Speaking of perverse discordance on the same day the Pope was serenaded with "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" at the White House (where Bush told him he gave an "awesome speech!"), the Supreme Court found that state-sponsored executions by lethal injection were just fine and dandy, as far as the U.S. Constitution was concerned.
"Simply because an execution method may result in pain, either by accident or as an inescapable consequence of death, does not establish the sort of 'objectively intolerable risk of harm' that qualifies as cruel and unusual," wrote Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr.
Roberts, of course, is Catholic. As are a total of 5 of the 9 justices now on the bench, 7 of whom gave the thumbs up to the continued use of a three-drug cocktail in order to kill citizens convicted of capital crimes. That, despite plaintiffs arguments that "if the first drug does not work, the second induces a 'terrifying, conscious paralysis' and the third causes an 'excruciating burning pain as it courses through the veins.'"
Of course, the Catholic Church strongly opposes all such state-sponsored executions. Yet all 5 of the Catholic justices joined the majority decision to end a temporary national moratorium on state-sponsored killing of criminals. All on the very same day the Pope came to D.C.
You'll forgive us then, if we see something --- yes --- perversely discordant in that. Again.
UPDATE 4/17/08: This morning, Democracy Now covered the Supremes' end to the de facto Death Penality Moratorium, noting that "the decision came one day after Amnesty International named the United States one of the top five executioners in the world, along with China, Iran, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia."
Couldn't be prouder to be in such fine company. Good luck finding that AI stat --- reporting that of the 1200 people executed by governments last year, 88% of them occurred in those five countries alone --- in the American corporate media today.
No doubt, George W. Bush feels equally proud, even if we're not yet #1 in that area. And even though he said yesterday to the Pope, during the WH ceremony, as our own Alan Breslauer notes in the perversely discordant :38 second video at right: "In a world where some treat life as something to be debased and discarded, we need your message that all human life is sacred."
Bush was, of course, just kidding.