By, Jason Taylor
I get asked this question a lot, and it can be quite complicated to answer. To put it quite simply it means you’re Anti-Abortion, Anti-Death Penalty, Anti-Euthanasia and against assisted suicide. If you want to get down to brass tacks it would also include “pulling the plug”.
I’m Catholic, so I know my views differ on many of these areas as compared to those of my Protestant brothers and sisters in Christ. “Most” Catholics believe that God begins life, and God also ends life when the He sees fit. It’s not for man to decide. I’ve spent many hours in Prayer vigils outside the Walls Prison Unit (Death Row) in Huntsville, Texas. I’ve spent the past 25 years fighting for the unborn in front of Planned Parenthood, along with private abortion mills here in Texas, Louisiana and throughout the Country. When Defund Planned Parenthood was at its height (and still in the media) we held one of the largest protests here in Houston, Texas. One of, if not the largest Planned Parenthood is here in Houston. It’s also one of its main processing facilities.
For many years, the death penalty served as a score card for certain ambitious prosecutors. It was proof of how tough they were on crime, and how good they were at keeping the community safe. It’s something a prosecutor can impress voters with should the prosecutor want to run for District Attorney, judge, or another political office.
Recently, this trend has reversed, as there is more and more data calling into question the assumption that the death penalty deters violent crime, and people are starting to look at the economic and human costs of the death penalty. People are starting to shed the assumption that “eye for an eye” should be the guiding principle in criminal justice. Even some prosecutors are starting to question the value of the death penalty.
One of the most outspoken advocates against the death penalty is Sister Helen Prejean. You might have seen the movie Dead Man Walking, that was her played by actress Susan Sarandon. Sister Prejean also wrote the book that the movie was based on. There have been many misconceptions, and rumors spread about Sister Helen Prejean through the years… where did Sister Prejean stand on abortion and contraception was always two of them. She clarified this issue in 2006. You can read her entire statement on her website. Here is a direct quote from her website.
My stance on abortion is a matter of public record. I stand morally opposed to killing: war, executions, killing of the old and demented, the killing of children, unborn and born. As I have stated publicly many times, I stand squarely within the framework of “the seamless garment” ethic of life. I believe that all of life is sacred and must be protected, especially in the vulnerable stages at the beginning of life and its end.
One of the most beloved people to ever grace the Catholic Church and this planet was Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta. She was an Albanian Roman Catholic nun and missionary, but so much more, to so many people. Mother Teresa was also a strong outspoken advocate against the death penalty, as well as being a strong voice for the unborn.
Mother Teresa spoke at the fortieth anniversary of the United Nations General Assembly in October 1985. On Christmas Eve of that year, Mother Teresa opened “Gift of Love” in New York, her first house for AIDS patients. In the coming years, this home would be followed by others, in the United States and elsewhere, devoted specifically for those with AIDS. courtesy Catholic.org
Despite this widespread praise, Mother Teresa’s life and work have not gone without its controversies. In particular, she has drawn criticism for her vocal endorsement of some of the Catholic Church’s more controversial doctrines, such as opposition to contraception and abortion. “I feel the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion,” Mother Teresa said in her 1979 Nobel lecture.
I know this view on the death penalty doesn’t jive with many on the right, and the stance against abortion doesn’t go over with those on the left. I’m a center-right moderate, and what I’ve found is that Evangelicals agree with the Anti-Abortion part, not so much on the Anti-Death Penalty part. My friends on the left, well, just the opposite.
No matter, I will continue to fight for life across the board.