Tuesday, January 29, 2008

"Pro-Choice" on the Death Penalty

Hypothetical candidate:
"I am personally opposed to capital punishment. I take seriously the Church's teaching that we should protect life from conception until natural death.

"Nevertheless, the majority of the citizens that I represent believe the death penalty is necessary in our criminal justice system to ensure public safety, a respect for the law, and a sense of justice - that there are certain crimes for which society demands offenders pay the ultimate price. My personal opposition to capital punishment, driven by my religious beliefs, cannot stand in the way of society's view of the common good. I will not impose my own personal religious beliefs on someone else.

"Therefore, not only will I not work to end the death penalty if elected, but I will work to ensure that it remains an option in law for our citizens to impose on our most violent offenders. In addition, I will work to expand the crimes for which the death penalty may be imposed."
Think that would fly with those promoting the "pro-choice isn't the same as pro-abortion" meme? Nah, me either.

Our hypothetical candidate wishes to respond to his opponent's accusation that he is "soft" on crime and not as "pro-choice" on capital punishment as she is:
"I'll have you know that I have a 100% rating from both NDPRAL (National Death Penalty Rights Advocacy League) and MACABRE (Mollycoddlers And Criminals Are Betraying our Republic's Essence) - the nation's top death penalty advocacy groups.

"Furthermore, I am doubly proud of my 0% rating from VOCAL (Victims of Crime Advocating for Life) - a group advocating for "life" for convicted murderers (both in the sense of sparing their lives from death and giving them life in prison instead of the death penalty)."

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At 1/29/2008 4:23 PM, Blogger jaehoon said...

I understand you are being wholly Roman Catholic. I do wonder how Roman Catholics manage to sidestep the entire OT Law with regard to capital punishment. How does God Himself get out of hot water with Roman Catholics for violating their 'culture of life' political choices?

As for me and my house, when a murderer 'takes his blood on his own head' he has become dead to society - his execution merely enacts this in the physical world. It is not for a 'sense of justice' that he must be killed, but for real justice - because the land is otherwise soaked with the blood of his victims, which is only cleansed from the land by his own execution - not eventual death by 'natural causes.'

However, as we all know, unborn babies have not yet committed murder, nor taken anyone's blood; they have not taken their blood on their own heads and are not guilty of a crime.

At 1/29/2008 5:22 PM, Blogger Jay Anderson said...

I'm not going to debate the death penalty with you, as that is not the point of this post.

The point of the post is whether someone can take the position I've described and yet claim NOT to be "pro-death-penalty".

At 1/29/2008 5:44 PM, Anonymous BillyHW said...


You will find that many Catholics like to spread the misinformation that the Catholic Church forbids all capital punishment.

This is simply not true. (And Jay wasn't doing this.)

The permissability of the death penalty under the new covenant is right there in Paul's letters. So it is not necessary to resort to the OT laws to justify it.

However, mercy has also always been an option under the OT, and certainly under the NT. (So has justice.)

At 1/30/2008 7:51 AM, Anonymous Donald R. McClarey said...

Nice Swiftian post. At least the death penalty candidate could state that until the day before yesterday historically speaking the Church had no problem with the death penalty, an argument which could not be made by a pro-abortion candidate, which should raise a major problem for Catholics inclined to vote for such a candidate. However, as is amply demonstrated at Vox Nova, the ability of people to square this particular circle is infinite.

At 1/30/2008 2:12 PM, Blogger jaehoon said...

I see. I've definitely heard that the whole cloth 'culture of life' prohibits euthanasia, abortion, offensive war and capital punishment.

I felt that the language Jay was using was attacking people who supported capital punishment because 'they felt' it was necessary for justice - and as this claims to be Roman Catholic blog, I presumed that it was coming from what I had been told was the Roman Catholic teaching on the culture of life.

I'm glad to know that the Roman Catholic church is not taking this stance, and that Jay was not bashing capital punishment in this post.


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