Saturday, March 26, 2011

Agreeing to abolish capital punishment

Today's New York Times (soon to disappear behind a paywall) has a good article by Samuel G. Freedman "Faith Was On the Governor's Shoulder." Gov. Pat Quinn of Illinois, hitherto a supporter of capital punishment with reservations, was contemplating whether he would veto or sign a bill abolishing the death penalty. On the morning of March 9th, he

opened his Bible to a passage in II Corinthians about human imperfection. He prayed. And when he signed the bill striking down the death penalty, he cited one influence by name: Cardinal Joseph Bernardin of Chicago. 

An avid reader of Cardinal Bernadin's book The Gift of Peace, Pat Quinn met the author when he held the office of state treasurer. He was and is a deep admirer of the argument for a consistent ethic of life from cradle to grave. After he signed an end to the death penalty in the State of Illinois, public opinion has apparently been overwhelmingly supportive. Now perhaps Gov. Quinn will move on to other issues in "a seamless ethic of life:" child care and quality of educational opportunities in the state. 

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