We can all pretend to be surprised.
It is striking to see one of the nation's most influential Christians explicitly acknowledge that the defining Republican policies -- the death penalty, unrestrained "terrorism" approaches, waterboarding, and (though Gerson doesn't mention it) "preventive" wars -- are not only un-Catholic, but also hostile to the "ethic of life." Gerson is right that such policies are decisively anti-life and contrary to Catholic teaching. Beyond that, they are squarely at odds with more general Christian moral teaching as well. Indisputably, there is a "life" and "morality" aspect to the Republican Party's conduct of the "war on terrorism" and that conduct could not be more at odds with the values they claim to embrace.
Yet our political discourse is sufficiently broken that this is rarely pointed out. The media has decreed that these same Republicans embody the "faith" agenda. Thus the political party that, on one issue after the next, advocates anti-"ethic-of-life" and un-Catholic positions is endlessly presented as the "pro-life" party for "people of faith."