Moral equivalence writ large

By Diogenes ( articles ) | Oct 29, 2004

Bishop Joseph Adamec, of Altoona-Johnstown, Pennsylvania, admonishes his people to realize that a presidential contest is not like a high-school debate. Then he continues with an argument that any capable high-school debater would demolish.

We are called to promote life, as a God-given right, at all its stages.... In that regard, we may not kill indiscriminately (such as in abortion or war) and we may not use another person’s life simply for the enhancement of our own (such as in stem cell research or political opportunity).

True, indiscriminate killing is always wrong. In warfare, a just military strategy avoids indiscriminate killing, by making sure that enemy combatants, not innocent civilians, are the targets. So warfare does not necessarily involve indiscriminate killing. To imply otherwise is to suggest that there's no moral difference between just and unjust wars.

Abortion is not indiscriminate killing, either. In an abortion, the "target" is carefully chosen: an unborn child. The moral problem is not that the killing is indiscriminate, but that it is intentional, and the victim is totally innocent.

And what on earth does he mean by that last sentence? Yes, it's wrong to "use" another person for one's own political advantage. But in politics-- unlike stem-cell research-- the person who is "used" generally doesn't die!

Anyway, thanks for the guidance, your excellency. And gee, I wonder who you'll be voting for?

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