Yesterday was the Religious Leaders Dialogue on the Death Penalty in Houston; MVFHR's Vicki Schieber was one of the moderators. I meant to post this yesterday and didn't, but here now is the press release about the event, which gives a good summary:
The Arts and the Religious Join Forces to Take On the Death Penalty Houston, the leading city in death sentences, convenes leaders to open public discourse and promote awareness through the Arts. On January 18, 2011, a panel of Houston’s Religious Leaders will participate in The Dialogue of Religious Leaders on the death penalty at the Hobby Center’s Zilkher Hall in downtown Houston.
This unprecedented event precedes the Houston Grand Opera’s performances of the award-winning Dead Man Walking Opera January 22- February 7, 2011. This public event will bring together Houston's top religious leaders including Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, Bishop Janice Hui, Bishop Michael Rinehart, Rev. Michael Cole, Rev. Harvey Clemens, Jr., Rabbi David Lyon, Sr. Helen Prejean, author of the book, Dead Man Walking, and Vicki Schieber, national spokesperson and the Board Chair of Murder Victims for Human Rights to discuss issues surrounding the death penalty.
The organizers are expecting a sold-out event of community groups and individuals from across the city. The program will include an aria performance from the Dead Man Walking Opera, the nationally acclaimed opera, which will be opening just days later at the Wortham Center. Like the film, the opera, explores the effects of vengeance and reveals all of the victims of the death penalty. The Houston Chronicle has called it "a hard-hitting contemporary opera". According to the Rt. Rev. C. Andrew Doyle, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Texas, "We hope that this is a seminal event for discussions surrounding the death penalty. It is a topic that should be discussed in the context of our lives of faith in order for healing and reconciliation to take root."
Here is coverage of the event in the Houston Chronicle, and here is more information about the Catholic Mobilizing Network Against the Death Penalty, which organized the event.