Pro-life voters, take note

During the GOP debate Wednesday evening in California, only one question received applause: it was when NBC’s Brian Williams stated the statistic that Texas Governor Rick Perry had overseen 234 executions.

Perry said that he had not lost sleep over any of the executions on his watch.

Brian Williams noted the audience’s enthusiastic response to the death penalty, and asked Perry what he made of that.

“I think Americans understand justice,” he said.

  • Klaire

    IMO, that question was a lost “teaching” moment for Perry, who had the spotlight to remind America how many “abortions” our current president has overseen including survivors of partial birth abortions and black genocide of his own race without not only a word, but more “protection” from those evil rosary prayers outside the clinics.

    But why stop there in the education of Brian Williams or America? Perry also could have mentioned how the first act of Obma in office was to overturn the Mexican City Policy, followed by his illegal funding to Africa (an impeachable offense that never made it to the MSM) to legalize abortion for the first time in that country, in addition to the recent HHS “requirement” for tax payer monies to fund birth control and women’s “health.”

    (I’m willing to provide references for all of the above)

    So, if the conversation is going to be about killing, let’s start that discussion with the MILLIONS OF INNOCENT lives killed before 234 executions of hardened criminals who may or may not have been a threat to society and innocent lives.

    That said, I’m opposed to the death penalty (and not a fan of Rick Perry), just making the point for “justice” and hypocrisy, as it makes no sense, outside of “political sense” to care about the death of hardened criminals and not the deaths of helpless innocents, of which more than 234 get slaughtered DAILY in this country.

    On that same note, in the last debate (before last nights), Rick Santorum made one of the finest pro life arguments I ever heard.

  • ron chandonia

    This morning the pundits seem to agree that this was the point in the debate at which Governor Perry was most confident and articulate. That’s really sad. There were a few moments in the debate when it seemed possible that the upcoming election might provide us with a serious and badly-needed discussion on the role of government in securing the common good. But I saw no evidence at all tht the GOP frontrunner could contribute much to such a discussion.

  • Mike

    That applause made me absolutely sick. Maybe it’s possible to talk about capital punishment as a necessary evil that can be morally justified in extremely rare circumstances, but to applaud it is just completely antithetical to the idea of being pro-life.

  • kenneth

    A wise observation, Mike. Do Christians think they’re going to forge a pro-life societal consensus in a society that cheers the deaths of other human beings like a football touchdown? The man selling himself as one of the “pro-life” candidates is presiding over (and fostering) a culture which respects life about as much as spectators in Nero’s arenas.

  • Klaire

    Maybe it’s time to face the reality that has always been there and that is this: VERY few Republicans are pro-life or for that matter, a fan of the other social issues.

    They only tolerate (or pretend to), us social conservatives, because they couldn’t possible win otherwise. But that need is slowly being chipped away, as abortion and gay ‘marriage’ become more accepted into society.

    It won’t be long before they throw us under the bus too in our soon to be Godless society.

  • http://www.gerardnadal.com Gerard Nadal

    The applause makes me sick, but putting that aside for a moment…

    I agree with Klaire and others here. I might add that the Tea Party has given us the most truly pro-life Congresspersons in one sitting since Roe v. Wade. I would love for them all to be against the death penalty, but that doesn’t seem to be part of the conservative recipe.

    We know that we have zero hope with the Democrats, and while pro-life leaders on the Republican side may also be pro-death penalty, half a loaf is still nourishment to a nation starving for decency and justice in its laws. Perry wasn’t all that wrong in his response. The American people do understand justice.

    At some level, most pro-lifers understand that most on death row are indeed guilty of murder, and have at least had the opportunity of a jury trial where they might present exculpatory evidence. They also have the benefit of a lengthy appeals process. The humans on death row in a Planned Parenthood waiting room have no court-appointed attorney to speak on their behalf, no trial, and no appeals.

    I would have all politicians be as consistently pro-life as I am, across the entire life spectrum, but I’ll take a Rick Perry over the malignant Obama any day.

  • Rudy

    Remember the Hi Fi murders?:

    “The Hi-Fi murders were the murders of three people during a robbery at a home audio store in Ogden, Utah, on April 22, 1974. Five people had been held hostage but two survived with severe injuries. All were bound and forced to drink corrosive drain cleaner. One victim had a pen kicked into his ear and a teenage girl was repeatedly raped before being shot in the head.”

    Are these the gladiators to be sacrificed in Nero’s arena? The brutality of some criminals is only increasing. Is the death murder justified? In this case am an agnostic.

  • HMS

    It was disconcerting to hear the applause given to the question about the executions in Texas during Rick Perry’s tenure. (My hats off to Brian Williams for his follow-up question.) Even more, I was concerned when he said that he never struggled with the idea that someone who was killed via capital punishment was innocent. I do not think that the death penalty is just a Republican issue. I would say that the majority of Democrats feel and think the same. After all, 34 of our 50 states have the death penalty.

  • HMS

    Ron Chandonia #2:

    Thanks for the reminder about the common good. (It’s a term that was drilled into my mind in high school religion classes when we studied papal encyclicals.) I do not see the term much in recent discussions about politics and economics in many Catholic circles. Seems like subsidiarity is the term “du jour.”

  • naturgesetz

    Klaire #5,

    I think you underestimate the level of pro-life principle in the GOP.

    But if your analysis is absolutely correct, it follows the only prudent strategy for pro-lifers is to vote solidly Republican, so as to continue to make ourselves indispensible to the party. Each Republican loss and each Democratic win only hastens the day when the culture of death triumphs totally.

  • justamouse

    oh just dandy.

    Why don’t we just bring back gladiators and the coliseum?

    Pro life is pro life. No buts.

  • HMS

    Klaire #%:

    I understand what you are saying. (I think.)

    Recently I did a study of the Republican and Democratic Platforms and Catholic Social Teachings. (It is still in process.)

    I found it interesting that in the 2004 Republican Platform, one of the headings is “Promoting a Culture Of Life” and in the 2008 Republican Platform, one of the headings is “Maintaining the Sanctity and Dignity of Human Life.”

    Not that those phrases are exclusively Catholic, but if you Google search them, Catholic sources are at the top of the list.

    It left me with the impression that recently there was a deliberate attempt in the Republican Party to attract the Catholic vote and, perhaps, the hierarchy (beyond the abortion issue).

  • http://jscafenette.com/ Manny

    Rick Perry is right. Capital punishment is justice. The question is whether it should be qualified with mercy. Whenever I read the details of what some murderer did to some innocent person and the impact on the family, then damn right I support the death penalty.

    And oh please with those who blur pro-life with the death penalty. Even the Catholic Church has supported the death penalty in the past.

  • Meggan

    Pro-life means Pro-LIFE. It’s not Pro-some-people’s-lives.

  • Joanc57

    I think Perry is washed up; I forecast that he will not be the nominee. He left me cold. Romney beat him fair and square. I liked Santorum and Newt and Bachmann and Cain a lot, not necessarily in that order. Ron Paul just does not strike me as a viable candidate, which we need, badly.

  • Jim

    i believe RICK PERRY( as a professing christian ) is submitting to scripture in romans 13 to things that gov’t is ordained by GOD to do. he is a ‘ minister ‘ of GOD functioning within a divine institution.
    gov’t has the power to take life. GEN 9 says ” that whoever shed;s man’s blood , by man shall his be shed “. JESUS said in Matt 26 :’ if you live by the sword , you will die by the sword ‘ thus affirming capital punishment.
    capital punishment is the will of GOD and the executioner is the servanrt of GOD. OBTW , NUMBERS 35 : 33 isn rather explicit too !
    i’m not totally sold on RP but on this issue i will stand with him.

  • Unapolgetic catholic

    Here’s an interesting “hypothetical” where the real world meets abstract ideals on abortion.

    What medical procedures and decisions in this case were permissible under Catholic teaching and which,if any, were not? Which expressions of the parents were in line with Catholic teaching and which were not?

    I personally believe the parents did not observe Catholic teaching but made the right choices. My heart goes out to the parents in this tragic case.

    Taking steps to cause the mother to go into labor knowing the fetus would not survive appears to constitute a direct act intending to cause the death of the fetus (and save the life of the mother). Once that decision was made, evreything else happned as a a matter of course.

    Would a law banning second trimester abortions cover this case? If you think it should not, how would you write the law to ban abortions but allow procedures undertaken in this case?

    http://ellenshaffer.blogspot.com/2011/04/santorum-our-abortion-was-different.html

  • naturgesetz

    Unapologetic catholic #17,

    Your comment is off topic.

    The parents did not “take steps to cause the mother to go into labor.” They took steps to fight an infection by injecting the mother with antibiotics. A side effect was that she went into labor. There was no intention “to cause the death of the [unborn child],” as you mistakenly claim.

  • Deacon John M. Bresnahan

    There was a time when Catholics made a clear distinction between innocent human life (unborn babies, civilians in wartime, etc.) which should be protected and those who forfeited their right to life by exterminating other’s lives.
    But now pro-life people have been convinced to include mass murderers, serial killers, terrorist bombers, Dr. Mengeles, Adolph Eichmanns with clearly innocent human life. Has that gained the pro-life movement anything??? In very many states now mass murders are coddled while babies are still exterminated.
    Probably the worst parts of keeping a murderer in jail for life is the guards who are murdered there and the fact that in most states to keep a lifer in prison the family of victims have to show up year after, and relive the trauma of the murders in front of the parole board. Never any closure.

  • Richard Johnson

    Deacon Bresnahan, you overlook an important fact regarding Governor Perry.

    http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2009/09/07/090907fa_fact_grann

    “In 2005, Texas established a government commission to investigate allegations of error and misconduct by forensic scientists. The first cases that are being reviewed by the commission are those of Willingham and Willis. In mid-August, the noted fire scientist Craig Beyler, who was hired by the commission, completed his investigation. In a scathing report, he concluded that investigators in the Willingham case had no scientific basis for claiming that the fire was arson, ignored evidence that contradicted their theory, had no comprehension of flashover and fire dynamics, relied on discredited folklore, and failed to eliminate potential accidental or alternative causes of the fire. He said that Vasquez’s approach seemed to deny “rational reasoning” and was more “characteristic of mystics or psychics.” What’s more, Beyler determined that the investigation violated, as he put it to me, “not only the standards of today but even of the time period.” The commission is reviewing his findings, and plans to release its own report next year. Some legal scholars believe that the commission may narrowly assess the reliability of the scientific evidence. There is a chance, however, that Texas could become the first state to acknowledge officially that, since the advent of the modern judicial system, it had carried out the “execution of a legally and factually innocent person.”

    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=113405213

    “A report that concluded that a faulty investigation led to the execution of a Texas man won’t be reviewed by a state board as planned after Gov. Rick Perry abruptly removed three people from the panel. The report criticized the arson finding that led to Cameron Todd Willingham’s execution for the deaths of his three daughters in a 1991 blaze.”

    Why did Governor Perry remove people from the panel just as they were to review this very critical report? It is one thing to say that we must protect our citizens from mass murderers. It is another to say that sometimes that means an innocent will lose their life in the state execution chamber.

    But is is acceptable that the review of such a case be covered over by a Governor who is planning to run for President and does not wish to have an embarrassment trailing him to Washington?

  • http://jscafenette.com/ Manny

    @Deacon Bresnahan #19
    Excellent comment.

  • MhariDubh

    The applause at this question was disgusting.

  • David Schmidt

    I think you all need to look at who will give us life, liberty and the persuit of happiness Ron Paul is his name and if we dont get on the band wagon we might loose our immortal soul, for placing evil as our head of this great country.

  • Deacon John M. Bresnahan

    #20 my goal is not to give support to Gov. Perry, there are other candidates I like much more.
    But I do think that there is no perfect system to handle murderers. It seems to me–based on media accounts and columns and blogs– that those against capital punishment virtually NEVER mention the cost in human lives (the guards murdered) and trauma to the victim’s families involving constant parole hearings that can go on for decades.
    I think anyone who is an avowed opponent of cap punishment has a duty to come up with ways of solving these two problems.
    Our legal system is better than most and using DNA has now become a way of making the system is even better.
    As for innocent people being executed—Are not prison guards innocent??? Are more innocent people executed by the state each year than guards murdered by murderers in prison??? I doubt it. And how many victim’s families spend their lives in trauma waiting for the next parole hearing they have to attend to help keep a lifer-murderer in prison (rarely does “life” mean that in most states).
    And if parole is granted how safe will the victim’s family feel????
    Charles Manson can put in for parole every year or two–and does. How long before he is inflicted on society again????
    I’m not in favor of cap punishment. What I am against is the so often thoughtless, unchallenged, uncritical support some people give to doing away with capital punishment. It is a very difficult, serious issue with many aspects that need to be carefully looked at and debated.

  • deaconnorb

    Let me ask this of all of those folks who work this blog who consider themselves clergy. Do any of you work in Prison Ministry or — better yet — do any of you work as (or know clergy who do work as) “Death Row Chaplains”?

    Here in the Midwest, it is not unusual to have Roman Catholic deacons serving in prison ministry but “Death Row Chaplaincies” are reserved for Roman Catholic priests. I have worked with three priests who were “Death Row Chaplains”: two priests who have ministered on Mens’ Death Row here in the Midwest; and one other good colleague who is one of several Roman Catholic priests working on Womens’ Death Row at the CWCF – Chowchilla, California.

    IF this has never been your ministry — and it has never been mine — I would strongly recommend to make contact with any “Death Row Chaplains” you can find and let them tell their stories.

    Better yet, convince you local parish’ equivalent of an Adult Faith Formation team to invite one to your next speakers’ series. When we did that, our attendance that night set a local all-time record for one of those evening programs.

  • deaconnorb

    Re; Deacon John #19

    “There was a time when Catholics made a clear distinction between innocent human life (unborn babies, civilians in wartime, etc.) which should be protected and those who forfeited their right to life by exterminating other’s lives.”

    John: If I’m not mistaken, once upon a time you identified yourself as a historian.

    A person who is a true believer in the “Seamless Robe of Life Theory” accepts that not only is abortion un-natural (and thus wrong) but so is death in war and death by capital punishment as well.

    I do believe that we have always been historically consistent with the protection of unborn human life; my only hedge is that I cannot prove that as emphatically as I would like to.

    Our Catholic Church, however, has had a very inconsistent and ambivalent history toward death in war and death by capital punishment.

    You have already recognized the inconsistency in the area of capital punishment — but it was there in war as well.

    Your argument about the church constantly protecting innocent civilians in war will not hold water. No bishop protested the atomic bombings of Nagasaki and Hiroshima even though both of those cities had significant Roman Catholic populations — in fact were that era’s equivalents of diocesan sees. But don’t forget the fire-bombing of both Tokyo and Dresden — each of which caused more loss of civilian life that both of the atomic weapons combined.

    Just as important, no bishop ever stood in the middle of a SAC runway in the 1950′s and 1960′s in an attempt to block the take-off of the B-52′s on combat alert. Each of those aircraft contained the total explosive force of twelve million tons of TNT — 600 times the power exploded on either of the Japanese cities.

    The other two items on your list –

  • naturgesetz

    deaconnorb,

    You write, “A person who is a true believer in the ‘Seamless Robe of Life Theory’ accepts that not only is abortion un-natural (and thus wrong) but so is death in war and death by capital punishment as well.”

    I am of the opinion that the fire bombings of cities in WWI were war crimes on both sides, and I’d like to see capital punishment abolished in this country, but it must be acknowledged that the theory you refer to has never been definitive Church teaching; whereas the grave wrongfulness of abortion always has been part of our teaching, and until very recently the legitimacy both of participation in just wars and of capital punishment for serious crimes has been commonly accepted, and the Church still does not condemn either, as much as it tries to discourage them. IOW the “Seamless Robe of Life Theory” which you propound is not official Catholic doctrine, whereas abortion and euthanasia are officially denounced by Vatican II as “unspeakable crimes.”


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