The debate about the death penalty has been revived by the actions of Illinois' outgoing Republican governor George Ryan, who pardoned four death row inmates and commuted the death sentences of all 167 others. Ryan called the capital punishment system "immoral." Watch our discussion with Steve Mills, who has been covering the Illinois story for the Chicago Tribune.
Read some of the responses UNC freshmen wrote on their required reading assignment this summer, APPROACHING THE QUR’AN: THE EARLY REVELATIONS by Michael Sells. The book is a collection of translations and commentaries on the short chapters or suras of the Qur’an. It includes a compact disc recording of reciters chanting some of the suras. More
Part four of a five-part series: According to the Gallup organization, between 1984 and 1998 there was a phenomenal jump in the number of people who said they felt a need for greater spiritual growth — from 56 percent to 82 percent, in just 14 years. Part five looks at the many Americans, both religious and nonreligious, who have turned to alternative practices to facilitate this spiritual growth. More
Some devout Muslims believe the Koran forbids them from paying any interest. So when preparing to make a large purchase such as a house, they seek out not a lender, but a partner. Although not common, some financial institutions exist that allow customers to finance purchases in a way compliant with shariah law. More
When a person has a religious experience, what happens within the brain? What kind of changes take place? In one experiment, brain scans examine the parts of the brain that are activated during prayer. In another, mystical and religious experiences are simulated by using bursts of electrical impulses. These experiments have created no small amount of controversy. More
A new report from the Institute of Medicine, which advises the government on health policy, calls on the U.S. to do far more than is now being done to relieve the suffering of dying children and their families. Doctors and families face a dilemma in trying to choose between painful treatment that is unlikely to work and palliative care to make possible a so-called “good death.” More
When may a lawyer reveal what a client tells him in confidence? The American Bar Association recently made the rule less restrictive. It permits, but does not require, lawyers to disclose confidences to prevent "reasonably certain death or substantial bodily harm." Attorneys who obey the confidentiality rule sometimes do so at the expense of innocent people.