US Catholic Faith in Real Life

Death is no laughing matter

Liz Lefebvre | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare

If it weren’t bad enough that last week the audience at the Republican presidential candidate debate cheered at the mention of the 234 executions Rick Perry has presided over as governor of Texas, it might have gotten worse last night.

In last night’s debate, moderator Wolf Blitzer posed a hypothetical situation to candidate Ron Paul involving a healthy 30-year-old man who, though he could have afforded it, opted not to buy health insurance. Blitzer asked Paul what should happen if this man then falls seriously ill, requiring intense care for 6 months. After Paul’s initial answer, Blitzer pushed the point, asking, “But Congressman, are you saying society should just let him die?” The question was met with several emphatic affirmative responses from the audience.

For Catholics who claim to be against the “culture of death” in our country, this sort of cheering should be especially repugnant, as it reinforces a belief that the loss of life is less important than a political or economic decision. You can debate the ethics, politics, advantages, and disadvantages of capital punishment and health care reform ad nauseum. But hearing people cheer and applaud the deaths of other people (real or hypothetical) actually makes me feel sick.

I’d like to think that Jesus—the man who forgave sins, healed the sick, and preached a message of love and compassion toward all people—would feel the same way.