Tuesday, May 14, 2013


This post may offend a number of my readers but I feel called to write something about the two persons responsible for horrid deaths who were convicted this week. 

I will not give detailed accounts of what they did, since other, more knowledgeable, people have written about both cases.

On May 13, in Philadelphia, Kermit Gosnell was convicted of three murders, one manslaughter, and other charges. He received life imprisonment without possibility of parole for these charges which are probably only the tip of the iceberg of atrocious abortions, without regard to the pregnant women or the  unborn.

On 10 May, Efraín Ríos Montt , former president and general, was convicted in Guatemala of genocide and crimes against humanity. He was sentenced to 80 years imprisonment.

His regime was responsible for the killing of thousands of innocent civilians, mostly indigenous people, and the destruction of hundreds of villages. The massacres were brutal – men, women, children, and fetuses were killed, some after being tortured.

But Rios Mott as president was praised by US president Ronald Reagan who said, “President Ríos Montt is a man of great personal integrity and commitment.” This was while the massacres were taking place. He also received the praise of Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson.

The killings done under the presidency of Rios Montt are far more than those of Gosnell.

It is right that Catholics and pro-life advocates are horrified at what Gosnell did. But how many even know about the crimes of Rios Montt and US complicity in genocide.

What we need is consistency in our advocacy of life.

Otherwise we are hypocrites.


Charles said...

A good statement, Brother John. I believe that hypocrisy was the one unforgivable sin mentioned in the gospels. It's unforgivable not because God is unwilling to forgive, but because the hypocrite cannot see that s/he is doing anything wrong. In the Greek, a hypocrite is an actor on the stage. Actors are only pretending to do what they do, so they can't be held accountable for it, so hypocrites believe.

As has been pointed out by others, the crimes of Gosnell are the consequence of a lack of safe and affordable abortion, not to mention a failure of the state of Pennsylvania to do basic oversight. Gosnell is thus typical of what we can expect to become the norm. if abortion is illegalized. This is not to in any way absolve Gosnell or a society where life is called into being and then snuffed out so casually.

The Rios Montt decision is startlingly forward looking. It's increasingly clear that we need to have accountability for crimes against humanity. Otherwise the U.S. will continue to arm and guide murderous tyrants. I feel hope when I see the brave witnesses, judge, and prosecutor insist on telling the truth and imposing consequences for wrongdoing. We could learn a lot from those Guatemalans.

John (Juan) Donaghy said...

Rios Montt was convicted but then the constitutional court annulled the conviction on a technicality. Where this goes?
In the meantime, there is a nice reflection from a Mennonite perspective at
MCC Latin America Advocacy Blog: