Two days before Willie Smith was scheduled to die, Pastor Robert Wiley looked to the Gospel of Matthew.
“You of little faith, why did you doubt?”
Wiley drew Smith, on a prison telephone at Holman Correctional Facility, to the story of Peter, who faltered amid strong winds when asked to follow Jesus onto the Sea of Galilee.
“We talk about Peter, and how he had to walk by faith. When Christ bid him to come out and meet him on the water, how much faith did it take to take that step?” Smith said. “Even though Peter got distracted, Christ said, ‘Why did you doubt?'”
The pastor, the condemned and their faith are at the center of a religious discrimination claim that triggered a late injunction from a federal appeals court on Wednesday, apparently halting Smith’s Feb. 11 execution unless Alabama allows Wiley into the execution chamber.
The case, filed in December 2020, is the latest in a series of religious discrimination claims…