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Illinois, the death penalty, and God

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by Dick Whitman, Mar 10, 2011.

  1. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    Huge news yesterday, as Illinois finally signed a death penalty ban into state law (the state had been operating under a decade-long moratorium):


    I am not looking to begin a debate on the death penalty, but to tie this to something else that has been discussed here lately, in light of Mike Huckabee's comments about Natalie Portman: The degree to which religious belief/the imposition of personal morals should/can play a role in policy-making.

    There was concern expressed on the Portman thread that Huckabee's expressed concern for single-parent children was really just a smokescreen for the real reason he is such an outspoken advocate of traditional marriage: His Christianity.

    I argued that motivation isn't as important as policy, particularly when someone's public statements are completely anchored in secular policy.

    Back to Illinois.

    The lede from the WGN piece:

    "SPRINGFIELD - Gov. Pat Quinn turned to the Bible for wisdom. He drew strength from the writings of the late Cardinal Joseph Bernadin."

    The middle:

    "A man of Catholic faith, Quinn cited Bernadin's own words: "In a complex, sophisticated democracy like ours, means other than the death penalty are available and can be usd to protect society."

    The ending:

    "But Quinn hesitated when asked to draw comparisons between his actions and those of Ryan, who is serving time in federal prison for corruption. The governor said the two each followed their consciences.

    "'I think God wants you to do it that way.'"

    Of course, in between all of this, Quinn cited plenty of secular policy reasons for the ban. There were concerns about innocent people being sentenced to death (the reason for the initial ban). He was also very concerned about the uneven imposition of the sentence across the state's jurisdictions.

    But clearly morals and Catholicism played a role.

    Wondering what everyone thought. Not OK? OK because at least Quinn was up front about it, whereas Huckabee - in the estimation of some - is being disingenuous by not revealing his supposedly real motivations?

    Isn't Quinn imposing his morals? Or is that more acceptable within the context of the criminal justice system than it is daily family life?
  2. secretariat

    secretariat Active Member

    You're missing a pretty key word from your lede.
  3. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    Thanks. Fixed.
  4. YankeeFan

    YankeeFan Well-Known Member

    Democrats get a pass any time they cite God or religion as a guiding force.

    Republicans are usually ok with it, and Democrats realize that they're just pandering and aren't going to institute a "theocracy" which conservative, Christian, Republicans would obviously do given the opportunity.
  5. Azrael

    Azrael Well-Known Member

    This has a lot more to do with the work of the Chicago Tribune Editorial Board for over a decade - including a Pulitzer Prize - than it does with the Governor's personal convictions, however formed or presented.
  6. secretariat

    secretariat Active Member

    How much credit goes to Northwestern and the Center on Wrongful Convictions?
  7. YankeeFan

    YankeeFan Well-Known Member

    And a former Governor who hoped to gain sympathy in his own criminal case.
  8. Bob Cook

    Bob Cook Active Member

    In an upset, both you and secretariat are right.
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