Death-row inmates in Texas will no longer be able to have a clergy member by their side when they die, the state’s justice department has ruled. The decision comes after the Supreme Court blocked the execution of a man who said his religious freedom would be violated if his Buddhist spiritual adviser couldn’t accompany him in the execution chamber. Only prison security staff will be allowed to attend executions from now on. Texas previously allowed state-employed clergy to accompany inmates into the room—but the state only hired Christian and Muslim clerics. The Supreme Court ruled last Thursday that Texas couldn’t move forward with the execution of Patrick Murphy unless his Buddhist adviser or another Buddhist cleric was with him. Murphy was among a group of inmates who escaped from a Texas prison in 2000 and then committed a string of robberies. He became a Buddhist while in prison nearly a decade ago.
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