That Other Pro-Life Issue

Conservative Christians are reaching a turning point on capital punishment.

Charles Johnson grew up around guns and hunting in Kentucky, and as a Southern Baptist minister he was accustomed to telling his parishioners about standing in judgment before the Lord. He was, in short, a standard-issue American conservative, and he had views on the death penalty to match. Until, that is, he moved to Texas. "There are dozens of executions in this state every year," says Johnson, who has lived in Lubbock for the past 12 years. "It's two or three a week.

The Ultimate Punishment

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  • "This experience really awakened me to the issue of capital punishment," Johnson, 44, says from his office at Second Baptist Church. "And that started to work on my heart, on my spirit."

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