It is an interesting quirk in the human psyche that protecting an individual's life is all-important to the particular individual. However, other people's deaths can be readily justified by most. Why would one person's life be more important than another, philosophically speaking? Western society has advanced since medieval days when people were burned at the stake or suffered other types of torturous deaths on the mere suggestion of impropriety.
Society continues to allow and condone abortion and the death penalty. Wars are all too common and many would legalize euthanasia, or 'mercy killings. ' Wars have been fought for much the same reasons since the beginnings of humanity, wealth and territory. Taking a life is wrong, no matter the context outside of possibly self-defense motives but the thirst for death still exists in this 'modern' society. We are really no different than the Romans packing the Coliseums to witness savage killings.
This discussion argues against societal-sanctioned murder and for the concept that all life is sacred and should be protected. "We hold these truths to be self-evident, tat al men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among there are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness" – The United States of America Declaration of Independence The quote from The United States of America Declaration of Independence tells a lot about people's equality of life.
Everybody should have rights to be alive and peruse happiness. The Constitution and the Declaration of Independence were written by men who believed in God, men who thought prayer was important, that life was sacred, and that many of our current-day controversial practices, such as homosexuality and abortion, were biblically and morally reprehensible. The reality that a few of Founding Fathers of the United States were deists, rather than theists, does not change the fact that these documents were written by and for a generally theistic people.
The Founding Fathers intended to shape not only the legal but the moral direction of American society as well when they drafted the Constitution, the document that defines the laws of the nation. If they were alive today, the Founders clearly would be against the killing of innocent victims for reasons of convenience. According to John Adams, one of the Founding Father, "Our Constitution was made for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other" (Beach).
Today, however, popular cultures such as Japan has forgotten that American nation was founded; in large part, on Christian principles, and that the Constitution was written for a "moral and religious people. " Americans are of course free to practice own religious beliefs, but by looking at it, it seems that the present society in the states has become obsessed with the idea of tolerance. Everything is to be tolerated with the exception of Christianity. The life of human, from the time of conception, should be considered equally as viable as any individual.
Consequently, the right of life as well as the social definition regarding 'right' and 'wrong' types of deaths should apply to potential lives which can be described as possessing a future value of life, the same as any living person. Unnatural, premature deaths that are considered justifiable by society include those that occur during wartime in addition to those that result from 'mercy killings' and the death penalty. Outside of those instances, society generally acts to protect all life even animals that have at least a chance of future potential.
This is demonstrated by the life-saving techniques employed without question or hesitation in the case of people who wanted to end their life. Society will not allow it because it is simply wrong by any standard to end a life with potential (Manjoo). 'Pro Choice' advocates counter this seemingly universal truth by saying just because a person has great potential does not mean that they will achieve greatness in life therefore a potential life is not yet a life. They also argue that because a fetus is unconscious disqualifies it for being considered a person.
Of course, emergency medical treatment is administered to unconscious people in an effort to save their life. Through the constitutionality regarding the Roe decision can be easily argued, it must be acknowledged that since the issue remains intensely controversial more than 30 years after, abortion opponents are justified in believing the right to an abortion should not be thought of as fundamental. Fundamental rights reprove basic truths in the functioning of a society.
Rulings preventing the segregation of the races are now accepted by the public therefore can be viewed as fundamental rights. Abortion rights do not enjoy this universally held view so it is fair to debate the issue even on legal grounds though that is seldom the arena for debate. 'Roe was and is a case that brings our emotions on both a moral and legal basis. The publicly vivid ideological divide will never be bridged but the debate whether abortion should be legal or not is a matter for the courts and ultimately congress, as are all legal matters.
The murderous act of abortion remains legal today but an appointment or two to the Supreme Court could swiftly end this practice at the federal level thereby applying to all 50 states. This next presidential election will be pivotal to those that believe the law should not support the killing of innocent babies. Two Supreme Court Justices, Paul Stevens and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, both liberals are likely to step down over the next presidential term due to health reasons. If replaced by two conservative, anti-abortion Justices, the law will reflect the values of a truly civilized people.
Capital punishment is ethically and morally objectionable in today's society. Those that oppose capital punishment believe that every life should be valued and that imprisoning a person for life without the possibility for parole is adequate punishment. Those that subscribe to retribution as justification for the death penalty often invoke the Bible's reference to 'an eye for an eye. ' Aggression must be met with aggressive punishment (Olen & Barry 268). "This use of punishment is society's way of striking back at one who has disturbed the emotional and ethical senses of a people" (Lunden 232).
Interestingly, those that use the quote from the Old Testament to justify the use of the death penalty as moral either overlooked or ignored the passage in the New Testament where Jesus rebuffs this statement explicitly then reminds his followers to instead to 'turn the other cheek. ' However, the 'eye for an eye' justification is still used by many today. The societies in European countries have already formed the opinion that the death penalty is both 'cruel' and 'unusual' punishment that remains largely ineffectual.
Most European citizens enjoy cradle to grave health care and are much less likely to be incarcerated than those in the United States. Though there is much evidence to the contrary, American society is growing more compassionate though time. The 1964 Civil Rights Act is but one example of this. One day, it will be a compassionate society that does not use the emotion of revenge to decided its laws and the death penalty will go the way of the witch trials, a horrible punishment of the distant past.