Recently, many of our community went to San Francisco and other places in public action to support the "sanctity of life" issue. The irony is that these same people support war and the death penalty!
The question is; Why?
What makes the life in the womb more valuable than the lives being bombed by planes and drones, or the lives being executed in prisons all over our nation?
The myths and facts of the death penalty must be considered.
The myths say it deters crime; is the only way to protect our families and communities; save taxpayers money; is the only way to ease the suffering of victims' families; that killing innocent inmates are extremely rare; and religious teaching supports it.
Statistical facts show that 16 states have abolished capital punishment because it does not deter crime; that life without parole have proved the best way to protect society; it costs $1.1 million more than non-capital trials, paid by the counties; only one in 100 murders receive the death penalty, and families who pursue forgiveness and reconciliation pull their lives together.
To date, more than 130 inmates were released because of wrongful convictions, and, last but not least, the majority of religious denominations in the United States oppose capital punishment.
Our state is drowning in a financial crisis: slashing funds from schools, health care and social services, while spending $217 million a year for death row cases on special trials and appeals.
We have 712 people on death row with 20 of them in Chowchilla Women's prison. Within the first 5 years, California would save more than $1 billion if we abolished the death penalty. Putting death-row inmates into the general population would allow them to work.
Their wages would go toward victim restitution and to law enforcement for work on the numerous unsolved rape and murder cases.
Killing a woman on death row is no better than stoning a woman in the Middle East or under Sharia law. Both are cruel and unusual punishment, so where is your outrage?
Abolishing the death penalty requires a conversion of heart, a "forgiveness from the heart" as Jesus Christ puts it. A. Sertillanges says, "... Conversion means a willingness to see the truth of things and conform one's conduct to it." If we are willing to see the truth of the facts above, then our conduct will end this evil.
Joan Chittistor, OSB says it best: "To withhold forgiveness is the adoration of the past, when it is the present that demands the best of us."
And again, "Forgiveness does not ignore responsibility; actions have consequences. But forgiveness does not tolerate vengeance. To jail criminals for life in order to protect the public is one thing; to become killers in order to punish them is vengeance. Where does that fit in a divine scheme that says, 'Vengeance is mine. I will repay,' says God."
For me, if God has already forgiven them, who am I to withhold my forgiveness?
(source: Letter to the Editor, Visalia Times Delta)