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What Do You Think of the March for Life Poster?

Check out this poster and let me know what you think. I'm still kinda' going through my thoughts on this.


Jill Stanek seems pretty outraged by it.
I spotted the above graphic on the Holy Angels Youth Group website (out of Chagrin Falls, Ohio).

Although the graphic was certainly well-intended, it bothered me.

The annual March for Life is scheduled on or near January 22, the anniversary of the infamous U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion throughout all of America in 1973.

Although the M4L website states it is “the collective effort of grassroots prolife Americans to assure that our state and federal laws shall protect the right to life of each human in existence at fertilization,” I think clearly the March is by-and-large a huge demonstration taking a stand against abortion.

Particularly for the above graphic to state the March is to make a statement “against the death penalty,” and to even list it first – before abortion – offends me.
On the one hand, not putting abortion first does bother me. But I'm also for a consistent ethic of life. I've got to think about this one a bit. The thing is, to put it bluntly, it feels a little hippie to me. I know that sounds crazy but it just feels a little like what a pro-life poster the Nuns on the Bus would put up (if they were actually pro-life.)

The thing is, I know there's a good number of people who are not opposed to the death penalty who are anti-abortion. And while I don't agree with the death penalty I do believe they're coming to their stance from an honest perspective that I respect.

I think the poster is attempting to get a different crowd to the March for Life. And that's good. But if it dilutes the message at all it's certainly problematic.

I'm interested to know what you think. I haven't made up my mind yet.

*subhead*Death penalty.*subhead*

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43 comments:

Sherry Antonetti said...

I Think it is a well intentioned attempt to articulate a reality against a charge often leveled at pro-life groups. (an incorrect charge but a charge none the less), that all we are concerned about, is abortion. There isn't a march for life against the Death Penalty, yet we say we are pro-life. There isn't a march against human trafficing that takes place every year, yet we are pro-life, so even if it is a bit PC --or as PC as pro-life gets in adding these other tentacles of the culture of death that we are against, it is correct. I do not think outrage is the right response. We are pro-life. We are against the Death Penalty just as surely as we are against abortion. Both are legal, one just is done on a more massive scale, but both are sanctioned by the state, even championed by our tax dollars. Both should be opposed, it doesn't matter which one comes first, the lives of each person affected, don't care if they are given lethal injections before or after birth. The souls of those that do it, regardless of the timeline, are the ones in jeopardy.

peco said...

I am opposed to the death penalty for a number of reasons. HOWEVER, I think that the sign is an attempt to push the "seamless garment" argument and it diminishes the the overriding importance of the central issue of abortion. I don't think the death penalty should even be mentioned in the same argument as abortion.

Gail Finke said...

It dilutes the message, at best. At worst it could be an attempt to change the message. The March for Life is and always has been about abortion. This is not a good poster.

sparrow said...

It's about keeping the main thing the main thing. The death penalty is nowhere near on the same level as abortions. Catholics may disagree in good faith on the death penalty , but not abortion. It's a distraction and weakens the main message.

Christina said...

If they had done it in order: abortion, human trafficing, death penalty, euthanasia, it would be better. Howver it would still isolate those who think the death penalty is justified...I myself only moved away from that stand this past year because I realized that those cases where it would be justified (well connected criminals who can still commit crimes behind bars) would not occur and instead the poor or ignorant were being killed.

melody said...

I think it goes wrong in that it does distract from the central message of abortion. That's what the march is about. Additionally, not all pro-lifers are 100% opposed to the death penalty. Heck, the Catholic Church isn't even technically 100% against the death penalty. To put it up top on the list is strange and potentially divisive. We march in January against Roe v. Wade and abortion and the legalized killing of innocent human life in the womb. Regardless of the intention, I don't think this will bring any additional people to the fight, it's just going to cause distraction and division.

A Virtuous Wife said...

At first it didn't bother me that these issues were all lumped together because every single one needs to be abolished and deserve the kind of prayer and soap box that the March can bring. I also felt like the poster quickly diffuses the anti-life argument about how we pro-lifers only care about a fetus and not any of the other anti-life issues in the world. Then, a toddler-like feeling came over me..."get your own March!!" I agree that it was very well intended but, nonetheless, takes the focus off of abortion, which I'm confident destroys more lives then all the rest of the "death penalties" combined. Please don't think I'm being insensitive to a horrific crime against humanity but why would human trafficking be on that list? It undoubtedly deserves its own march with just as many supporters but in the general sense, it does not destroy the physical life of the person...surely the emotional, mental, and spiritual life though (which are arguably more important). IF (and that's a big if) major media finally picks up the march and reports it, the world will not see thousands of people coming together for one issue but for many, and that dilutes the message. Here's another thing that's bothering me: I've worked very hard to include our Protestant bros in the abortion fight and make it as ecumenical as possible. In many circles, the majority of pro-lifers are Catholic, and as a former "non-denom" now convert-Catholic, that always bothered me. I've knocked on pastors' doors, called pastors, invited Protestant friends to events, made the arguments and through the grace of God, brought more soldiers to the fight. This "lumping together" of the issues alienates MANY of our Protestant friends who strongly believe in capital punishment. What do we say to the well intended pro-life Baptist who already bought her plane ticket for the March who now realizes that she is ALSO marching for the end of capital punishment when she strongly believes in it? Yes, we shouldn't water down the truth and our ethics in order to gain a few more friends but this isn't what they signed up for! Bait and switch. We should continue to preach the truth and encourage our friends to see that capital punishment is still playing God, even if it is for the guilty but to do it this way is somewhat underhanded. To work so hard to be of one accord on the issue of abortion only to divide us on other issues when the subject of tax-payer funded abortion has never been more important, is beyond frustrating. I'll be in Washington DC from Jan 6-12th and I feel the need to make a stop at the March's headquarters to voice my concerns. I would have been happy to help prep and hand out fliers but not now. Frustrating. Sorry for the rant...but not really.

Rick said...

Death penalty is not immoral. Abortion is.

Right to life is being hijacked by Liberal scumbags. Issues are being confused.

sparrow said...

Christina,

I find myself conflicted/drifting on the death penalty. I think the way it is currently applied is wrong for the some of the reasons you state. However I think a case can be made for it's rare use for those that are exceptionally dangerous to others (guards and other prisoners) while in prison. It's a high bar to cross (death penalty as self defense) but rarely it might be properly applied, so I do not rule it out entirely.

Pattymelt said...

No way should Death Penalty be the first on the list. It should be listed last if at all. Also, Human Trafficking? I'm totally against it, but it feels like this is coming out of left-field. pun intended as I think it is a not-so-clever way to try to divide and conquer a rising pro-life sentiment, especially among the young.

Andrea said...

Death penalty shouldn't even be on there. The death penalty can be moral in the name of justice. Abortion is never moral.

Jeffrey said...

We don't have to tackle every social and moral issue with every event. It's OK to march just to end abortion on the anniversary of Roe vs. Wade. Focusing on abortion for the March for Life does not mean that we don't care about other issues.

Brian Kopp said...

Abortion and euthanasia are intrinsically evil.

The death penalty is not now, has not ever been, and cannot ever be, intrinsically evil.

Insisting on placing the death penalty on the same level as abortion and euthanasia is a deliberate falsehood that must be opposed.

If that which was once universally taught to be morally acceptable (the death penalty) can suddenly be taught to be "evil" on the same plane as intrinsic evils such as abortion and euthanasia because of some strange development of doctrine, then in the minds of the faithful, why can't that which was once evil, like contraception or homosexuality, become morally acceptable?

This poster and the sentiment it expresses (deliberately on the part of some?) confuses the faithful by confusing intrinsic evils with prudential judgments.

In my state, Pennsylvania, there have been THREE individuals put to death in 40 years. In the time it took to write this post, multuple babies have died. Where is our sense of proportion and propriety?

Margaret said...

Abortion belongs at the top of the list. Otherwise, I'm fine with it. I like the design overall.

laura said...

Really bothers me. My extended family has sent about 40 + people to the march every year for the last 20 years, rain or snow or whathaveyou. And none of us oppose the death penalty. This is causing a problem where there didn't need to be one.

I forgive them, and we'll all go anyway, but they'd better not do it again. The Church has never taught the death penalty is intrinsically evil, as we all know.

Sand Mama said...

I like this poster. I think one of the best ways that anti-abortion people can win hearts and minds is by connecting the dots. The other life issues are more than tangentially related to our acceptance/ tolerance of abortion. If we can get people to understand this, we can draw many more to the pro-life cause.
Both Blessed John Paul II and Benedict(as recently as November) called for the end of the death penalty as a legal sanction. While American Catholics continue to support it, it's a cafeteria issue, the Catholic Church is against it.

Paul Zummo said...

While American Catholics continue to support it, it's a cafeteria issue, the Catholic Church is against it.

This is simply false. I am an opponent of the death penalty personally, but there is no official anti-death penalty stance against the Church. Pope have spoken their personal opinions on the matter and have offered sound theological advice, but to say the Catholic Church is against the death penalty is not accurate in any way.

Siobhan said...

I kind of like it, although the order should be Abortion, Euthanasia, Death Penalty, Human Trafficking. Having said that, I also believe it dilutes the issue and may do more harm than good, just judging from the reponses here so far. It is good to get a quarter million people together who all agree. On the other hand, if this gets the March some press, than it is worth the discord, because a March that nobody knows about except the participants is not very effective.

Debbie said...

They forgot contraception.

Unknown said...

From Clare Hall - My first reaction was, "Who created this design?" It appears as if the ranks have been infiltrated. What th' hell? The March of Life is and has always been against abortion. I whole heartedly agree that abortion the the death penalty are NOT the same thing. Was someone in the wings waiting for Nellie Gray to pass away so the March for Life could be "improved"? This is wrong. It's altering the original intent. Mark me in the "Upset/Disappointed/Outraged" column.

Matthew Roth said...

I agree. Pro-life leaders need to switch now, to dedicated leaders in the fight against abortion, which is the only one legal at any time. It is also the most serious of these issues. I'm outraged; they've caved to liberal pundits.

Sand Mama said...

Paul Zummo- The Catechism of the Catholic Church says the Church “does not exclude” recourse to the death penalty when it is “the only practicable way to defend the lives of human beings effectively against the aggressor.” It adds, however, that today such cases are “very rare, if not practically non-existent.” This, in my understanding, is the basis of our Holy Father's opposition to the Death Penalty. Can you explain to me (or just point me to links) where I am wrong? Both Popes seem like a pretty official opposition, no?

susan said...

Awful...truly awful. It has become political in the worst of ways. So bad is this that it may be the first year in a decade I don't march. And whoever said it doesn't include contraception is dead on right, but the death-penalty fits in more with a liberal agenda. Awful, awful development...and satan is laughing in glee.

Paul Zummo said...

This, in my understanding, is the basis of our Holy Father's opposition to the Death Penalty. Can you explain to me (or just point me to links) where I am wrong?

You actually just cited the passage that proves you're wrong. As you say, the Catechism states "the traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude recourse to the death penalty, if this is the only possible way of effectively defending human lives against the unjust aggressor." Is there any similar language in Church teachings concerning abortion and euthansasia?

Both Popes seem like a pretty official opposition, no?

That both Popes personally oppose the death penalty does not signify that the Church is officially opposed to the death penalty. To hold such a view is akin to taking the Protestant caricature view of papal infallibility.

I would add that as of noon today more abortions were performed in the United States than there have been executions carried out since the re-institution of the death penalty in the early 1980s. Even if one opposes the death penalty - as I do - it is absurd to claim it of remotely equal importance to the issue of abortion, and it is certainly not on the same level when it comes to absolute Church teaching. Euthanasia and human trafficking are other matters and Church teaching regarding these issues is unambiguous. I'm not sure I would detract from the abortion issue by bringing those into the March for Life, but I can see where it would be useful to incorporate them into a broader pro-life message.

Suzanne said...

Awful. There is one purpose of the March for Life. We can tackle the paramount life issue without have to tack on every other affront to human dignity that exists. I think Nellie Gray would be appalled at the attempt to hijack the purpose of the March. Also, as an ad, the design is terrible. Too much text and the use of red is a bad idea.

Sharon said...

Huh.

Sharon said...

Personally I don't think we'll see too many people holding anti-death penalty or anti-trafficking signs. Mostly it will be people standing up for the unborn. As it always is and as it should be.

Agnes Bullock said...

Wow, Nuns on the Bus redux! The March for Life has always been about abortion, not DNC talking points on the death penalty. Human trafficking has no place at this march either- the court decision was about abortion and none of the other issues.

Sophia's Favorite said...

I am not "pro-life"; like most political labels, it's an oversimplified fetishistic slogan. I am merely anti-murder. Call me kooky.

Combating the Culture of Death by opposing the death penalty is like opposing the Cathars by insisting on the property rights of clergy—the Cathars went by the wayside because the newly-founded mendicant orders showed the orthodox approach to asceticism. If the Church had any sense (and to paraphrase Belloc, without God it wouldn't last two weeks), it would be advocating the death penalty in certain cases. It would also be pushing for reforms of justice systems to ensure that capital verdicts were more certain, but it is a scandal for Church documents to claim that we can render offenders "incapable of doing further harm"—has nobody in the hierarchy seen the murder and rape stats in our prisons?

Besides, if you actually bother to read arguments against the death penalty, at least half the time, they use the premise that heinous criminals are not worth killing. How exactly does that advance the recognition of human dignity, the denial of which is at the root of everything that makes up the Culture of Death?

Paul Zummo said...

Sophia's Favorite:

Even though I am opposed to the death penalty, your arguments in favor are actually quite compelling. It is not at all unreasonable to argue that the death penalty is actually a sign of how highly we value the sanctity of life in that we view the act of murder as so heinous, the only appropriate punishment is death. I'm not quite there yet, but there is a lot of merit to it.

Subvet said...

It dilutes the message and that is never a good thing.

Tim Broderick said...

Anyone who "only cares about abortion" is A-OK in my book, and I thank God for that person. There is no more serious crime taking place so many times a day in the United States -- and certainly not under the sanction of our federal government. If people want to have a march against human trafficking, they should have one. There should be one. So then, do it! Don't crash the March for Life.

Matthew Roth said...

Also, isn't our lack of respect for life via abortion the reason euthanasia would occur, and isn't abortion something that helps facilitate human trafficking?

Jennifer Gregory Miller said...

This is the official poster? I am enraged. The MARCH for Life was started because of Roe v. Wade, which is legalizing abortion. The reason why we march is to end abortion.

And if we protect life, the most innocent and helpless life, all other protection of life will fall into place. Bishop Loverde of Arlington, Va, wrote about this before the election.

I understand protecting life at all stages, but March for Life is abortion. The list should include only those actions that are intrinsically evil. The Death Penalty should NOT be on the list, particularly first header. This isn't even doctrine in the Church as wrong.

It just feels like that USCCB's Seamless Garment is back to haunt us.

Nellie Gray is probably rolling in her grave.

matthew archbold said...

I'm thinking I agree with the majority here. It's held on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade. And it feels like it's diluting the message.

I don't believe this is the official poster though.

As far as the death penalty goes, I'm against it. But I must admit that I sometimes wonder if you accept as a given that liberal judges and parole boards are going to let out dangerous criminals, perhaps the death penalty is necessary to save lives. It's something I'm puzzling until my puzzler is sore.

Fr Bill Peckman said...

Mark 9:40

I would assume that those who would be against these other 'invasive' topics would also be pro-life, no? Oftentimes, I find, that those who denigrate the dignity and respect of human life through abortion have equal disdain for the born as well...fruits of the the same philosophically vile tree.

Fr Bill Peckman said...

In short, not wild about it nor offended by it. If you wish to offend me, tell me abortion is wonderful. Then we come to " them fightin' words"

Toby said...

I live in Charlotte.
When the DNC was here last summer, our Bishop placed large pro-life/religious freedom banners on the walls of a Catholic church near the convention. The building and property belong to the diocese, but the VERY liberal parish is staffed by Jesuits. The parishoners stood on the steet with signs that read much as these. It was very clear their hope was to downplay the abortion message and up the "social justice" so as to justify their political leanings.

bill bannon said...

It was a harsh mistake when Pope Innocent IV made burning heretics mandatory on secular rulers in 1253 and it is an opposite and soft mistake for the last two Popes to in effect attack capital punishment in real life while wording the catechism to cover two opposite positions on it. When a man ( and I've seen three cases of this on tv) rapes and kills a 5 year old or 11 year old girl and then strangles her to death, this is the little girl's last experience of life on earth. And you think a life sentence of hanging out in a cell with probably part time work, three meals a day and full medical coverage and a small tv satisfies as punishment? You see him as repenting in a life sentence but what if he commits self abuse sexual sins during your proposed life sentence until his death forty years later? You have enabled him to now enter a worse part of hell than he originally earned. What does any of this have to do with the God of the Bible who appoints in Romans 13:4 the state as what ?...a sworded minister of His wrath against evil doers. That's the New Testament inspired by the Holy Spirit DURING
an empire which had totally secure life sentences in the Roman mines and an empire that had faulty trials as in Christ's case. You had the spectacle of John Paul II calling the death penalty "cruel" in St. Louis in 1999 while representing a Bible which has God give over 34 death penalties in its pages as Cardinal Dulles pointed out in First Things years ago. Raise evidentiary standards in death penalty cases to exclude aggregate circumstantial cases e.g. to protect the innocent. But when a man is seen on video entering a motel room with a little girl and later leaving with a bag which he puts in a dumpster and it has her raped and dead body, then that man should be given several months to repent as in Dicken's day and then he should be executed. Here's the Holy Spirit after Christ rose and ascended....inspiring these words in Romans 13:4 concerning the state:
" but if you do evil fear for not without reason does the state carry the sword for it is God's minister, an avenger to execute WRATH against him who does evil.". Sound like a symbolic dress sword to you? That's what some Catholic scholars are saying so as to provide cover for the new approach of two Popes.. Go to Acts 12:2..." He ( Herod) had James the brother of John killed by the sword." The Greek for sword "machaira" is used there and in Romans 13:4.

bill bannon said...

Correction: eliminate " to provide cover"....this goes to motive which I have no right to judge in respect to said scholars.

Redfeather said...

What Debbie said.

They should have, in order of importance: Abortion, Embryonic Stem Cell Research, Donor Gametes, Surrogate Mothering (Rent-a-Womb), Contraception, Human Trafficing, Death Penalty.

There should be a pamphlet describing why all these things are evil. Even most Catholics don't buy into it.

Redfeather said...

Don't back down--Evah!

Redfeather said...

At least the font isn't "comic sans". But that too will come.

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