The principles that rule this blog

Principles that will govern my thoughts as I express them here (from my opening statement):

  • Freedom of the individual should be as total as possible, limited only by the fact that nobody should be free to cause physical injury to another, or to deprive another person of his freedoms.
  • Government is necessary primarily to provide those services that private enterprise won't, or won't at a price that people can afford.
  • No person has a right to have his own beliefs on religious, moral, political, or other controversial issues imposed on others who do not share those beliefs.

I believe that Abraham Lincoln expressed it very well:

“The legitimate object of government is to do for a community of people whatever they need to have done, but cannot do, at all, or cannot
so well do, for themselves — in their separate, individual capacities.”

Comments will be invited, and I will attempt to reply to any comments that are offered in a serious and non-abusive manner. However, I will not tolerate abusive or profane language (my reasoning is that this is my blog, and so I can control it; I wouldn't interfere with your using such language on your own!)

If anyone finds an opinion that I express to be contrary to my principles, they are welcome to point this out. I hope that I can make a rational case for my comments. Because, in fact, one label I'll happily accept is rationalist.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Catholic Church, Trayvon Martin, abortion, and the death penalty

A few days ago I wrote a post about the Trayvon Martin case. I received a comment by a reader, disagreeing with me, including strong support for the right of self-defense. And among other things, it included the words:

As long as a thug could come at you in your home or whatever, and threaten your physical person, you have a right to self-defense. As long as that threat exists (and it exists big time in Britain, where gun crimes have increased since they've been yanked out of the hands of law-abiding citizens), you have a natural right to defend yourself with equal force.

One thing that amazes me is that the above comment comes from a priest of the Catholic Church. (And no, I'm not revealing anything that the poster has not already stated in earlier comments here. He has said as much.) Now the Catholic Church has said that it is sinful to kill a little bit of tissue growing in a woman's uterus because this bit of tissue has the potential to become a human being — despite the fact that carrying this fetus to term could seriously impact the woman's health, possibly even endanger her life. And the same Catholic Church has come out against the death penalty, denying the right of a state to kill someone who is not merely a threat to someone's life, but has actually killed someone.

Now I do not know whether the priest who posted the words quoted above represents the teaching of the Catholic Church, for presumably he posted it without asking his bishop, but I do know that as a priest, he is certainly expected to embrace his church's teachings, as I stated them, on abortion and the death penalty. And it seems to me that there's a bit of an inconsistency there. You can't abort a fetus — even if it endangers the life of a pregnant woman. You can't execute a convicted murderer. But it's just fine to shoot (and kill) someone you perceive as a threat to your person. Even if all he's carrying is a box of Skittles and a can of Arizona iced tea.

Explain this to me again.

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