I was gladdened to see numerous people in Georgia and beyond voice opposition to recent state executions. While many seemed to have been motivated by the uncertainty of guilt, others made it clear that they were against capital punishment period.
More people are coming to the conclusion that the finality of the death sentence is inappropriate and unnecessary in the 21st century. God gives life, so we should not take a life when alternatives exist to hold the convicted criminal in safe seclusion.
The dignity of human life is God's domain. He created human life in his own image and likeness. The child in the womb, the lowly immigrant and the convicted criminal on death row all share in the gift of life from God. A true advocate for the sacredness of human life is consistent and supports human life in all its forms.
I hope and pray that an increasing lobby against capital punishment will cause more people to rethink respect for human life in all its stages -- from the womb to the tomb. The evil of abortion is a national tragedy. It is estimated that over 52 million have been executed by abortion in the U.S. since 1973. The ongoing wholesale slaughter of truly innocent life is a sorry indictment of our society and a scary prediction of our moral future.
There are parallels between death by execution and death by intended abortion. In both, God-given life is terminated and can never be resuscitated, but there is little similarity in the level of brutality. The child in the womb is cut in pieces and then removed; the electric chair or lethal injection are much quicker and less painful.
Jesus calls us to be voices for the "voiceless," that is, the have-nots and marginalized of every kind. The innocent voiceless child in the womb must be on the top of his "endangered persons" list. His words in the gospel, "Allow the children come to me" (Mt 19:14), remind us of the Master's concern for the children of his time. We must speak out and contribute to safeguarding all endangered children in our time.
May God bless and equip his pro-life disciples so that we have the courage to give strong witness to the sanctity of all human life.
Father John Kieran is the pastor of St. Pius X Catholic Church in Conyers. He can be reached at 770-483-3660.