I'm not a fan of Catholicism because of its heavy liturgy and lack of biblical support for such. I don't see the word "Pope" in the Bible, haven't seen an example in the Bible where dead people can hear prayers (Catholics pray to Mary), and don't believe that Mary was without sin (the word "immaculate" in immaculate conception isn't a reference to Jesus but rather Mary--the Catholic church believes Mary had to be without sin in order to give birth to the Son of God).
I don't necessarily agree with the Catholic church, though I freely admit I may very well be dead wrong. I admire Catholics in their consistency of message regarding the value of life. The basic tenet of their message is that they support life by opposing state-sponsored or state-sanctioned activities that terminate life. This means that they oppose abortion. Notice the period at the end of that sentence. There's no asterisk exempting certain circumstances such as rape, incest, or life of the mother. The Catholic church also opposes the death penalty.
Probably because of my vengeful nature, I was a proponent of the death penalty until several years ago when I realized it's actually more expensive to execute a prisoner than to keep them incarcerated for life. It doesn't sound logical, but the additional legal expenses borne by the state for death penalty cases actually outweigh the cost of keeping someone incarcerated (and all of the expenses associated with that) for life. This fact alone didn't make me an opponent of the death penalty, but it did get me thinking about the Biblical justification cited by Christians for supporting the death penalty. The most frequently cited passage is from the Israelites' penal code in Exodus 21:23-25 which states,
But if there is serious injury, you are to take life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise.The problem with using this verse if you're a New Testament Christian is that Jesus had a few things to say about this verse in Matthew 5:38-42:
"You have heard that it was said, 'Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.' But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.Oh yeah, there's also that verse in Romans 12:19 where Paul writes,
Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, "VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY," says the Lord. [New American Standard Bible translation]So I started to have my own personal doubts about where I stood on the death penalty. And then a couple of years ago I saw the movie The Life of David Gale. This movie alone wouldn't have made me a death penalty opponent, but it, coupled with the financial reality that life in prison is cheaper than execution and the lack of biblical support for execution pushed me over the edge. So I agree with the Catholic church on this subject.
I won't get into my beliefs on the subject of abortion, but I will say that I respect the Catholic church's stance regarding this subject, especially compared to that of many in the Protestant camp who oppose abortion and yet believe that there can be man-made exceptions where abortion is okay such as rape, incest, and life of the mother. Most of the verses I've read which are quoted by Protestant anti-abortion advocates are in the Israelite penal code found in the Old Testament of the Bible, under which New Testament Christians are not bound. And in none of those verses did I find an asterisk exempting these three exceptions.
You'll notice in the previous paragraph I used the term Protestant "anti-abortion advocates" rather than "pro-life advocates" because of the reason for my blog today.
The Catholic church is absolute in its unabashed support for life whereas many Protestants carry the convoluted and seemingly hypocritical stance of being FOR the life of an unborn child while being AGAINST the life of an unborn child if the mother is raped, AGAINST the life of an unborn child if the mother has been impregnated by a family member, AGAINST the life of an unborn child if the life of the mother is in peril, and AGAINST the life of a convicted felon who has been sentenced to death. Maybe it's me, but that doesn't sound "pro-life".