It is a given that those engaged in war or facing capital punishment are most of the time not innocent. This cannot be said of the helpless child in his mother's womb. He is totally innocent and yet, all the deaths on the battlefield in American history do not add up to the total murdered so mercilessly in the womb; all death penalties in the annals of America do not add up to the number annihilated in the womb in one day!
"Inflicting extreme suffering on the most innocent with the most regularity under the most violent, calculating, and heartless conditions for the most superficial and selfish reasons, this evil will surely be one of the reasons for the downfall of this society and this age. Furthermore, the magnitude of this evil is only overshadowed by the gall of those who pretend that it does not exist or that it is in fact some noble good clothed in choice or freedom or respect for rights when it is in fact merely a choice for perdition, a chain of sin, and the ultimate disrespect for the greatest right of all which is life! "
We have all been to memorials such as the Iwo Jima or Vietnam Memorials in Washington, and it is both fitting and proper that we honor the brave men and women who gave up their lives for freedom and love of country. Additionally, we have all read and heard about the history of capital punishment, and there is no doubt that such punishment is the subject of much debate and controversy. It is clear that any condition which results in the loss of life is a tragedy in some form which should be avoided if at all possible. However, there is a situation which is an abomination on various levels. This situation involves the shameless, deceptive, and absurd attempt to either pile abortions along with war deaths and capital punishment, or to proclaim the supposed evils of the war and capital deaths while ignoring the much more heinous and vile evil of abortion deaths!
The more we examine death by war, capital punishment, and abortion, the less each of these has in common with the others. Such an examination reveals that war deaths may result from ethical or unethical situations, capital deaths are controversial and therefore at least debatable, and abortion deaths have no peer as an example of despicable, vile evil!
In the case of war death, the purpose, means, and end may be ethical or not. A war entered for defense of country or for freedom from tyranny for one's own country or some other nation is usually a just, moral, and ethical war. While a reactive war entered in response to an attack is certainly ethical, a preemptive war entered to prevent an expected threat is ethical if that threat is eminent and likely. Conversely, a war entered for the purpose of invasion, greed, or selfish motives is likely not a moral, ethical, and just war. Even if the purpose of entering a war is ethical, the means may or may not be ethical. Ethical means seek to limit casualties and avoid destruction as much as possible. Unethical means have little concern for the magnitude or necessity of such casualties. Many experts argue that many American troop casualties in the various wars have resulted from exposing those troops to greater harm all in the attempt to limit civilian casualties. Such an act attempting to reduce innocent death would be a commendable and obviously moral means of conducting a just war. Conversely, wiping out a whole town when much less bloodshed would have sufficed to achieve an objective or raping and looting a defeated foe are examples of unjust, immoral, unethical means to wartime victory. Finally, the end result of a war is ethical if just and noble goals are met. Such a result is unethical; however, if such goals are either ignored or made subordinate to selfish or vindictive goals. If a war results in freedom for people or the removal of a tyrant, one can safely say that ethics and morality have been met. If, however, war results in further tyranny, a loss of freedom, or revenge, such a result has nothing to do with morality, ethics, and justice. Many argue that the unjust resolution of World War I, for example, planted the seeds of resentment leading to World War II. We see, then, that war presents a series of debatable moral situations and issues.
Capital punishment is certainly a controversial topic. There is much debate whether the state has the right to take the life of any person, despite the suffering which that person may have caused. Apart from the morality of capital punishment in general, one may find ethical and unethical purposes, means, and ends in such punishment as well.
If the purpose of capital punishment is a form of societal self-defense or ultimate greater social safety and order, an argument for morality, ethics, and justice may at least be advanced in the face of varied research findings on the validity of these purposes.
Pope Pius XII and his predecessors affirmed that this is the true stance of Holy Mother Church when it serves as a deterrent from further harm and sin. Indeed, the Church in her wisdom shows that this is also the most merciful since the accused knows when he will die and has every opportunity more than anyone else to totally repent of his grievous sin, enabling him ot achieve Heaven no matter how evil he had been. It is a sign of God's infinite mercy.
Conversely, if the purpose is simply wanton revenge, selfish goals, or blood sport, then clearly that purpose is inherently immoral, unethical, and unjust. With regard to means, current practice in most civilized societies aims to avoid "cruel and unusual punishment" such as guillotines, hanging, firing squads, gas chambers, and electric chairs in favor of lethal injections. While extreme cruelty and blood sport were the norm in past societies, most modern societies with any concern for morality and human dignity seek to limit such cruelty, suffering and sport as much as possible, including limiting the actual cases of capital punishment themselves.
The means of capital punishment, then, may be more or less moral and ethical depending on the effort to limit suffering and cruelty or the desire to increase and/or exhibit such suffering and cruelty. Finally, and here research provides varied views, the end result of capital punishment is significant. If research shows that capital punishment is a viable means to the ultimate purpose of a safer, more secure society, then perhaps such an end is a worthy goal in the long run. If, however, research shows that capital punishment is not an effective means to ultimate societal safety and security, then the end result of capital punishment would be a false and invalid and thus unethical, immoral, and unjust. There are many who argue persuasively that unless capital punishment is shown to be a viable and valid means to ultimate societal good, there is no possibility for capital punishment to be moral, ethical, or just at all.
Often what is more gruesome and unethical is both the overly obsessed coverage media gives to it or the pleas from John Paul II to save that particular life, while the media and most Catholics forget little 'Joseph' or 'Mary' - still a fetus in the womb - but yet just as viable persons in God's eyes as those subjected to capital punishment.
That is why, unlike war and capital deaths, abortion deaths present no viable ethical, moral or justifiable debate. While cruel and barbaric societies have attempted to justify the murder of innocent children for despicable, heinous, and ghoulish reasons, such justifications have never taken hold in the minds of any civilized society. The majority of the reasons concocted by those seeking to justify abortion center on selfishness, exaggerated health concerns, so-called freedom of choice, or pathetic "greater good" swipes. None of these absurd notions carry any viable weight given common sense, historical and medical evidence, and simple humanity. According to former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop, 95 to 97% of all abortions are performed for convenience!!! The so-called situations of maternal health, rape, incest, infant suffering, and other attempts to justify abortions represent merely 5 to 3% of all cases! Even in those cases, abortion proponents are basically arguing that the greater good is served by murdering an innocent child!
If someone argued in favor of war or capital punishment merely on convenience, that person would be torn apart by the media. If someone argued in favor of all wars or all capital punishment on the grounds that 5 out of 100 wars were just or that 5 out of 100 felons were guilty, that person would be carried to an insane asylum!
Apples and Oranges
One cannot compare abortion deaths to capital deaths for a number of reasons.
First, whether or not one feels that capital punishment is moral or not and apart from those cases where innocent people are executed, one cannot argue that the executed felon has committed some act triggering his or her execution. In short, one cannot reasonably argue that a violent criminal is innocent, and therefore the termination of such a life is not the termination of an innocent life! The only argument is with the right of the state to end such a life, not with the issue of whether or not that life is innocent, which it clearly is not! Second, once one argues that the state does not have the right to end any life, then the obvious question arises why it would become acceptable for that same state to end the life of an unborn child? We will not waste our time here with those who still pathetically argue that the unborn is not alive despite the clear and convincing contradictory evidence of science and medicine. Once you accept that the unborn is living and capable of feeling, (as John Kerry himself admits that life begins at conception) there is no reasonable way to justify ending the life of that unborn child.
In the end, regardless of whether or not one feels that capital punishment is moral, there is no argument that an unborn child is innocent while a convicted felon is not. In other words, while the felon's life is ended due to some act of the felon, the unborn child's life is ended due to some reason beyond the child's choice or control
Every justification against capital punishment is that much greater against abortion. If one says that the state has no right to end a felon's life, it must be true that it has even less right to end an unborn child's life. If one says that there is no right to end the life of even the guilty, then there is much less right to end the life of the most innocent! If one argues against capital punishment as cruel and unusual punishment, then how can one with a straight face accept tearing apart, dismembering, decapitating, and sucking out the brains, poisoning, or burning unborn children? If one argues that capital punishment is simply a lazy way to erase a problem, then what is abortion if not that and far worse? So, you see, regardless of the morality, justification, or ethics of capital punishment, abortion is infinitely more immoral, less justified, and more unethical than capital punishment could ever be!
Neither can one compare abortion deaths to war deaths! First, we have seen that there are such things as moral, just, and ethical wars, while there is no such thing as an ethical, moral, or justifiable abortion other than perhaps one in which a mother's life is clearly on the line. Even in the latter case, many have argued that the life of the child takes precedence and many mothers have agreed! Second, once one is attacked by an invader or aggressor, some war deaths may be unavoidable. Again, the vast majority of abortions are very avoidable! Third, no matter how innocent a civilian war victim may be, an unborn child will be infinitely more innocent, and therefore the death of that child will be infinitely more evil, unjust, and destructive. Fourth, war casualties include dead, injured, and traumatized. Abortion casualties include only dead children and traumatized mothers. The innocent person caught victimized by war has a given chance of being killed or suffering greatly, but the innocent child victimized by abortion has a 100% of being killed and suffering greatly.
While there may be ways to conduct a more moral, ethical, or just war or strategies to develop a more moral, ethical, or just capital punishment and criminal justice system,
there is no way to make abortion "more moral, ethical, or just!" While there may be something we as a society can do to infuse morality, ethics, and justice into how we enter wars and punish criminals, abortion has no "better ground" to which we can aspire or work toward. It is a vile, heinous, despicable, evil act which can only spiral down toward greater barbaric depths and can never, ever rise to more human levels!
The Greatest Hypocrisy
Although we have shown the huge difference between war, capital, and abortion deaths and demonstrated why these three societal tragedies cannot be compared practically, ethically or morally, there is still a greater evil, a greater injustice, a greater hypocrisy very present in this lost society. The only thing more vile than lumping together abortion deaths with war and capital deaths is ignoring those abortion deaths while protesting those war and capital deaths!!!
To cry out against war and capital deaths while conveniently ignoring abortion deaths is the height of hypocrisy! According to The American Life League, 45,196,125 babies have been aborted since Roe v. Wade was passed. This would be more deaths than the military deaths of World War I, World War II, The Korean War, The Vietnam War, and the present Iraqi War combined! Also, it would be nearly as many deaths as caused by those 5 wars to both military and civilians!! Each year, 1.3 million innocent human beings are killed mostly for convenience! We speak in appropriate horror and shock about the 6 million lives lost during the Holocaust in World War II, yet we have had 6 Holocausts as a result of Roe v. Wade with much less outcry. Finally, we suffer the equivalent of a World Trade Center Attack every day in the slaughter mills of the abortion industry. The liberal legions of entertainment, media justifiably react to any disrespect against the dead of 9/11, yet they justify and even support the daily 9/11s inflicted upon the most innocent of human beings! People speak of the racial injustice of drafting minorities or filling the ranks of death row inmates, yet there is not a whimper about the fact that 20 to 40% of abortions are inflicted on minorities each year.
There have been various symbolic reading of names or ringing of bells to honor the dead of 9/11 and justifiably so, but if names were read or bells rung every 5 seconds for every unborn child murdered by abortion, the ceremony would take nearly 10 years to catch up to the number of babies murdered through this barbaric method and for these pathetic reasons!
If people were killing 1.3 million animals every year, or destroying 1.3 million trees every year, or if a war was killing 1.3 million soldiers every year, or if 1.3 million criminals were being executed every year, there would be such a public outrage and backlash that anyone responsible for the carnage or destruction would be imprisoned or exiled and labeled the most heinous of monsters, yet the murder of 1.3 million innocent unborn children is not even breakfast discussion over coffee at morning talk shows!
It is this injustice, unfairness, hypocrisy, and double-standard which is at the heart of this evil and feeds it allowing it to spread its despicable cruelty!
Finally, deaths due to war are often considered heroic and worthy of valor, remembrance. No such kudos ever for abortion. In addition, where are the Jews who constantly remind us of the holocaust of World War II, but remain absolutely silent about the Holocaust of the womb which is seven times as many. While we hear about the pro-abort 'Catholic' politicians, there are many pro-life Catholic politicians. Yet, a check of voting records shows hardly any pro-life Jewish politicians. Why? Good question that has yet to be answered.
There is no doubt that war and capital deaths are a tragedy which must be faced and avoided as much as possible; the latter far less traumatic than the first. There is also no doubt that much, if not most of war, and much, if not most or all of capital punishment, may very well be planted in immorality, injustice and unfairness. It is clear that any war or capital death carried out for immoral reasons renders much of what results to the ranks of immorality and injustice. What must be faced, however, is that these deaths pale in comparison to those deaths caused by the lowest crime ever created by humankind, abortion.
Inflicting extreme suffering on the most innocent with the most regularity under the most violent, calculating, and heartless conditions for the most superficial and selfish reasons, this evil will surely be one of the reasons for the downfall of this society and this age. Furthermore, the magnitude of this evil is only overshadowed by the gall of those who pretend that it does not exist or that it is in fact some noble good clothed in choice or freedom or respect for rights when it is in fact merely a choice for perdition, a chain of sin, and the ultimate disrespect for the greatest right of all which is life!
Finally, it is beyond belief that what passes as a civilized society is facing an election where this evil is in dispute, in debate, and on the table of discussion. We can only hope and pray that there is enough faith, courage, morality, and reason left to hold off the rampant arrogance, selfishness, cowardice, immorality, and insanity which has become the disfigured face of a society which gives little thought to disfiguring and destroying the face of innocence.
Editor's Note: Heaven is once again under attack by those who would seek to ignore and overthrow God's majesty and authority. Gabriel Garnica, educator and attorney, submits regular insights and commentaries to remind and help guide readers toward a deeper and more assertive faith. Touching on topics and issues ranging from personal faith, doctrine, education, scripture, the media, family life, morality, and values, Gabriel's notes are music to traditional ears but unpleasant tones to those who have bought into the misguided notions so prevalent and spreading in today's Catholic world.