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Letters & Op-Eds - 2000

roll call

Bush's 'Culture of Life' Double Talk

Frances Kissling

6 November 2000

Morton Kondracke, in "Counting Catholics, Parties Appeal to Two 'Gospels'" (Oct. 30), said Bush Catholic adviser Deal Hudson is "pleased" with Texas Gov. George W. Bush's (R) emphasis on compassionate conservatism as well as with Bush's promise to restore a "culture of life" in America. "Culture of life" is papal talk for opposition to abortion, capital punishment and war, as well as support for social and economic policies that help the poor.

For Hudson to try to sell "Mr. Death Penalty" to Catholics as the champion of life is bizarre. In the case of abortion, there is absolutely no unanimity in science, medicine, law or even Catholic theology on when a fetus becomes a person. Catholics and others can and do legitimately disagree on whether or not abortion constitutes the taking of a person's life. In the case of those condemned to the death penalty, there is no question at all that they are people.

For a Catholic leader who claims to follow church teaching to wax rhapsodic about Bush in the face of his record on the death penalty is just too much. Hudson and his friends on the Republican National Committee's Catholic Task Force should be spending their time educating Bush about restoring a culture of life in America that protects even heinous criminals from the death penalty.

In their public praise of Bush, they should, at a minimum, acknowledge that Bush follows, at best, his father's "have-half" philosophy. Thus, Bush supports, on the one hand, killing people by supporting the death penalty, and, on the other, saving the lives of fetuses by banning abortions.

Frances Kissling
President
Catholics for a Free Choice

This letter appeared in the 6 November 2000 edition of Roll Call.