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Can someone help me resolve this? (Bush's pro-life/pro-death-penalty positions, etc.)

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Can someone help me resolve this? (Bush's pro-life/pro-death-penalty positions, etc.)

Old 10-13-04, 01:41 PM
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Can someone help me resolve this?

I seem to remember George Bush saying that no life should be destroyed for the sake of another.

If he truly believes this, why is he OK with the death penalty, which really gives no benefit to anyone, except maybe peace of mind to the victims' families?

Also, how is it then justified to send American soldiers to die for the freedom of Iraqis?

PS. Please do not remind me that I'm taking this quote out of context. I take it out of context on purpose because I, personally, do not believe that the life of an American soldier has less intrinsic value than an embryonic stem cell.
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Old 10-13-04, 01:43 PM
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Clarifying thread title.

- David Stein
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Old 10-13-04, 01:48 PM
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Re: Can someone help me resolve this?

Originally posted by Neeperando
I seem to remember George Bush saying that no life should be destroyed for the sake of another.

If he truly believes this, why is he OK with the death penalty, which really gives no benefit to anyone, except maybe peace of mind to the victims' families?

Also, how is it then justified to send American soldiers to die for the freedom of Iraqis?

PS. Please do not remind me that I'm taking this quote out of context. I take it out of context on purpose because I, personally, do not believe that the life of an American soldier has less intrinsic value than an embryonic stem cell.
i'm not going to try and explain it all, suffice it to say you're grossly oversimplifying the situation. I also can't speak for GW Bush, and I'm at least mostly pro-choice.

However, I would guess that the death penalty is 'justified' in the sense that the offender commited some crime that would cause his life to be forfeit. I don't believe you could say a fetus has commited a crime.

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Old 10-13-04, 01:50 PM
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My guess is it's got something to do with free will.

Babies* have not consciously chosen to sacrifice their lives in the name of abortion or stem cell research. Because they have not made that choice, it is (according to Bush's view) fundamentally wrong to make that choice for them.

Soldiers, by contrast, having knowingly and willingly enlisted in the Armed Forces knowing that they may be called upon to lay down their lives in defense of this country. So there is no inconsistency there.

Similarly, criminals who have committed capital crimes have done so knowing that there is the possibility they will be sentenced to death for their actions. Once they made that choice, there is no moral inconsistency in sentencing them to death and carrying out that sentence.

* For purposes of this discussion, I accept the premise that there's no relevant difference between a newborn infant, a fetus being carried, or even a fertilized embryo.
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Old 10-13-04, 01:58 PM
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Re: Re: Can someone help me resolve this?

Originally posted by Birrman54
suffice it to say you're grossly oversimplifying the situation.
It's oversimplified, of course, but not by much.

It boils down to GW's binary view of the world: every person and everything is either good or evil. Babies are good; they need to be protected to the fullest. But they might grow up and do something evil, in which case their lives are forfeit and not worth protecting.

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Old 10-13-04, 01:58 PM
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If a baby in the womb ever commits a crime punishable by death, I fully condone it's fair, swift trial and upon conviction it's subsequent execution.
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Old 10-13-04, 02:01 PM
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Re: Re: Re: Can someone help me resolve this?

Originally posted by sfsdfd
It's oversimplified, of course, but not by much.

It boils down to GW's binary view of the world: every person and everything is either good or evil. Babies are good; they need to be protected to the fullest. But they might grow up and do something evil, in which case their lives are forfeit and not worth protecting.

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No, it is oversimplified to the greatest degree possible, and your trite explanation is neither helpful nor accurate.
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Old 10-13-04, 02:05 PM
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Originally posted by JasonF
My guess is it's got something to do with free will.

Babies* have not consciously chosen to sacrifice their lives in the name of abortion or stem cell research. Because they have not made that choice, it is (according to Bush's view) fundamentally wrong to make that choice for them.

Soldiers, by contrast, having knowingly and willingly enlisted in the Armed Forces knowing that they may be called upon to lay down their lives in defense of this country. So there is no inconsistency there.

Similarly, criminals who have committed capital crimes have done so knowing that there is the possibility they will be sentenced to death for their actions. Once they made that choice, there is no moral inconsistency in sentencing them to death and carrying out that sentence.

* For purposes of this discussion, I accept the premise that there's no relevant difference between a newborn infant, a fetus being carried, or even a fertilized embryo.


We can agree to disagree on whether this philosophy is good or bad, but you have done an excellent job if accurately summing up the president's (and my) beliefs (with the possible exception of a fertilized embryo outside the womb).
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Old 10-13-04, 02:08 PM
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Originally posted by JasonF
My guess is it's got something to do with free will.
Fair enough.

This post was not so much meant as a flame. I seriously would like clarification on the President's stance here.

As far as the death penalty goes, I don't understand how we are able to decide when someone has forfeited their right to life. From a religious standpoint, it seems to me that such a line is for only God to draw. The Constitution doesn't forbid laws that end life, but it does forbid laws that end life without "due process". That said, if we let the church worry about the Bible and let the state pass laws as it sees fit then you could argue that a criminal convicted of a crime for which death is neither cruel nor unusual can be executed. An embryo (again we have to assume this means alive) has committed no crime and would hence be deprived of "life, liberty and pursuit of happiness" without due process and hence is forbidden by the Constitution.

So here with your help I answer my own question.

I still have some issues with the idea of killing Iraqis for the greater good of the rest of the Iraqis. I know the argument is that over 300,000 died of evil under the 25-year reign of Saddam, but I don't think that killing militant Iraqis on purpose and innocent Iraqis accidentally is a whole lot better. I think that's a somewhat different issue, though.

That said, I am still pro-choice, against the death penalty, pro-stem cell research and against the war. But at least I see how other people approach this problem.

The more I learn the more I realize that you don't have to be insane to vote for Bush, and I apologize to all Republicans who I secretly thought that about.
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Old 10-13-04, 02:12 PM
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Re: Re: Re: Re: Can someone help me resolve this?

Originally posted by RoboDad
No, it is oversimplified to the greatest degree possible, and your trite explanation is neither helpful nor accurate.
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Old 10-13-04, 02:19 PM
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Originally posted by Neeperando
But at least I see how other people approach this problem.

The more I learn the more I realize that you don't have to be insane to vote for Bush, and I apologize to all Republicans who I secretly thought that about.
Very nice post. It's nice to see someone who can agree to disagree and not go crazy because someone has a different opinion.


Personally on those issues, for me it is a spirtual thing. I am for capital punishment, and though I disagree with abortion in most cases, I believe it should be legal.

CP - I feel we are souls temporarily in flesh. If the flesh is killed, it will be decided where we go next. SO in the case of a criminal innocent or guilty being killed, I believe if their life was good (they were innocent) they will have a faster entry to the greater life (what is commonly referred to as heaven). If they were evil bastards on the other hand, they will have to come back to this world and thereby having a much longer wait to get to the greater hereafter.

Abortion - while I don't like it, again I believe there is a course for souls. If a soul is to be on this earth, it will be one way or another. I think that if a child is aborted, that soul will be born unto another (and that person may even be better suited to raise that child). So while I'm not for it, I don't think it should be illegal.

I endorse the above message.
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Old 10-13-04, 02:21 PM
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Originally posted by saoirse
Very nice post. It's nice to see someone who can agree to disagree and not go crazy because someone has a different opinion.
Yeah, I'll second that. Good post, Neeperando.
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Old 10-13-04, 02:24 PM
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To recognize the moral parallels between these two scenarios, one has to acknowledge the notion that capital punishment embodies pro-life assertions, which I do (and I suspect W does as well).
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Old 10-13-04, 02:28 PM
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Originally posted by Geofferson
To recognize the moral parallels between these two scenarios, one has to acknowledge the notion that capital punishment embodies pro-life assertions, which I do (and I suspect W does as well).
Can you explain that. What is moral and pro-life about killing someone?
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Old 10-13-04, 02:28 PM
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Originally posted by JasonF
* For purposes of this discussion, I accept the premise that there's no relevant difference between a newborn infant, a fetus being carried, or even a fertilized embryo.
Since they can't be used for research that might or might not help people, what happens to the unused fertilized embryos at fertility clinics?
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Old 10-13-04, 02:36 PM
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Originally posted by Jim
Since they can't be used for research that might or might not help people, what happens to the unused fertilized embryos at fertility clinics?
They are either kept in storage indefinitely or they are destroyed, depending on the wishes of the parents. Parent can also donate the embryos to infertile couples or to science, but both of those options are the exception rather than the rule.

Edit: Your question assumed they can't be used for research. That's not true. They can be used for research -- just not federally funded research.

Last edited by JasonF; 10-13-04 at 02:42 PM.
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Old 10-13-04, 02:38 PM
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Before you go singing my praises too much, I should clarify that while I'm finding more respect for the conservative POINT OF VIEW, I still have little to no respect for President Bush and his administration.

Thanks for the kind words, though.
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Old 10-13-04, 02:39 PM
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Originally posted by dick_grayson
Can you explain that. What is moral and pro-life about killing someone?
I am in favor of capital punishment for 3 reasons:

1) It is the absence of the death penalty that leads to more innocent people being killed. When there is no death penalty, convicted murderers kill other prisoners and guards and if these murderers escape, they kill innocent civilians.

2) The existence of capital punishment is to prevent the greatest conceivable injustice: Allowing a person who deliberately takes an innocent person's life to keep his own.

3) Furthermore, it tells society that murder is evil in ways that no amount of imprisonment can ever convey. Every member of society perceives that killing murderers means society hates evil in a way that it clearly does not if it only imprisons them.

Last edited by Geofferson; 10-13-04 at 02:44 PM.
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Old 10-13-04, 02:39 PM
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Originally posted by Neeperando

The more I learn the more I realize that you don't have to be insane to vote for Bush, and I apologize to all Republicans who I secretly thought that about.
I feel warm inside

Last edited by kvrdave; 10-13-04 at 03:06 PM.
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Old 10-13-04, 02:41 PM
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Originally posted by Geofferson
I am in favor of capital punishment for 3 reasons:

1) It is the absence of the death penalty that leads to more innocent people being killed. When there is no death penalty, convicted murderers kill other prisoners and guards and if these murderers escape, they kill innocent civilians.

2) The existence of capital punishment is to prevent the greatest conceivable injustice: Allowing a person who deliberately takes an innocent person's life to keep his own.

3) Furthermore, it tells society that murder is evil in ways that no amount of imprisonment can ever convey. Every member of society perceives that killing murderers means society hates evil in a way that it clearly does not if it only imprisons them.
thanks for the post. those reasons make a lot of sense. I'm still not sure how I feel/where I stand, but......
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Old 10-13-04, 02:44 PM
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Originally posted by Geofferson
I am in favor of capital punishment for 3 reasons:

1) It is the absence of the death penalty that leads to more innocent people being killed. When there is no death penalty, convicted murderers kill other prisoners and guards and if these murderers escape, they kill innocent civilians.

2) The existence of capital punishment is to prevent the greatest conceivable injustice: Allowing a person who deliberately takes an innocent person's life to keep his own.

3) Furthermore, it tells society that murder is evil in ways that no amount of imprisonment can ever convey. Every member of society perceives that killing murderers means society hates evil in a way that it clearly does not if it only hands them a prison sentence.
The evidence is that capital punishment has absolutely no effect on deterence, so your point #1 is out. Points #2 and #3 are still valid, but whether they lead you to support capital punishment is a function of what messages you feel our society should be sending and how those messages should be sent.
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Old 10-13-04, 02:48 PM
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Originally posted by JasonF
The evidence is that capital punishment has absolutely no effect on deterence, so your point #1 is out.

I am mildly pro-CP, but I do not believe that general deterrence is a proper rationale for it either. CP is the proper form of retribution (eye for an eye) for 1st degree murder IMO.
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Old 10-13-04, 02:50 PM
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Originally posted by JasonF
The evidence is that capital punishment has absolutely no effect on deterence, so your point #1 is out.
Deterence is not the primary reason for CP (it is 1 of 3, for me).

Are you willing to have the blood of innocents on your hands every time a convicted murderer murders again?

Recently, a former Roman Catholic priest imprisoned for child molestation was murdered in prison by a convicted murderer. Whose blood is his hands on?

Personally, I would be much more willing to have the blood on my hands if an innocent man is wrongly executed than of my posed question above.
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Old 10-13-04, 02:51 PM
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I think capital punishment helps the victims' families find some closure on the situation.
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Old 10-13-04, 02:52 PM
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Originally posted by VinVega
I think capital punishment helps the victims' families find some closure on the situation.
I've heard that it doesn't provide the closure they thought they'd get. I think the pain/hatred.....all that, is still there. Or so I've heard.
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