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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Catholic academics criticize Speaker Boehner

Michael Sean Winters links to a letter, signed by a number of Catholic academics, that accuses Speaker Boehner of having a your voting record that "is at variance from one of the Church’s most ancient moral teachings" and that professes to aim to "reawaken [his] familiarity with the teachings of your Church on matters of faith and morals as they relate to governance."  Certainly, it would be a good thing if Catholic public servants -- and, for that matter, Catholic academics -- came not only to greater "familiarity with" Catholic teachings on "matters of faith and morals as they relate to governance," but also to the sincere embrace of those teachings and of the Church's authority and obligation to propose them.

Certainly, there is nothing wrong with the composition and publication of such a letter and I have no doubt that many of those signed the letter embrace sincerely the Church's social teachings and believe in good faith that the Speaker's positions regarding taxes and spending are outside the bounds of faithful, reasonable efforts to apply those teachings.  I believe, also in good (and equally well informed) faith, that those who believe this are (for the most part) wrong.  And so it goes.

I want to speak, instead, to something that Michael said about the letter.  Distinguishing between this letter, on the one hand, and the criticisms of Notre Dame's decision to honor President Obama at graduation two years ago, he notes that "President Obama is not a Catholic, so his disagreement with the Church on a range of issues, including abortion, has a different quality than Speaker Boehner's disagreement with the Church on vital issues.  If a university wishes to have a Jewish or Muslim or Hindu graduation speaker, and confer an honorary degree upon him or her, should they not do so because that person denies the divinity of Christ?"

While I agree (of course) that it would be silly to withhold an honor from Obama for not believing in the Real Presence, it is a different thing, I think -- given what the Church teaches abortion actually is, and why it is actually wrong -- to refuse to honor a person, of whatever religion, who errs badly on a question of fundamental justice and who supports constructing and strengthening a legal regime that entrenches, and supports, this injustice.  In addition, and with all due respect, the fact that President Obama is not Catholic does not deflect the concern that Notre Dame was, given all the givens and the relevant context, likely to be understood as saying something (about abortion, and about the gravity of the President's error on this matter of basic justice) that, as a Catholic university (and, Notre Dame is a Catholic university) it should not have said.

UPDATE:  Michael Sean Winters responds to this post here.  He notes, among other things, that the "graduation wars" are continuing at Catholic universities and suggests that, actually, this is not a bad thing.  I agree:  Not every skirmish is edifying or pleasant, but at least they suggest to us an engagement with the question, "given what we are, and aspire to be, what should, and should not, we be saying-through-honoring?"  Responding to my post, he writes:

 I do not think it serves either the Catholic identity of our institutions nor our efforts to protect the unborn to fail to engage those whose views of what justice demands differ from our own. I am glad there was controversy about President Obama’s appearance at Notre Dame. I am glad President Obama listened to Father Jenkins reiterate the Church’s concern for the unborn. I am glad that the entire country was reminded that we Catholics have not – indeed, cannot – abandon our defense of the unborn. But, that is not the only word of Christian ethics. It is only by engaging people who disagree with us that we can, with God’s grace, help them to see the error of their ways. And, a Catholic university is the perfect place for such an engagement.

To be clear -- I have no problem with, and in fact welcome, "engagement" with those who do not (yet, please God) see the injustice of our abortion-related legal regime, and agree with Michael that this engagement can and should happen at Catholic universities.  My expressed concerns about the honorary degree for President Obama have always (I think) focused on (what I worried was) the "social meaning" or "expressive content" of the honor; I would not have objected, at all, to a prominent lecture by the President, on campus, notwithstanding his mistaken views on abortion (and other things). 

I could, I am happy to admit, be wrong:  It could be that what Notre Dame "said" when it honored President Obama was something different (e.g., "let's celebrate this wonderful step along the road to healing the damage caused to our political community by slavery, racism, and Jim Crow -- a road that was so important to Fr. Hesburgh").  But, I still have my concerns.

 

http://mirrorofjustice.blogs.com/mirrorofjustice/2011/05/catholic-academics-criticize-speaker-boehner.html

Garnett, Rick | Permalink

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I'm not a Catholic, and so I cannot speak to how a Catholic university should balance its obligations to religion and scholarly independence. I will say, though, that if any Catholic university allows its faith to impact the range of views that are permissible on campus, I would lose most of my respect for that university as an intellectual institution, and I fear that the student body would fall in quality due to the administration's insistence on purity in certain matters of faith.

Posted by: Andrew MacKie-Mason | May 11, 2011 9:37:23 PM

Andrew, there is no danger of even the most scrupulously Catholic university narrowing the range of opinion that is "permissible" on campus to the extent that is now (sadly) typical at non-Catholic colleges. It is a safe bet that Notre Dame is more diverse, intellectually, than its "elite" secular peers.

Posted by: Rick Garnett | May 11, 2011 11:08:18 PM

Rick: first, the "we're not being any more unprincipled than the other guys" argument isn't a very convincing defense.

Second, while the claim you're putting forward is common, there's (to my knowledge, and despite my attempts to look and asking those who assert it) little-to-no empirical, verifiable evidence of such. It certainly doesn't track with my experiences at the "elite secular peer" institutes that I've attended or been in other ways affiliated with.

Posted by: Andrew MacKie-Mason | May 11, 2011 11:45:12 PM

"Second, while the claim you're putting forward is common, there's (to my knowledge, and despite my attempts to look and asking those who assert it) little-to-no empirical, verifiable evidence of such. It certainly doesn't track with my experiences at the "elite secular peer" institutes that I've attended or been in other ways affiliated with."

See the recent "walk out" at the University of Michigan Law School's commencement by students who labelled Sen. Portman a "bigot" for his views on same sex marriage. My experience at a elite secular university conforms with Prof. Garnett's views. Moreover, I think there's reams of evidence about the proportion of campaign contributions from academics that go to liberal and Democratic candidates for office.

Posted by: Josh | May 12, 2011 9:32:53 AM

First of all, I can understand the concerns that Professor Garnett had about President Obama's speech at ND two years ago. I guess my frustration with the whole "who is fit to speak at a Catholic institution and who isn't" debate is that one gets the sense that it isn't applied consistently across the board. At the risk of beating a dead horse, I'll point to the example of ex-Senator Santorum. He is and has been a strong supporter of our government using waterboarding in our interrgation practices. And waterboarding is internationally recognized as torture and we all know what the Cathecism says about torture. And yet, he can speak at a Catholic instituion and many of the same voices who criticized Presiden't Obama's specch would stand mute.

Posted by: Edward Dougherty | May 12, 2011 10:40:14 AM

Ed, you make a perfectly fair point. My own sense was (and remains) that President Obama's abortion-related record and stance was so salient in the campaign that it created a greater-than-usual danger of the "expressing the wrong thing by honoring" problem. But, my sense could be wrong, and I cannot think of a bright line. (Maybe, "no honorary degrees except to scholars, for their scholarly achievement?") I *do* think (but I know that many disagree) that abortion is, in our time, a *distinctively* important issue, one that it is crucial for Catholic voices to "get right", but this is certainly not to say that other issues don't also deserve and require clear, faithful witness. (I'm open to the argument that torture, in our time, is similarly salient.)

Andrew, I didn't, in my earlier comment, make the argument / defense in your "first" sentence, above.

Posted by: Rick Garnett | May 12, 2011 11:01:46 AM

One can, in good faith, disagree as to what plan is best for the prosperity of our Country, however, one cannot, in Good Faith, deny the fundamental Right to Life that has been endowed by God to every human individual at the moment of their creation, deny that God Has created us male and female, and deny God's intention for Marriage and the family. That being said, while the international community recognizes that waterboarding is a form of mental torture, they do not recognize that abortion is a form of physical torture that results in the death of a human individual.

Posted by: Nancy D. | May 12, 2011 11:04:38 AM

Did any of these professors protest Obama's speech and award at Notre Dame? No? Then they have lost the right to complain about who speaks at CUA. Also killing a baby is not equivalent to someones position on tax policy. The fact is that the faith that Boehner offends isn't their Catholic faith but their liberal faith.

Posted by: Fr. J | May 12, 2011 11:06:00 AM

Thnaks, Professor Garnett. I don't think that your sense is at all wrong and I'm writing this as someone who was a (reluctant) voter for President Obama in 2008. My concern is that your sense should be shared by others in the Catholic community. Mr. Santorum's last indication of his support for waterboarding was during last Thursday GOP candidates debate and I've been waiting for someone (the USCCB for example) to point out the error of his viewpoint when compared to the Cathecism. But I'll get off of that now.

I don't think that there is a bright line, per se, but I think the debate that you present is healthy and very much needed.

Posted by: Edward Dougherty | May 12, 2011 11:20:54 AM

The Santorum case is pretty strongly on point. There is one way (I think instructive) in which it varies.

It may be that Mr. Santorum is convinced in good faith that waterboarding isn't torture and that the internationally-accepted definition of waterboarding as torture is mistaken. If so, then his case would be likened to someone who accepts that abortion is a grave evil but does not think that "this particular procedure" meets the definition. I have doubts about the degree of symmetry there--I don't know that such an animal exists in the abortion debates--but there's some logical space for it. At any rate, he wouldn't quite match up to President Obama's stance on abortion even if there is a reasonable similarity.

Assuming the above is correct, I wonder if an open letter like the one addressed to Speaker Boehner is a good forum for hashing out a "technical issue" like the definition of torture. The genre strikes me as a more appropriate "opening salvo"--invitation to deeper discussion--than as a way to actually persuade and correct. Is this sophisticated form of soap-box preaching (I do not mean that to be derogatory by any means) best for claims about universal principles of ethics, but best left aside when the matter requires more work?

(I think waterboarding is torture and that Mr. Santorum should be persuaded that he is mistaken)<--obligatory internet disclaimer when discussing torture.

Posted by: A Catholic School Teacher | May 12, 2011 12:10:14 PM

"See the recent "walk out" at the University of Michigan Law School's commencement by students who labelled Sen. Portman a "bigot" for his views on same sex marriage."

I think this is pretty much correct. To be sure, students/faculty have every right and should be able to protest speakers whose views they believe are offensive, wrong, etc. And I think the manner in which the protesting graduates demonstrated at the ceremony was well done, not disruptive, and effective (by contrast, consider how certain other Michigan students stood and turned their backs on Gov. Snyder, or those non-student/faculty protesters at Notre Dame who shouted and otherwise disrupted the ceremony). And I think that if students/faculty respectfully protest honorees or speakers that contravene their perspective--Catholic or otherwise--doing so can significantly raise awareness, debate, discussion, and future consideration of those issues by the students/faculty and the speaker. Because it has potential to raise awareness and debate, I don't particularly care about the degree to which the speaker/honoree conforms with the Catholic teaching, nor the particular Catholic teaching; as far as I'm concerned, raising awareness on all "Catholic" issues (whatever those may be) is important. Whether a school may "endorse" or be seen to "endorse" a particular message is a related but somewhat different issue, and with which I think I am in substantial agreement with Prof. Garnett.

But what I think speaks to Prof. Garnett's observation about the relevant diversity of opinion on secular and religious capmuses, and what most troubled me at Michigan was the tone of conversation among students (and to a lesser degree, faculty) on the merits of same-sex marriage. Anti-abortion and pro-same-sex marriage advocates see the respective issues as violations of fundamental human rights. And both issues split the general population to roughly equal degrees. But to my mind, those offended at Michigan made it clear that Sen. Portman's stance was completely unreasonable, bigoted, and not at all open to debate. It was simply impossible to engage in that debate. Those who did were either dismissed in public as ignorant, or scorned behind their backs. Student comments and blog posts made after the "walk out" only cemented my concern. The only subject open to debate was whether someone who held those views should be able to talk at the ceremony.

I have only attended "secular" institutions, so I can't speak to similar events on religious campuses from firsthand experience. But what coverage I saw of President Obama at Notre Dame seemed to indicate that anti-abortion students and faculty (but not necessarily the other protesters) acknowledged and engaged with the other point of view, while affirming and standing for their own. And for the most part, I think that is the same approach taken by the faculty at CUA--I suspect that if Speaker Boehner responded directly to the professors' criticism, there would be continued disagreement, but not vehement denouncing of Speaker Boehner's position as unreasonable or completely untenable. But that acknowledgment and engagement with the other side is what I thought was sorely missing at "elite, secular" Michigan last week.

Posted by: RKS | May 12, 2011 12:19:47 PM

"See the recent "walk out" at the University of Michigan Law School's commencement by students who labelled Sen. Portman a "bigot" for his views on same sex marriage."

That was actually one of the experiences I was relying on for my own claim, and is perfectly illustrative of my point. In the face of significant pressure from its student body, the administration at the University of Michigan Law School didn't rescind their speaking offer to Senator Portman (and I believe gave him an honorary degree?) Professor Garnett, it seems, would have a Catholic University in an analogous position refuse to let Senator Portman's counterpart speak.

As it was, the walk-out constituted a respectful and dignified — and legitimate — form of protest. No one seriously claims that the principles of academic freedom require individuals listen to everyone who's able to string words together. In leaving the auditorium, the protesting students were expressing support for their classmates to whom Senator Portman would deny basic civil rights, but they weren't using the institutional power of the university to declare certain views off-limits.

"But to my mind, those offended at Michigan made it clear that Sen. Portman's stance was completely unreasonable, bigoted, and not at all open to debate."

I believe you would agree that at some point, individuals are justified in considering a certain issue beyond the realm of reasonable debate. Not institutions — and this, I think, is the line between students' attitudes at UM Law and Prof. Garnett's apparent desire that Notre Dame (as a university) deny honors to pro-choice individuals — but individuals certainly have that right.

In most cases, people would benefit from being more open to discussing different points of view. But as Mill says, there is a natural reaction to dangerous moral systems that — as individuals — we should not attempt to suppress. The harm here is mainly to the law students' intellectual development, but it's not comparable to the risks posed by the desired institutional declarations that pro-choice views aren't acceptable.

Rick, enlighten me if I'm misunderstanding you, but how can "Andrew, there is no danger of even the most scrupulously Catholic university narrowing the range of opinion that is "permissible" on campus to the extent that is now (sadly) typical at non-Catholic colleges. It is a safe bet that Notre Dame is more diverse, intellectually, than its "elite" secular peers" be a response to "if any Catholic university allows its faith to impact the range of views that are permissible on campus, I would lose most of my respect for that university as an intellectual institution, and I fear that the student body would fall in quality due to the administration's insistence on purity in certain matters of faith" except as "we're not being any more unprincipled than the other guys"?

Posted by: Andrew MacKie-Mason | May 12, 2011 1:47:32 PM

Rick i totally agree with

Posted by: Natalia Muntean | May 12, 2011 4:06:24 PM

The correct response to Andrew is: "Stuff it. The Catholic Church doesn't need your approval. You need its."

Posted by: Aric | May 12, 2011 4:22:29 PM

Aric, I see no reason to need the Catholic Church's approval. I realize that your sentiment is probably based on your belief that you are competent to dictate my morality: that you are so obviously accessing divine truth that I have no choice but to submit to your faith. But that's a discussion for another day. We're not talking about the Catholic Church. We're talking about Catholic universities.

If those universities were already mere pawns of the Catholic Church, I would have already lost respect for them as intellectual institutions. However, I know that's not true, which is why I didn't hesitate to consider various Catholic universities when deciding my own educational path.

And while my opinion may not have much bearing, universities need to be respected in the intellectual world in order to be effective. If you think that my opposition to sacrificing intellectual freedom on the altar of religious purity is a quirky stance, go ahead and found such a "university." I feel confident, however, that that institution would lose its credibility among all except a narrow sliver of academia.

Posted by: Andrew MacKie-Mason | May 12, 2011 8:23:23 PM

Andrew, to get back to your original comment, isn't it one thing for a Catholic university (or any university) to limit "the range of views that are permissible on campus," and a very different thing to decide who it's going to commend with an honorary degree that accompanies the commencement invitation? Rick was clear, as he's been before, that he wouldn't object to "a prominent lecture by the President on campus." Any commencement-speaking invitation with honorary degree is such a selective matter that I can't see why it's illegitimate for a university to give some consideration to the speaker's views among other factors. Columbia had Ahmedinajad to speak--rightly so on the Millian grounds you set forth--but certainly it could reject (and publicly explain why it rejected) a public proposal that he give the commencement address.

The President is the hardest case, of course, and I'm not criticizing Notre Dame for having Obama. But surely the two categories above involve different considerations from each other.

Posted by: Tom Berg | May 12, 2011 9:17:11 PM

Tom, I think you've gotten at the crux of the issue: thank you. I'm hesitant to suggest that I can say with clarity exactly where the line should be, but let me at least try to illuminate my position.

First, I think the bestowing of an honorary degree and an invitation to speak at commencement are separate issues, potentially confused by the fact that many (all?) universities give honorary degrees to their speakers as a matter of course.

For honorary degrees, I think the important thing be that they're awarded based on certain consistent characteristics, and that other concerns not impact the decision. I have no problem with an honorary degree that's awarded "for exemplifying the teachings and faith of the Catholic Church in public life," but I do have a problem with opposition to certain teachings being a reason not to give someone an honorary degree for, say, "being an important voice in civil public discourse." (Does anyone have a link to the language surrounding Obama's honorary degree?)

Commencement speakers, I think, require a more independent evaluation. A commencement speaker is meant to speak to students, to inspire them, and to be an example for them as they leave the academy. If a university says that only people who adhere to certain controversial beliefs are appropriate to serve as an example to their graduates, they seem to be saying to their graduates "you will only be a legitimate graduate of this university by also adhering to this belief."

Let me close with this: if the risk of "honoring" or appearing to condone a belief justifies excluding a speaker or refusing a more neutral honorary degree, would it also justify, say, refusing to give a PhD to a philosophy grad student who wrote a thesis on the philosophical justifications of the civic right to reproductive choice?

Posted by: Andrew MacKie-Mason | May 13, 2011 12:55:01 AM

No, Andrew, you don't get the point. You object to Catholic universities policing the opinions of their faculty and students. That means you necessarily object to the Catholic Church policing the opinions of its members. In other words, you object to the possibility of doctrine itself. You object to the Catholic Church's saying: "All those who hold the Arian position on Christology are wrong. All those who hold the Pelagian position on grace are wrong. All those who hold Luther's position on the sacraments are wrong. All those who posit that women can be ordained Christian priests are wrong. All those who believe that the state has no interest in using criminal penalties against those who commit or obtain abortion or use birth control or perform acts of sodomy are wrong."

And so, from the top: "Stuff it. The Catholic Church doesn't need your approval. You need its."

But enough of that. It is beneath my dignity to try to persuade people who emply the phrase "dictate my morality."

Posted by: Aric | May 13, 2011 8:55:20 AM

Much like this loudmouthed prosecutor in Oklahoma, the Catholic church needs a good stiff punch in the face: http://lawblog.legalmatch.com/2011/05/10/if-youre-charged-with-felony-murder-dont-sucker-punch-the-prosecutor/

Posted by: Cheryl Lemur | May 13, 2011 1:59:40 PM

Cheryl, why do you believe "The Catholic Church needs a good stiff punch in the face"?

Posted by: Nancy D. | May 13, 2011 3:17:27 PM

Nancy, it could be that Cheryl is an anti-Catholic bigot. It appears likely to me.

Posted by: Fr. J | May 13, 2011 6:31:20 PM

"Aric," your apparent assumption that every faculty member and student of a Catholic university is a member of the Catholic church (which is the only way your claims make any sense, so I'll assume that's what you meant) betrays a fundamental lack of understanding of what Catholic universities are.

I'm also confused by how an apparently intelligent person could read what I've said in this thread and come to the conclusion that I "object to the possibility of doctrine itself". I think that institutions which mandate doctrine are anti-intellectual, but who am I to force people to think for themselves? If people want to join an anti-intellectual religious group, or go to an anti-intellectual "university," they're welcome to do so. But, as I said, "I would lose most of my respect for that university as an intellectual institution, and I fear that the student body would fall in quality".

Finally, your words say: "The Catholic Church doesn't need your approval," but your actions say: "The Catholic Church needs your approval, and so I will become irrationally belligerent should you have the audacity to deny that approval."

Posted by: Andrew MacKie-Mason | May 13, 2011 7:29:47 PM

Thanks, Andrew, for laying out your position. On honorary degrees, then, presumably a Catholic university could take a position that conistently said, "We'll honor people who have contributed to public discourse but haven't advocated against fundamental Church teachings." That would be consistent, and I don't see why a university can't combine two criteria like that.

With respect to commencement speakers, I still think the decision is quite different from, because it's far more selective than, giving a degree to a doctoral student. There are scores of doctoral students and they are bound to take differing positions, so the university cannot plausibly be thought to endorse every position in a thesis for which it grants a degree. With the one commencement speaker, however, the imputation is much more plausible--or at least the imputation that the university doesn't think that the badness of the speaker's bad position is all that weighty. That, I think, is what people were really worried about concerning Obama and abortion: they thought that Notre Dame was communicating that Obama's position, while bad, is not all that bad. Again, I'm not saying that's the right way to read Notre Dame's message, but it seems to me a university can seek to avoid such imputation in its highly selective decisions--who will be a commencement speaker, who will be its president (would you say that Notre Dame shouldn't favor people with Catholic views in choosing its president, if it wants to maintain respect for its intellectual integrity?).

I'll let you have the last word.

Posted by: Tom Berg | May 13, 2011 10:28:26 PM

Thanks, Tom. I appreciate the discourse.

If the university took a consistent and *explicit* line on honorary degrees - that they only go to people who uphold certain values - I think that would be fine. However, I think the explicitness of the criteria is important. If they say the honor is for "contributing to public discourse and the intellectual wealth of our nation," say, but have a silent "in a way consistent with the Catholic tradition" requirement, the message sent is that people who hold certain positions aren't contributing intellectuals. The line up of the meaning of the degree and the understanding of that meaning is important.

On commencement speakers, here's where I think the key issue is: "they thought that Notre Dame was communicating that Obama's position, while bad, is not all that bad." It seems to me that Notre Dame is, in a way, obligated to acknowledge that the position "is not all that bad." It goes back, I think to the commencement speaker's position as a role model and example for the graduating class. Notre Dame should, I believe (to maintain academic and intellectual integrity), tell its students "we may disagree with Obama's position on abortion - we may disagree strongly - but we recognize that this is a view held, legitimately, by members of our student body." To exclude a viewpoint from commencements is, I think, to attack its legitimacy among the student body.

Selection of a president is distinguishable, I think, because the role of a president at a university extends beyond the academic realm. He has some impact on academics and intellectual pursuit, of course, but his (or her) position is also to a significant extent about representing the university as a community. To require that the head for a community has certain values is acceptable in a way that attacking the legitimacy of opposing values among the members of that community is not.

There are other selective positions where I think a Catholic university certainly shouldn't apply a faith-based litmus test. The chairs or deans of academic divisions, for instance: I believe everyone on this site would be outraged if a non-Catholic university passed over a candidate for the head of the Philosophy department because of his views on religion, and I would suggest that the same outrage should be leveled at a Catholic school that passes over a candidate for a similar position based on his views about abortion or the value of human life more generally.

My point is that I don't think the "selectiveness" of a position should be the determining factor for an institution trying to balance intellectual inquiry with a certain identity. Instead, it should be about the role that the position plays within the institution. At times, that may damage the school's image in certain circles, but all of the tough academic freedom cases do. Why have the principle, if an institution isn't willing to stick to it in the tough cases?

Posted by: Andrew MacKie-Mason | May 14, 2011 12:30:31 AM

Andrew, I don't think that a Catholic university would garner outrage at rejecting someone to teach philosophy who believed that the murder of children was a good thing. The outrage would be in actually considering someone with such a reprehensible view. Unfortunately all of this is simply "revenge" for the protests over ND inviting the most pro-abortion leader in US history to speak and giving him an honorary degree. This was an insult to the Catholic witness to life and ND should be doing penance for the next decade for it. None of the professors who signed this had any issue with Obama at ND, at least that I have been able to determine.

Posted by: Fr. J | May 14, 2011 2:42:09 PM

"Fr. J," there may not be outrage at such an action from within the insular Catholic world, but if a Catholic university put ideological limits on academic freedom, it would lose any respect it had among the legitimate academy. It would also make complaints about the treatment of religious people in the secular academy (like Rick's from a few days ago), extremely hypocritical.

Not to mention, of course, that such a decision would be extremely insulting to the moral and intellectual capabilities of the students at the university.

(It's also a bit telling that you apparently find yourself unable to enter into the abortion debate without inflammatory rhetoric that adds nothing of substance, but that's an issue for another day.)

Posted by: Andrew MacKie-Mason | May 15, 2011 10:32:11 AM

Set aside the President as a unique case because of the office, or because he's not Catholic, and so on.

Did any of these Catholic academics wring their hands about Nancy Pelosi?

If not, why should I not write them off as partisans first, and Catholics second or tenth if at all?

Posted by: anon cynic | May 16, 2011 4:49:58 PM

@anon cynic: Need every person devote time to every single violation of their morality they see in order to legitimately hold that moral system? Would that mean that anyone who opposed Pelosi but not Boehner could also be called "partisans first, and Catholics second or tenth if at all"?

Posted by: Andrew MacKie-Mason | May 20, 2011 11:52:30 PM