Mark Lewis Taylor teaches at Princeton Theological
Seminary, perhaps an unlikely place to launch as strong an attack upon the capital
punishment system as this. Taylor argues that it is both ironic and hypocritical
for Christians to support the very system of punishment that resulted in the death
of the Savior. Further, at a time when this nation is waging a war against terrorism,
the death penalty may, itself be, one of the most egregious examples of state
sponsored terrorism in the western world.
Winner, Best General
Interest Book for 2001, Association of Theological Booksellers
the publisher ...
Between 1980 and 2000, the number of prisoners in the
U.S. has tripled to over 2 million people, 70 percent of them people of color.
Indeed, by 2000, 3,600 people were on America's death rows. This growth industry
currently employs 523,000 people.
Among abuses that Mark Taylor notes in
this "theater of terror" are capital punishment, inordinate sentencing,
violations of fairness in both process and results, racism in the justice system
and prisons, prison rape and other terrorizing techniques, and paramilitary policing
With twenty-five years of involvement with prison reform, Taylor
passionately describes and explains the excesses and injustices in our corrections
system and capital punishment to foster compassionate and effective Christian
action. His book convincingly relates the life-engendering power of God
demonstrated in Jesus' cross and resurrection to the potential transformation
of the systems of death and imprisonment.
Selected reviews of this book
"A powerful critique of America as Empire and the challenge it
poses for all who believe in the way of Jesus."
James H. Cone,
Union Theological Seminary, New York
"Mark Taylors absorbing
examination of our shameful execution obsession is without a doubt the finest
and most discerning theological analysis of the death penalty now available. There
is no doubt that the question is once again back in the public eye, and his graphic
and penetrating book will surely help focus the discussion we all need."
Harvey Cox, Harvard Divinity School
"Taylor attacks U.S.
prisons as racist and unjust. ... Taylor's voice is ... uncompromising, making
this a moving if controversial read."
explores how the reality that Jesus of Nazareth was executed can and should shape
Christian response to the U.S. growth in prisons and execution of prisoners. He
places the story of Jesus in its gritty social context, challenging Christians
to understand the forces of injustice fueling the rise of the prison state, and
to explore creative resistance. This is a synthesis of fine theology, insightful
political analysis, and moral challenge for people of faith."