Activist and author Shane Claiborne has written a new piece for RNS about American Christians’ relationship with the death penalty, and why, in a country that is mostly comprised of self-professed Christian, it is still so popular. The article comes at a time when several executions are scheduled for next week, and Pope Francis called executions “an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person.” 

In the piece, he cited some pretty alarming stats: “Eighty-five percent of executions in the past 40 years have taken place in the Bible Belt. This means the Bible Belt is the death belt in America.”

However, he also notes that eighty percent of millennial Christians oppose the death penalty.

Claiborne writes this in his appeal for Christians to be more active in fighting the death penalty:

It does not take courage to say that slavery is wrong a generation after we have ended it. It takes courage to say that slavery is wrong when it is still legal and socially acceptable. So it is with the death penalty. I believe we will look back at the death penalty a generation from now just like we look back at slavery: with horror and shame, wondering how we ever thought it was OK and how we used the Bible to justify it.