this case find themselves? How do these

final exam christian ethics class

Read the

case carefully and then respond to the following questions in relation to the

case to determine what a Christian ethical response is and why. Be detailed in your response and utilize

concepts discussed within the course to support your points.

1. Roles,

Relations and Duties:

What are the various roles and relationships in which the central characters in

this case find themselves? How do these

roles and relationships connect or tie these persons to other persons or groups

of persons? As a result of all these

differing roles and relationships, what are some of the various moral duties

the people in this case have to one another and other persons and/or

groups? Are some of these duties more

important than others? Which are the

most important?

2. Virtues: What kinds of persons would the people in this case need

to be in order to recognize and fulfill the various moral duties and challenges

facing them here? What are some virtues,

attitudes, affections and loyalties they would need to behave as authentic



1. Identifying

the Choice:

What is the basic or central choice confronting the people in this case? What are some of the conflicting values or

goods that the people in this case will need to make choices about? Are there competing duties that the people in

this case have to each other or other persons or groups?

2. Seek Counsel: What moral wisdom or insight can we gain about the

choice(s) to be made from the voices of experience, Scripture and

tradition? What persons or resources

would be most useful in discovering what these various fonts of wisdom have to

tell us about the issues or choices in this case?

3. Formulating a Christian Response: What might be some

basic convictions that the Christian perspective brings to the central choice

or issue in this case? What are some

hard questions that need to be answered regarding this choice?


1. Social

Sins: Are

there some social sins embeIDed in this case? Are there any social ills or injustices, any shared ways of thinking or

acting that are contributing to the problems in t his case or making it harder

for the people here to make good choices and behave well?

2. Christian

Reforms: What

sorts of social practices or beliefs might need to be changed to make the

structures and institutions discussed in this case more just, more

Christian? What kins of reforms are

needed on the institutional or societal level? Why?

Case 1: Jails for Jobs

On a warm autumn evening State Senator

Ellen Costanza is sitting in her office listening to Bob Hughes, her campaign

manager, and she is not happy. Just a

month away from the close of a very tight race for reelection, Ellen?s marginal

lead is evaporating. Bob warns her that

unless she does something significant in the next few weeks she can forget a

second term, and all the good she might have accomplished as a newly appointed

member of three important senate committees.

The something significant Bob has in

mind is SR 375, a new piece of anti-crime legislation pending before the

senate. Calling for tougher sanction and

mandatory minimum sentences for a broad range of felonies, SR 375 also includes

$780 million for the construction of several new correctional facilities and an aIDitional $120 million to

help put three to five thousand more police officers on the streets.

Bob is convinced that coming out in

support of this legislations is, at present, about the only way to save the election.

?Ellen, this bill is just what the

doctor ordered. First, by supporting it

you show the voters and the media that even with your opposition to the death

penalty, you are still tough on crime. In an instant our challenger?s number one issue evaporates, and that

?law and order? prosecutor from downstate has to start talking about jobs and

education, topics you can beat him on any day of the week. Second, this bill means jobs, and I mean good

jobs, for our district. We may not be in

the ?rust belt,? but in the last two decades we?ve lost thousands of high

paying factory jobs to overseas plants and seen two military installations

close up shop. ToID Meyers, the bill?s

main sponsor and the chair of the allocations committee, has made it clear he wants

you on board and that if you give him

lots of support before the election, then one of those new prisons will be

built in our district. That?s going to

mean a lot of work for a lot of folks – steady, long term work with pensions

and health care.?

?Now Ellen, I know you have some

concerns about building more prisons. But you want the government to do more about domestic violence and to

put pressure on deadbeat dads. Well,

sometimes people have to be put in jail to make them see the light or to protect

other folks from their violence. And

finally, making a compromise here means you get to do a lot of good work toward

education, housing, and aid to farmers. Do you think our challenger is going to do any of that if we just roll

over and let him win??

Perhaps. Perhaps this legislation would save her

campaign and allow her to do real good. Certainly bringing thousands of high paying jobs to her district would

help a lot of folks. But is SR 375

really a good idea? True, Ellen?s state

does have a high rate of violent crime, though not as high as it was in the

early ?90?s, and a lot of people do need to be punished for their offenses,

particularly when they are violent. But

does that mean that minimum mandatory sentences are a good idea or that we ought

to aIDress overcrowding in our burgeoning prison system by building more and

bigger prisons? Will putting more police

on the streets really help? How much? Are there other alternatives that might be

more effective, or humane?

And just what will happen in her

district in five or ten years when hundreds and then thousands of these

criminals, most of them from downstate, are released from jail? How many will settle in the local community

and what sorts of problems will they bring to the area? Will there be a ?crime leak? from the local

prison, contaminating neighborhoods and towns in the area?

And if the state spends $900 million on

this piece of anti-crime legislations, what sorts of programs will be cut to

pay for new prisons and police? Will the

money come out of education, housing, health care? Should Ellen put her signature on this

bill? Should she be one of the swing

votes to push it over the top?

Sitting there in her office with Bob,

Ellen is pretty sure she?s going to have to think long and hard about

this. Bob, on the other hand, is certain

she only has a few weeks to decide.

Case 2: Health Benefits: ?It?s Not My


?Jennie, I appreciate what Father Ralph

told you in that class on Catholic social thought, and I believe in workers? rights

as much as the next guy. Heck, my dad

and Uncle Pete were in the union for forty years, and I paid union dues for six

years while I was working in a machinist?s shop and going to night school at

City University.?

?But, I?m here to tell you that as the

owner of a small business I have no legal obligation to pay for health

insurance for my employees. And, given

the stiff competition I face and my razor-thin profit margin, there is just no

way I can provide coverage for the unskilled women working for my cleaning

service, at least not if I am going to pay tuition at a Catholic college where

you and your brother can learn about social justice and preferential option for

the poor.?

?I pay worker?s compensation and social

security, and two dollars over minimum wage. And I give these folks two weeks? paid vacation and a full hour for

lunch, which is better than they would get at most of the other services in

town. What?s more, I give everyone who

works for me a bonus at Christmas. If I

paid for health coverage for my employees I would probably have to go out of

business. We would certainly have to

make significant changes in our lifestyle.?

?I appreciate that Dad,? Jennie

responds, ?and I get it that it?s not your job alone to carry this burden. But the priests at that Catholic college you

and Mom were so eager for me and Mike to attend say that folks have a basic

right to health care. It?s like their

right to life, liberty, and freedom of religion. And they say – heck the pope says – that our

society has a moral duty to provide for that right. Health care?s not just a ?benefit,? it?s a

right. But at present more than forty

million Americans don?t have health-care coverage, and a huge percentage of

those folks are working-class women and men just like your employees.?

?Now, we are the only industrialized

Western country without universal health care, in large part because lots of

folks like you and Uncle Joe – who haven?t belonged to a union in years – say

we shouldn?t have big government or that the free market is the way to take

care of things. Well, the free market

and competition have got you squeezed so tight you can?t provide the basic sort

of health care coverage for you workers that your dad and uncle fought so hard

to get for union members fifty years ago.?

?So that sort of leaves un in a

quandary, doesn?t it?? Either we agree that health care coverage is just a

benefit and that the popes and Church are wrong to say it?s a basic right, or

we figure out a way to protect this right for the ore than forty million folks

who lack access to basic health care. And if you?re right that as a small business owner you simply can?t

afford to pay for this coverage and keep afloat, then maybe we need to look at

the way we provide for health care in this country. Maybe we need some kind of major health-care

reform coming out of Washington. I mean,

one way or the other, we?re going to have to figure out how to solve this problem,

aren?t we??

?I?ll make you a deal, Jennie,? her

father replied. ?You bring home the text

book for that course in Catholic social though, and I?ll read it. After all, I paid for it. And in May when I come to pick you up from

school, I?ll meet with your Father Ralph and talk to him. But this summer, you?ll come to work with me

at the office. You?ll go over the books

and you?ll check out all the options for health insurance plans available to

small business owners like myself. And

together we?ll look at what the politicians in the state capital and Washington

are offering in terms of health care reform. Then, in September, we?ll make a plan that you and I and everyone else

in this family can actually live with.?

?Of course, we may discover that we

can?t be just to my workers and pay your tuition at a Catholic college. Or that we need to make significant changes

in our lifestyle – which other people in the family might not be so willing to

do. Would you be willing to have those

conversations and make this deal with me?

?I suspect that you?re bluffing just a

bit here, Dad. But it?s an intriguing

offer, and I?d be silly to turn you down, even if it is also pretty scary. By the way,? Jenny wondered, ?does this mean

the family trip to Costa Rica is off this Christmas??

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