The time is coming to pay taxes. I happen to live in one of the many states that has a death penalty. So the taxes I pay go to support the prosecuting the death penalty. And the withholding taxes paid by employers, including Catholic hospitals and Catholic churches that are employers, are also used to support prosecution of the death penalty.
I was just checking the tax forms to see if I could opt out of paying a portion of my taxes. Nor do I see any basis for employers, even if they are religious institutions, to opt out of paying taxes to states that have a death penalty. There is no opt-out provision. I was amazed.
The position of the Catholic Church on the death penalty is clear. The current Pope supports a U.N. resolution imposing a moratorium on the death penalty. Pope John Paul II called for the worldwide abolition of the death penalty.
But somehow, the government is forcing those with moral or religious objections to the death penalty to fund killing.
I am not trying to debate the death penalty. You may be for it or against it. This is about religious freedom.
Even the Catholic Church has recognized that many American Catholics support the death penalty. But the Church has a different view:
When a journalist said the majority of Catholics in the United States favor use of the death penalty, Cardinal [now Pope] Ratzinger said, "While it is important to know the thoughts of the faithful, doctrine is not made according to statistics, but according to objective criteria taking into account progress made in the church's thought on the issue."Catholic News
How can the government force the Catholic Church to fund the execution of prisoners? The opposition of the Church to the death penalty is clear:
“The dignity of human life must never be taken away, even in the case of someone who has done great evil. Modern society has the means of protecting itself, without definitively denying criminals the chance to reform.”In the United States, the US Council of Catholic Bishops has long opposed the death penalty:
-- Pope John Paul II (Gospel of Life, 27)
USCCB PositionUS Council of Catholic Bishops
Since 1980, the U.S. Catholic bishops have taken a strong and principled position against the use of the death penalty in the United States. The Catholic Church opposes the use of the death penalty not just for what it does to those guilty of horrible crimes, but for how it affects society. Last November, the U.S. Catholic Bishops affirmed this position in their statement A Culture of Life and the Penalty of Death. This statement complements the efforts of the Catholic Church for many years and is a part of a comprehensive Catholic Campaign to End the Use of the Death Penalty launched in March of 2005. Moreover, Pope John Paul II, in both The Gospel of Life and the revised Catechism of the Catholic Church, stated that our society has adequate alternative means today to protect society from violent crime without resorting to capital punishment.
"It demeans our culture to use violence to answer violence, and it can only further undermine respect for innocent life," McQuade told Catholic News Service Oct. 27. "If the state can protect us without committing additional violence, that is the way we are called to go."American Catholic
Perhaps its time to start a campaign to permit employers and taxpayers to opt out of some tax payments if they have a moral or religious objection to the death penalty. I assume every Republican legislator will support the measure.