I missed this great op-ed piece by CNN’s Carol Costello that ran in May on the consistent ethic of life.
I find myself perpetually, uncomfortably, and instinctively part of the 8% of Americans who believe that both abortion and the death penalty are affronts to the God of Life and the call to reconciliation.
But there’s a vast ethical and moral difference between the “principalities and powers” of State-imposed execution and the pastoral universe of multivalent forces that may press down on a woman and her family. The ethic is engaged consistently: prophetically against the State, and pastorally with a human being.
Here’s Carol Costello:
Can you be pro-life and pro-death penalty?
It’s a question more than one person I know is asking after Oklahoma’s botched execution of Clayton Lockett. Not necessarily because of the way Oklahoma tortuously executed the convicted killer, but because of the hard-core way some reacted to Lockett’s execution.
Like Mike Christian. The pro-life Oklahoma state representative told The Associated Press, “I realize this may sound harsh, but as a father and former lawman, I really don’t care if it’s by lethal injection, by the electric chair, firing squad, hanging, the guillotine or being fed to the lions.”
He also threatened to impeach judges who dared delay executions for any reason.
This is from a man who is so strongly pro-life he voted for eight bills in four years to prevent women in Oklahoma from terminating their pregnancies, or, as many who oppose abortion say, “killing babies.”
Color me confused. So, Rep. Christian says it’s OK to kill, unless you’re a woman who wants to end her pregnancy?
As I told my friends during a heated debate last weekend, that smacks of hypocrisy.
The only nonhypocritical viewpoint, I argued, exists in the Catholic Church.
Catholics believe in the “Consistent Ethic of Life.” As Georgetown’s Father Thomas Reese puts it, “we are concerned about a person from womb to tomb.”
“Life is something that comes from God and shouldn’t be taken away by man,” Reese told me.
Put simply, the Catholic Church opposes abortion and the death penalty. Period. Except nothing in life is that simple. Especially our collective views on the death penalty and abortion.
If you ask a Southern Baptist, he or she will likely tell you the Catholic Church is wrong.
“There is no contradiction here,” R. Albert Mohler, president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, told me, referring to Rep. Christian’s underlying position. …..
Read the rest here.