The sister of Scott Panetti, a paranoid schizophrenic set to be executed by the state of Texas on Dec. 3 for the murder of two people, has pleaded with Gov. Rick Perry to commute his sentence to life in prison. Victoria Panetti has said that her brother, who believes he's being executed for preaching the Gospel, does not understand fact from fiction, and started an online petition asking Perry to spare his life.
"Having a brother on death row is like having a terminally ill family member. But there's one big difference: we can't stop a terminal illness, but we can stop Texas from killing a mentally ill man," Victoria Panetti wrote in a letter alongside the Change.org petition.
"I know it's hard to see beyond the fact that Scott took two lives, but he suffers from a severe illness that changed the way his mind works. He doesn't understand fact from fiction. He's still my big brother, the strong and handsome sailor who served in the Navy." more >>
The Holy Hip Hop for Hunger Concert & Awards Show, held at South Houston's Legacy Church, collected between 2,000 and 3,000 cans for the Houston Food Bank, while giving out awards to local male and female rap artists, spoken word poets, producers and DJs who praise the name of Jesus.
The cans came from the nearly 600 hip hop fans who were encouraged to bring five canned goods in exchange for free entrance to the event.
"I love to see more opportunities for the genre and the people making this kind of music to be honored because I think it's a great justice that they're doing for the kids, [for] the time and money I see them spending on recording and doing music and doing free events. Just trying to bring more awareness to what we're doing," said Hunger Awards organizer Vaughaligan Walwyn. more >>
The attorneys for Scott Panetti, a severely mentally ill man who believes Texas is trying to execute him for preaching the Gospel, have asked the state to stay his execution. Panetti's death sentence, however, is not for preaching the Gospel, but for murdering his parents-in-law in 1992. His planned execution is being opposed by both mental health professionals and over 50 evangelical leaders.
"If his execution date is not withdrawn, he will go to the execution chamber convinced that he's being put to death for preaching the Gospels, not for the murder of his wife's parents, and the retributive goal of capital punishment will not be served," the Texas Defender Service group warned.
Over 50 Evangelical leaders have signed a joint letter warning Texas Governor Rick Perry that the planned execution of severely mentally ill man Scott Panetti, who has been convicted of murder and has said he believes he is battling Satan, would "cross a moral line."
"As Christians, we are called to protect the most vulnerable, and we count Mr. Panetti – a man who has suffered from severe mental illness for over 30 years – to be among them. If ever there was a clear case of an individual suffering from mental illness, this is it," reads the letter by the Evangelical leaders.
"Mr. Panetti is a paranoid schizophrenic, which was apparent at his trial, where he represented himself with his life on the line. He wore a TV-Western cowboy costume and attempted to subpoena the Pope, John F. Kennedy, and Jesus Christ. The fact that his trial was carried out in such a fashion is a mockery of the criminal justice system." more >>
The infamous Westboro Baptist Church made its way to Joel Osteen's home base in Houston, Texas, Sunday to blast the city's lesbian Mayor Annise Parker and protest against the famous pastor.
Members of the Topeka, Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church, which isn't affiliated with any Baptist denomination, gathered outside the church as people entered for Sunday worship services.
The group held signs aimed at Parker's support for the city's Equal Rights Ordinance, which opponents believe will have several unintended consequences, such as allowing men who identify as female to use women's bathrooms. more >>
Former president George W. Bush addressed an estimated 200 civic and business leaders in Dallas at an event to raise awareness about the Museum of the Bible project in Washington, D.C. During the discussion, Bush emphasized how much the Bible was an integral part of his daily life as president.
"I read the Bible every day during my presidency," said Bush, who shared the stage with Hobby Lobby President and Museum of the Bible Chairman Steve Green.
"The easiest time to be faithful is during a time of crisis. The hardest time for faith is when all is well. Faith informed my principles and decisions, but not my tactics. It would give me strength, but I didn't use my faith to make decisions. Freedom is a faith informed principle," the former commander-in-chief said Sunday. more >>