Published October 28, 2010
Catholics, religious leaders and activists from across the country are meeting in November for the first national conference on religious opposition to the death penalty this century.
The Kairos Conference: Discerning Justice and Taking Action on America’s Death Penalty, scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday, Nov. 16-17, at the Emory Conference Center at Emory University, is to spur greater levels of religious involvement in abolishing the death penalty.
Sister Helen Prejean, a member of the Congregation of St. Joseph and author of “Dead Man Walking,” is honorary chair of the conference. It will feature representatives of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Archdiocese of Atlanta, and the Catholic Mobilizing Network to End the Use of the Death Penalty.
Clergy, religious and lay leaders, as well as those involved in the death penalty in their communities are invited to attend. Registration for the Kairos Conference is online at www.kairosconference.org. The cost to attend for basic individual registration is $235. Discounts are offered for students, affiliated groups, seniors and members of People of Faith Against the Death Penalty. Registration fees cover all plenaries and workshops, two luncheons, breakfast buffet, and snacks and drinks morning and afternoon.
The conference will also feature a benefit concert by the Grammy award-winning ensemble Sweet Honey in the Rock at the Historic Ebenezer Baptist Church, where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once served as co-pastor with his father. A concert-only ticket is available for $30 per person.
“The Kairos Conference will be a launching point for creating a comprehensive plan to build and sustain interfaith organizing against the death penalty at this special time,” said Stephen Dear, executive director of People of Faith Against the Death Penalty, a national nonprofit based in Carrboro, N.C., which is organizing the conference.
Speakers at the conference include clergy, theologians, attorneys and anti-death penalty activists. Among the speakers will be Prejean, Rabbi David Saperstein of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, Council of Europe Goodwill Ambassador Bianca Jagger, Rev. Billy Neal Moore, a former Georgia death row prisoner whose case drew worldwide attention, Bud Welch, whose daughter was killed in the Oklahoma City bombing, and Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na’im, a scholar on human rights and ethics at Emory.
The conference will offer opportunities to participants to engage in a prayerful dialogue around the moral questions of the death penalty. The event will offer practical ways to deal with the issue in communities of faith and to help them become engaged in promoting the values of restorative justice, organizers said.
For more information, go to www.kairosconference.org.