researched, most faithful to scripture, and most evenhanded analysis I have ever read concerning the Death Penalty. Whatever your persuasion on the issue, this book will teach you a great deal. Recinella is a trained lawyer and committed Christian who now volunteers part-time on Florida's death row. He thus understands law, the Bible, and the system of execution in America. I challenge anyone who supports the Death Penalty to read this book.

This ezine edited by Sister Patricia Proctor, OSC - Poor Clare Sister
to support the IWasInPrison Outreach