Something I don't understand about the "religous right"

OK, before I star, I will state that I know that the statements I make in no way apply to everyone who is considered to be conservative, “religous right”, etc…but it is something I have noticed in a large number of them.

So, being that a lot of republicans and republican supporters are firmly Christian, they seem to hold certain values very close, one of the big ones being abortion. They tend to be pro-life, saying that the very instant a sperm mates with an egg, it is imbued by God with a soul and is a person. (Myabe that’s not exactly how they all feel, but I;m just trying to make a point here.) So, being that it is a person, to take it’s life (aka get an abortion) is evil, wrong, and murder. While I don’t myself subscribe to this theory, I do see where they are coming from. One thing I don’t understand, though, is the stance a lot of them have on the death penalty. On the average, conservatives are for the death penalty. :confused:

How can they be against the “murder” of a person that is not yet even fully a person, yet be all hip hip hooray for murdering someone who IS, cleary, a person, and has been for several years? I am dumbfounded.

Again, I know that not all conservatives, republicans, or “religous right” are pro-life and pro-death penalty, but some are, and those two views are in direct opposition to each other. If someone who IS both pro-life and pro-death penalty can explain this to me, I would appreciate it.

(Oh, anf FTR, I’m pro-choice and anti-death penalty. Now, before you go saking me how I am for one type of murder and against another, just like the ones I berate, keep in mind since i am pro-choice I do NOT see an embryo or fetus as a person, and therefore do not see it as murder.)

Among Catholics (like myself) the more strongly pro-life a person is, the more likely that person will also oppose the death penalty. Sociologist James R. Kelly and statistician Christopher Kudlac report on the phenomenon, and its complement, in the journal America:

I imagine they would justify it by saying that the fetus is an innocent, whereas someone who has already been born and grown for a number of years no longer is. *Kinda makes you wonder if they’d be willing to send kids to the gas chamber, doesn’t it?

If they take the concept of “an eye for an eye” literally, then that would be their rationale for the death penalty.

I’m sure others here can offer more, but those are my first impressions.

Part of the problem is semantics. The Bible isn’t opposed to killing, just murder. The Hebrew word used in the “Thou shalt not kill” commandment is ratsach, which means “murder of a human”. This is also one of the only places that ratsach is used.

In nearly every other verse, the Hebrew is muwth, which means “to put to death” or “worthy of death”

Make that: In nearly every other verse dealing with killing :smack:

I should add that for most who support pro-death penalty, the rationale is that it is necessary for to prevent a greater evil — that the person will murder again. They also believe that the death penalty serves as a deterrent against others who would otherwise commit murder.

I don’t agree with that, and no reliable correlation has been shown between the death penalty and deterrence. But that is their belief: it prevents a greater evil.

I think both Walloon and vivalostwages hit the nails on the head. First you have to realize the the “conservatives” really represent a coalition of various groups who come together in support or opposition of certain candidates, but who may have quite different beliefs. Some conservatives may in fact support the death penalty. Some may be opposed to abortion. They are not necessarily the same people. Consider the the “liberals” consist partly of environmentalists and unionists. These groups often clash over specific issues, but nevertheless come together to support specific candidates or causes.

Additionally, if some conservatives believe that abortion is wrong but that capital punishment is not, then they make some sort of moral distinction between an unborn person and one who has committed a henious crime. To be specific, they do not support capitol punisment simply because its “victims” are old. They support it because its “victims” have earned it. It is difficult to justify the position that a fetus has earned a death sentence. It is not difficult to justify the position that a mass murderer has.

Having said that, I think Walloon’s post is closest to answering your question. Anyone who believes that full and legally protected life should or does start at conception will tend to be similarly adament about opposing the death penalty. I think someone who is persuaded that fetuses too innocent to kill but murderers are not will likely be more inclined to allow that abortion is acceptable in some cases.

Just to throw a wrench into your question, I will confess to being the opposite of your OP. I am opposed to the death penalty. However, I support a woman’s right to chose abortion at the minimum through the first trimester.

George Carlin once suggested, “Conservatives want live babies so they can raise them to be dead soliders.”

I’m personally unsure about my own stance on the death penalty, but in discussing it with my father, who’s a staunch Christian Repulican, he says that a person who has killed someone else has violated their right to life. An unborn person has done no such thing, and therefore can not be killed for “conveinience” (his word, not mine).

While his views do not necessarily match anyone else’s exactly, he’s probably pretty close, albeit a bit extreme.

The key is protecting innocent life. For those you describe they support the death penalty for those who take an innocent life. IOW, it isn’t the life of the murderer that they value but his victims, past and possibly future. That’s why the extremely radical ones favor the death penalty for abortion doctors.

I’ve always been pro-choice (to me the two lives, souls, whatever, are simply inexorably joined and subject to a different set of values) but I’m also in favor of the death penalty in many cases. I think its just incredibly simplistic to see the two as conflicting with one another.

I am anti-abortion, pro-choice and anti-death penalty.

Once the state mistakenly takes the life of an innocent person, then we are innocent no more ourselves. Further, when we end the life of a person, we have passed judgment on the potential for good things to come from that person or through that person.

I would not want the state taking an action for me that I could not bring myself to do on my own – such as making a lethal injection or bombing civilians. And I wouldn’t want anyone put to death for my murder or the murder of anyone in my family.

One thing I don’t understand about the abortion debate is when religious people say the unborn child is innocent. The child is not innocent it has original sin therefor a sinner like everyone else.

Capitol punishment = Flogging senators and congressmen? Come to think of it, they do have congressional “whips.”

Life without parole basically does the same thing... whilst the death penalty isn't that effective a deterrent... and its way more expensive and unfair.

A few months ago there was a cartoon that summarized it well... it was a donkey and an elephant pointing fingers at each other. Behind the Donkey/Liberal was a dead baby and abortion written. Behind the elephant/conservative was death penalty corpse. Both were shouting "murderer" !

Countries that still have death penalty are usually like Saudi Arabia and various muslim or dictatorships. Countries that have legal abortion are usually progressive europeans where women are given much more valued. All others have illegal abortions anyway. Which one would you rather "belong" too ?

The child is innocent in the sense that he/she has not yet committed a sin.
Although everyone is conceived and born in sin (Romans 5:12), i.e., with a “sin nature,” “sinning” is still a choice.

Since Vatican II, the Catholic Church has said that unborn are innocent, and that Baptism doesn’t wash away original sin, and that unbaptized babies don’t go to purgatory.

Most fundamentalists believe our laws are ultimately based on Old Testament law, or Mosaic law. Exodus 21:22 says this about unborn children:

**“If men strive, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart from her, and yet no mischief follow: he shall be surely punished, according as the woman’s husband will lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges determine.”(**KJV)

This says two things: A. the woman has a “child” (human) in her womb, not a blob of flesh; and B. Anyone who, through “mischief,” causes the woman to miscarry the child, must pay restitution.

Other verses of Scripture that support the idea of a “child” being in the womb would be Ps. 139:13-16; Luke 1:15,41.

Fundamentalists would also invoke the law concerning the shedding of “innocent blood” (Deut 19:10), contending that an unborn child, of all humans, would certainly qualify for this designation.
“That innocent blood be not shed in thy land, which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance, and so blood be upon thee.”**(KJV)

Concerning the issue of the death penalty in capital murder cases, a fundamentalist would stand on the principle established in Genesis 9:6:
“Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.” ** (KJV)

Can’t help the OP. I’m pro-life, for the reasons suggested in the OP, and against the death penalty.


Context. It’s one thing to kill another person during the course of a robbery but it’s quite another to kill someone convicted of murder. If I viewed the fetus as a person I’d be against abortion and at the same time I could still support putting murderers to death. Nothing to be dumbfounded at I think.


Okay, consider this story from the Bible.

King David fell in love with Bathsheba, the wife of a soldier named Uriah. She got pregnant. He tried to give Uriah some military leave so he could go home and have sex with her so David would not be implicated in her pregnancy.

Uriah, that hapless patriot, refused to go home. So King David arranged so that Uriah would be in the front lines, where he would very likely be killed in enemy fighting. Uriah died.

Nathan, a prophet, accused King David of murder.

Yet it’s quite unlikely that fewer people would’ve died were Uriah not substituted in the front lines. So why was King David accused of murder–something he would not have been accused of if he had not put Uriah in the front lines?

Assuming no contradiction is involved here, the only conclusion you can make is that YOUR understanding of “Thou shalt not kill” is incorrect.