February 29, 2008
Credit When It's Due
While I find all this “renounce” and “reject” stuff a bit silly, as long as we’re playing that game, what is good for the goose should be good for the gander. With that in mind, I want to give credit to Bill Donohue for calling on John McCain to renounce the support of the anti-Catholic, anti-Semitic John Hagee.
Here's McCain's response to all of this. Pretty weak tea compared to what Russert demanded from Obama the other night:
"Yesterday, Pastor John Hagee endorsed my candidacy for president in San Antonio, Texas. However, in no way did I intend for his endorsement to suggest that I in turn agree with all of Pastor Hagee's views, which I obviously do not.
"I am hopeful that Catholics, Protestants and all people of faith who share my vision for the future of America will respond to our message of defending innocent life, traditional marriage, and compassion for the most vulnerable in our society."
UPDATE: Kudos also to Bainbridge for his discussion of this issue. He calls it "even worse than McCain’s about face on Bob Jones University. It’s extremely disappointing."
America Magazine on Castro and Cuba
America Magazine has an editorial on Castro and Cuba in their March 10 edition. Here is my wife Maria's reaction:
"What a disappointing editorial on Cuba and Fidel Castro! I am one of the Cuban American refugees that you label dismissively as mere 'exiles.' Our family did not leave Cuba because of it's economic conditions but because my father was imprisoned and our family persecuted for its Catholic faith. But economics is the only aspect you seem concerned about. I concur with Pope John Paul II's assessment during his visit to Cuba that the embargo must end. Yet in your narrow focus and overt praising of the questionable "legitimate accomplishments" of Castro's regime you become no different than the secular media--and you offend not only Cubans, but all refugees in this country who have fled repressive regimes in search of religious and other freedoms. What about Cuba's persecuted People of God? Are you aware of the underground Church? What about the hundreds of prisoners of conscience suffering in Cuba's prisons, imprisoned because of their faith or for taking principled stands against Cuban government policies? (see Amnesty International records) I expect more from America than what I read in the New York Times. I expect a thoughtful response from a faithful and faithfilled Catholic perspective."
The Immanent Frame
Not long ago Rick Garnett recommended a blog titled The Immanent Frame: Religion, Secularism, and the Public Sphere. Today a post of mine appears on blog--a post about whether under the establishment clause religious rationales are a legitimate basis of coercive lawmaking. Those who maintain the blog are eager to receive readers' comments on the posts. So, if any of you are so inclined ...
Here's the link to my post.
Dying to Live: A Migrant's Journey
Fr. Daniel Groody, CSC, was on my panel Wednesday afternoon at the Gilvary Symposium at the University of Dayton School of Law. As part of the panel, he showed his 30 minute documentary "Dying to Live: A Migrant's Journey," which is a must see for anyone interested in putting a human face on the immigration debate. The back of the DVD jacket says: "Dying to Live is a profound look at the human face of the migrant. It explores who these people are, why they leave their homes and what they face in their journey. Drawing on the insights of Pulitzer Prize winning photographers, theologians, church and congressional leaders, activists, musicians and the immigrants themselves, this film explores the places of conflict, pain and hope along the US-Mexico border. It is a reflection of the human struggle for a more dignified life and the search to find God in the midst of it all."
To order this powerful movie, click here.
Fr. Sirico on Buckley
Fr. Sirico of the Acton Institute has this reflection on William F. Buckley:
WFB: In Memoriam
Having been my father's remote control, I recall one Sunday afternoon in the 1960s being told to stop and back up to the "educational channel," as it was called.
The Sirico household were not big viewers of what was then Channel 13 in New York, so I wondered what my father was thinking.
I click over to the channel and my father said, "Sit down; you'll learn something."
Indeed, I did.
That was the first time I had heard or seen William F. Buckley, Jr., who died in his study on Wednesday while at work on yet another erudite page of insightful, urbane, and scintillating prose. Buckley (or Bill, as he almost insisted people call him) holds the record of sending me to the dictionary more than anyone I have ever read in the English language.
To continue reading, click here.
February 28, 2008
The Presidential Election and Abortion, cont'd
I hope that MOJ readers (and others) who read Matthew Boudway's open letter to Deal Hudson (to which Michael linked, here) will also read Ramesh Ponnuru's recent piece, "Conscientious Voting," here. A taste:
Feuerherd asks, “[I]s it fair for a Catholic like me to suspect that the liberal economic policies of the Democratic candidate, whether Obama or Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, will result in less dire poverty and thus perhaps fewer abortions? And isn't that supposed to be the goal?” Anyone who wants to cast a ballot on this assumption has a moral obligation to investigate whether it is, in fact, true that 1) Democratic policies would reduce poverty much more than Republican ones would and 2) that abortion and poverty rates correlate in as straightforward a manner as Feuerherd idly (and conveniently) supposes. I am not aware of research that corroborates point two, let alone both of them taken together.
And there is another problem with this argument, which is that a reduction in the number of abortions is not the only goal that pro-lifers should have. Also important is that the law stop treating unborn children as subhuman creatures who may legitimately be denied the protections of the law against unjust killing. Obama himself may be perfectly sincere in willing that fewer women exercise the (supposed) right to abortion even while he supports keeping that option legal and making it subsidized. I have no reason to doubt that he is. But he also wills that unborn children be denied the basic legal protection from homicide that you and I enjoy. The Catholic Church wants voters to take that injustice seriously; more seriously than Feuerherd seems inclined to take it. But of course it cannot (and has no ambition to) force any voter to do anything.
The Costs of Sprawl
Add world hunger as another cost of sprawl.
We're Number 26! We're Number 26! . . .
. . . on this list of the "most influential law blogs." Hoo-rah.
"Reproduction and Public Discourse"
From the First Things blog, this by Ryan Anderson:
Benedict XVI recently asked the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to turn its attention to the ethical challenges that new biotechnologies pose. Aware that the Church “cannot and should not intervene on every scientific innovation,” the pope charged the congregation with “reiterating the great values at stake, and providing the faithful, and all men and women of good will, with ethical and moral principles and guidelines for these new and important questions.”
To help direct the congregation’s reflection, he offered two principles: “(a) unconditional respect for the human being as a person from conception to natural death; (b) respect for the originality of the transmission of human life through the acts proper to spouses.”
. . .
The Western tradition of moral reflection has produced a long line of reasoning about the fundamental worth of people and the immorality of direct killing. Battles over civil and human rights at home and abroad have taken up and developed the historical arguments about human dignity and equality. We have developed traditions of rationality about these questions—competing traditions, no doubt, but traditions of thought on these topics all the same.
So when debates about embryo freezing, manipulation, or killing arise, moral philosophers and theologians have rich resources for identifying the wrongs involved. It’s easy to speak to the public about all this. Start with the science that shows the humanity and individuality of the embryo, and then make philosophical arguments about the equality of all human beings as persons possessing inherent dignity. Finally, add the well-developed moral and legal prohibitions on directly killing innocent persons and you quickly arrive at the conclusion that killing human embryos is wrong.
In other words, religiously grounded thinkers make arguments about killing. They don’t simply pronounce, “God says it’s wrong.” As Benedict charged the CDF, they use arguments that can guide both the faithful “and all men and women of good will.”
With assisted reproductive technologies, things are different. . . .
Read the whole thing.
New blog! Stuntz and Skeel!
MOJ readers (and other sentient bipeds) will be familiar with the work of Professors Stuntz and Skeel. Well, they have a blog, "Less than the Least." Many of us here have had provocative and challenging conversations, and disagreements, with Stuntz and Skeel, but I feel comfortable expressing -- using the royal "we" -- "our" deep admiration for them and their work.
On a more somber note, as Prof. Stuntz reports here, he is struggling with colon cancer. Oremus.