Religion and the death penalty collide at the Supreme Court

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court is sending a message to states that want to continue to carry out the death penalty. Inmates must be allowed to have a spiritual adviser by their side as they are executed. The high court around midnight Thursday declined to let Alabama proceed with the lethal injection of Willie B. Smith III. Smith had objected to Alabama’s policy that his pastor would have had to observe his execution from an adjacent room rather than the death chamber. The Supreme Court order follows two years in which inmates saw some rare success in bringing challenges based on the issue of chaplains in the death chamber.