Blaming abortion supporters for the death penalty

When last we looked in on the super-duper “prolife” Catholic governor of Nebraska, Pete Ricketts, he was flashing his Christianist street cred for the nascent Party of Trump nihilists by working hard to battle the Church and the democratic will of the people of Nebraska to maintain the culture of death:

Imagine you and your dad have $300,000 burning a hole in your pocket and you want to blow it on something. Here is what they could have spent that money on:

  • 45 one-year tuition scholarships to the University of Nebraska.
  • One year of health insurance for 102 low-income Nebraskans.
  • Ricketts supports charters and vouchers for private schools. With the money he has spent to re-legalize state-sanctioned killing, he could have bought a year of tuition at a private elementary school for 81 kids who otherwise couldn’t afford it.
  • Ricketts also opposes abortion rights. The average pregnancy costs about $8,800 in the United States. That means Ricketts could have paid the hospital and medical costs of at least 34 low-income women — probably more, given that the cost of health care in Nebraska is almost certainly lower than the U.S. average.
  • From what I can tell, the average soup kitchen meal costs about $1.20. For $300,000, Ricketts could have purchased 250,000 meals for homeless people. He could feed 228 people three meals per day for a year.
  • Alternately, he could a year of rent-free living for 45 people in an average one-bedroom apartment in Lincoln.
  • He could employ 11 Nebraskans for a year at the state’s median salary.

But instead of doing that, Ricketts and pere chose to defy the call of the Church, three popes, and the bishops of the United States (and the world) to end the vengeful barbarism of the death penalty. When the state of Nebraska lawfully and with due process repealed the death penalty, “prolife” Catholic Ricketts took all that dough and poured it into an effort to reinstate it.

Now, having successfully saved the death penalty from the clutches of The People, Nebraska’s governor wants to make fentanyl the new drug of choice for state-sponsored slaughter.

In response, I put up a note on FB protesting this all-too-typical triumph of “prolife” Christianism, and a reader wrote:

I am also opposed to the death penalty for any number of different reasons, but a country that allows the death penalty for millions of the innocent unborn is not likely to outlaw the death penalty for convicted criminals of heinous crimes.

I applaud my reader for her consistent life ethic that opposes both the death penalty and abortion. But it is far too simple to blame abortion for the death penalty.  Indeed, it is counter-factual and it shifts the blame from the guilty parties to “liberals”. The hard cold reality is that it is the people who claim to be “prolife” (like Catholic “prolife” governor Ricketts) who are the most zealous defenders of the death penalty. The backbone of death penalty support is white, Republican Christians, the same demographic that is the backbone of the “prolife” movement:

Indeed, one of their most bizarre defenses of it is that it is “liberal” to oppose the death penalty and Good Prolife Christians should be Good Republicans and oppose abortion, not the death penalty (as though the life of the unborn is the opposite of the life of the condemned.) It was not some abortion zealot, but two white, conservative Catholics who wrote the most unnecessary book of 2017, a Catholic defense of the death penalty. It was not some abortion zealot, but “prolife” Catholic governor Ricketts who went out of his way to crush the express will of the people of Nebraska (and the teaching of his Church) to “save” the death penalty.  Don’t blame liberals for the death penalty.  Blame a white, conservative, Christian “prolife” movement that has, for large majorities, successfully turned support for the death penalty into a sick badge that one is a “true prolife Christian”.

The first step toward addressing a problem is admitting that you have one.  Support for the death penalty is the problem of white, Republican “prolife” Christians, not their lefty culture war enemies.

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