Sunday, October 26, 2008

What does it mean to be pro-life?

There are several sites that have considered abortion and the death penalty in tandem.

The Washington Post:

Yes. Without getting into the debate about what the Old Testament and New Testament teach, I say look at the obvious. The person who is on death row awaiting execution is there as a result of his/her own actions. The unborn child who is aborted dies from the action of another. The child has not done anything warranting such a harsh penalty.

Michael Spenard, Columbia

My belief is that this is morally inconsistent. I'm Catholic, and my church teaches that human life is sacred. This includes unborn fetuses as well as adult criminals who have committed horrible acts.

The basic thought is, we as humans do not have the authority to decide who lives and who dies. In our belief, that decision is up to God alone. By having abortions or instituting the death penalty, we humans are arrogantly presuming an authority which simply is not ours.

Arthur Liu, Gaithersburg

But the Washington Post isn't the only paper to receive letters on the topic. Ginny Bolten wrote the Missoulian:

Abortion is not the only issue we must address, particularly if we are Christian. The messages of Christ were to love one another, care for the poor, the children, those afflicted and unable to care for themselves. All life is precious in the eyes of God, so how do the “right-wing” conservatives justify the death penalty or war? We are not here to judge and the New Testament does not state that war is good or even just....

Our nation has lost the goodwill of the entire world, we are in a recession and yet the “right-wing” conservatives continue to use abortion as the hot-button issue. If you value human life and oppose abortion, you must also oppose the death penalty and war. Otherwise you speak without a conscience. Let us look at all life before we embrace the issues of the “right-wing” conservatives. Enough of the hot-button issues and fear! Choose life!

Andy B. Hammond resopnded to Ginny Bolten:

[T]he Death Penalty is the ultimate punishment for deliberately taking another (innocent) person's life. I don't care if it deters the crime or not. I care that the murderer pays the price. Second, Wars, unfortunately, have to be fought because there are powerful and evil people out there in the world who do evil and horrible things to other (innocent) people. These people must be stopped and War is often the tool to stop them. Evil people often don't sincerely participate in or care about diplomacy. Third, Abortion, is the deliberate killing of an unborn (innocent) human being.

My stand on all three issues is clearly one of protecting the innocent. It ain't that complicated.

But what about protecting the guilty? I found a 16-year old in Australia:

on abortion im pro death but i think the death penalty is wrong because its a form of mercy, its a good way of clearing some jail space but ultimately im agaist it

but in the example you talked about.....people are pro choice or "pro abortion" because the pro life stance is FACIST and evil. you insinuating that people kill unborn babies for fun

Ignoring the misspelling of the word "fascist," it's interesting to note that the author considered the death penalty a form of mercy. Interesting, since there has been debate for centuries regarding "merciful" administration of the death penalty.

Another person agreed with the pro-choice, anti-death penalty formulation:

I am pro-choice, and anti-death penalty. I dont believe abortion kills, but prevents life, and the death penalty is death.

Or, to put it another way, if the life never existed in the first place, then the procedure is not death.

The Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta compared the major presidential candidates' views on various life issues.

On abortion, McCain’s campaign Web site said the Republican candidate “believes Roe v. Wade is a flawed decision that must be overturned” as “one step in the long path toward ending abortion.” Obama’s Web site says the Democratic nominee “will make safeguarding women’s rights under Roe v. Wade a priority” and that he “opposes any constitutional amendment to overturn that decision.”...

“I support the death penalty for heinous crimes in which the circumstances warrant capital punishment,” said McCain.

Obama’s stand was a bit more nuanced. “Throughout my career I have worked strenuously to ensure that the death penalty is only administered fairly and justly,” he told U.S. Catholic. “But I do believe that there are some crimes that are so heinous that they deserve the death penalty.”

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