Bush panders to Catholic right-to-lifers
Pope Benedict XVI is in the U.S. for a whirlwind six-day tour, including a reception at the White House, and meetings with U.S. bishops and United Nations officals.
In an preparatory interview with EWTN Catholic Global Network April 11, President George W. Bush tried to align himself with the right-to-life movement. He left out one tiny detail, though. For many people who believe that life is sacred, the death penalty is a pretty big no-no.
When Bush was Governor of Texas from January 17, 1995, to December 21, 2000, 152 people were executed by the state, according to the New York Review of Books. These are executions that Bush could have stayed.
In the transcript of the April 11 interview, Bush suggests that life is sacred for everyone, but didn’t mention those who have committed a crime:
“I think it’s important for people to understand that a culture of life is in our national interests and that—it’s also important to understand that the politics of abortion isn’t going to change until people’s hearts change, and fully understand the meaning of life and what it means for a society to value life in all forms—whether it be the life of the unborn, or the life of the elderly; whether it be the life of the less fortunate among us, or the life of the rich guy. I mean, it’s a moral touchstone, I think, that will speak to a healthy society in the long run.”
In March 2005, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops kicked off the Catholic Campaign to End the Use of the Death Penalty, the latest incarnation of a campaign bishops have been fighting since 1980. In 1997, when Bush was governor, the Catholic Bishops of Texas issued a statement on the subject:
“Capital punishment, along with abortion and euthanasia, is inconsistent with the belief of millions of Texans that all life is sacred. It is important that we address this issue at this time.
“We believe that capital punishment contributes to a climate of violence in our state.”