KEYES: It doesnít conflict at all. Abortion and capital punishment are at different level of moral concern. Abortion is intrinsically, objectively wrong and sinful whereas capital punishment is a matter of judgment, which is not in and of itself a violation of moral right. The question of whether or not you should apply capital punishment depends on circumstances and itís an area where Catholics have a right to debate and disagree.
OBAMA: Now I agree with Mr. Keyes that the death penalty and abortion are separate cases. Itís unfortunate that with the death penalty Mr. Keyes respects that people may have a different point of view but with the issue of abortion he has labeled people everything as terrorists to slaveholders to being consistent with Nazism for holding an opposing point of view. That kind of rhetoric is not helpful in resolving a deeply emotional subject.
KEYES: Marriage is based upon heterosexual relations because they are connected to procreation. Where procreation is impossible, marriage is irrelevant. And that is the civic explanation against homosexual marriage. It is irrelevant. And the idea that one should have legislation that is regulating private friendships for no reason is a degrading of those friendships.
OBAMA: Well, to answer the original question, I would love that child and seek to support them. I believe that marriage is between a man and a woman but I detest the bashing and vilifying of gays and lesbians. Most gays and lesbians are seeking basic recognition of their rights so theyíre not discriminated against in employment or renting a house, so they can see their partner in a hospital. These are rights for everybody, not just some people.
KEYES: When I was part of the effort to fight terrorists, I dealt with some of the most hardened criminals on the face of the earth. What I learned to understand, that Senator Obama seems to forget when dealing with domestic crime and foreign relations is that you must go after the people who cause the problem and you must get after them before than can do harm. You must deal with the individuals who pose a threat to the decency of our communities.
OBAMA: With respect to the potential for police officers not to knock when they go in, thereís an issue of search and seizures and there must be some parameters for law enforcement to protect our civil liberties.
KEYES: It doesnít conflict at all. Abortion and capital punishment are at different level of moral concern. Abortion is intrinsically, objectively wrong and sinful whereas capital punishment is a matter of judgment.
OBAMA: I think that the death penalty is appropriate in certain circumstances. There are especially heinous crimes: terrorism, the harm of children. Obviously, weíve had some problems in this state in the application of the death penalty. Thatís why a moratorium was put in place and thatís why I was so proud to be one of the leaders in overhauling a death penalty system that was broken. We became the first in the nation requiring the video taping of capital interrogations and confessions. We have to have this ultimate sanction in certain circumstances where the whole community says ďthis is beyond the pale.Ē
OBAMA: [The proposed legislation] was entirely unnecessary and unconstitutional. It suggested that I could kill a police officer but because Iím not a gang member, I would be treated differently. I think both cases should be death penalty eligible.
KEYES: Senator Obama does not think it superfluous to have hate crimes legislation that adds a special animus to certain acts of violence already penalized against the law. But in order to convey against those certain acts a special category of deviation from society. The law provides a special message aimed at discouraging things considered especially harmful to a society and a community.
OBAMA: Actually, that wasnít what I had in mind. We have an existing law that mandates sex education in the schools and we want to make sure that itís medically accurate and age appropriate. I have a 3 year old daughter and a six year old daughter and one of the things I talk about with my wife is the possibility of someone touching them inappropriately. And thatís why [sex education] is in the law. So they can exercise some kind of protection against abuse. As for filters, I have voted for them. In the school setting, there was information schoolchildren could not access such as information about breast cancer, which is why there was a broad opposition.
KEYES: Senators were originally chosen by the state legislatures for the simple reason that the US Senate was supposed to represent the state government as sovereign entities. Our laws in Illinois are passed by the state legislature. Are the people disenfranchised in the passing of these laws I donít think so.
OBAMA: Listen, I love my colleagues in the state legislature but I think [Illinois citizens] should be voting, not state legislatures. I have a little understanding about our constitution because I teach constitutional law at the University of Chicago and I understand thatís how the constitution was framed. It also prohibited anyone but white, male property owners from voting. Thatís why we had amendments. Itís a funny way to empower people to take their vote away.
OBAMA: Letís be honest. Mr. Keyes does not believe in common gun control measures like the assault weapons bill. Mr. Keyes does not believe in any limits from what I can tell with respect to the possession of guns, including assault weapons that have only one purpose, to kill people. I think it is a scandal that this president did not authorize a renewal of the assault weapons ban.
OBAMA: There were no weapons of mass destruction. There was no connection between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda. This war has made us less safe because it betrayed a set of international rules that were in place to protect us, that could have helped us defeat terrorism. Mr. Keyes implied that by fighting this war in Iraq we have reduced the probability of a terrorist attack to zero. That cannot be the case when we have nuclear fuel lying around in the former Soviet Union. We still have ports that are insecure. We have nuclear and chemical plants that are still insecure. The notion that we have eliminated the terrorist threat while Osama bin Laden roams free in the hills of Afghanistan is simply not the case.
KEYES: We have reduced the probability of an attack from Saddam Hussein to zero.
OBAMA: There was no connection between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda. This war has made us less safe. Osama bin Laden roams free in the hills of Afghanistan.
KEYES: The breathtaking naivete of the assertion that there is no connection between Al Qaeda & Saddam Hussein when Saddam was providing payments to the families of Hamas suicide bombers who had ties to Al Qaeda. I worked on the National Security Council staff. Maybe thatís why I understand the situation a little better than Barack Obama. Those ties are real and we cannot afford to let them operate.
OBAMA: I donít think that Mr. Keyes knowledge of the situation is better than Donald Rumsfeldís or the other experts who have confirmed that there was no connection between those who perpetrated the attacks of 9/11 and Iraq. This was an ideologically driven war. But now we do have a hotbed of terrorism to fight in Iraq.
The above quotations are from Third Illinois 2004 Senate Debate: Barack Obama vs. Alan Keyes, Oct. 21, 2004.
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