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Mixing religion and politics. (Letters to the Editor).

Kudos to Anne Thompson for her article "Scalia: Stuck in the Past" (Conscience, Spring 2002). In it, Thompson dissembles Scalia's simplistic reliance on antiquated church teachings to defend the indefensible--in this case, the sad US practice regarding the application of capital punishment.

While on the bench, Scalia has failed to honestly address the shortcomings in our death penalty system. He has failed to acknowledge the role that race and income play in determining who is sentenced to death. He has failed to acknowledge the fact that incompetent legal counsel is often not a factor in determining who lives and who dies but rather the factor.

But more importantly, Scalia has failed to address the moral aspect of the death penalty itself--the fact that, as Thompson noted, the death penalty "feeds the cycle of violence fueled by revenge, disregarding the inherent value of all human life."

The irony underlying Scalia's comments is this: in suggesting that judges who have a religious-based opposition to the death penalty should resign, Scalia is implying that religion and politics should not mix. But he is twisting and convoluting his religion based on political belief. In my view, that is the most dangerous type of judge there is.
Steven W. Hawkins, Executive Director
National Coalition to Abolish the
Death Penalty, Washington, DC
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Author:Hawkins, Steven W.
Date:Jun 22, 2002
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