A month or so ago, I had the pleasure of spending the weekend with my childhood best friend, her wonderful husband, and their beautiful baby girl. Once our four collective kiddos were all tucked in for the night, we settled down in the living room for some music, chatting, and laughter. It was delightful... so delightful, in fact, that it was nearly 2 AM before we all stumbled up to our own beds!
One thing I really like about my friend's hubby- I'll call him Joe- is that he's not afraid to debate and discuss. He and I have strikingly different viewpoints- I'm traditional and conservative, he's liberal and permissive (<-- I don't mean that word in a negative way-- he just has a very open view that allows for a whole lot of things that are not really okay to my way of thinking). We both feel strongly about our beliefs and we each have great respect for the other.
Joe and I are not afraid to dig into some nitty gritty topics.
Because of this, our conversation covered all manner of things regarding religion and politics and, particularly, the subjects of the death penalty and abortion.
I was shocked to learn that, while vehemently opposed to the death penalty, Joe is in favor of abortion. And he is definitely not alone in that.
His argument against the death penalty, you see, was this- if there is even a shadow of a doubt that the convicted might be innocent, it would be a travesty to put such a person to death.
To be honest, I'm a little shaky about my feelings regarding the death penalty. In some ways, I feel there really are crimes that are, deservedly, punishable by death. It's not even so much that I'm afraid we might find an innocent man guilty... I'm just not sure that we flawed humans are really capable of being judge and jury. I don't believe that we can ever have the "full picture" and I'm not convinced it is our right or responsibility to determine when someone's life should be over. In short, I don't think it's our place to decide.
But I know my feelings about abortion. I know why I am pro-life, no matter what. My feelings aren't shaky at all on that one.
And this is what confuses me...
If Joe's reasoning for not killing one single man on death row is that there could be one small chance, however improbable or unlikely, of innocence...
Why is it ok to kill unborn babies who are, arguably, the most innocent among us?
Why do we shrug our shoulders at the idea of a "fetus" being condemned to death for no greater crime than being unwanted? Why would we worry more about harming someone we truly believe to be a violent, twisted individual than a child we know to be pure and blameless? How is this possibly ok???
They are real questions. Questions I would love to have answered in a clear fashion that might make even a lick of sense to me.
Joe couldn't answer them. In the end, it came down to the fact that he valued the woman's right to choose above the child's right to life...
But he was such a defender of the convict's life.
I don't get it.
If we are to be advocates for the sanctity of life... shouldn't this, at the very least, include the most innocent among us?
It's just something I'm thinking about.