Mirror of Justice

A blog dedicated to the development of Catholic legal theory.
Affiliated with the Program on Church, State & Society at Notre Dame Law School.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Spanish Civil War

Like Rick Garnett, I know little of the Spanish Civil War. I do not think the Church should have supported either side. Its tight connections with Franco served to damage the Church in the long run (as Jose Casanova has shown convincingly) as have most of its tight connections with dictators. (Is Constantine an exception?).
With respect to abortion, I understand the argument for the analogy. I do not understand the purpose of the analogy. Surely, it would not persuade anyone who favors Roe. Those who favor Roe do not think that the unborn have the same moral status as the born. The Spanish Civil War analogy does nothing to speak to them. Perhaps it is designed to light a fire under those already persuaded. But if those persuaded already see abortion as mass murder, I do not see the point.
In any event, if Stith is right in the Stith/Penalver dispute, I think it over the top to maintain that the impingements on religious liberty (notice I am not now talking about abortion) in the United States are comparable to the murders in Spain. I agree that hospitals should not be forced to have abortions or supply contraceptives (though I do not think government need fund hospitals that do not offer the care government seeks to support). I agree that Mormons should not be subjected to violence (to what extent are they?; Is the Spanish Civil War really an apt comparison here?) or discrimination (though I think far more than Rob's view in Commonweal (an otherwise excellent article)  that they are fair subjects of criticism as are all citizens; in this respect and in many others I do not agree with Rawls' public reason doctrine).
Stith says that the actions of the Republican regime explain (but do not justify) the violent reaction. Perhaps I have to sunny a view. I do not see Catholic or Mormon violence (in reaction to infringements on religious liberty) on the horizon in the United States. Again I am having trouble seeing the pragmatic point of the analogy to the Spanish Civil War. If it is just an intellectual exercise. Fine. Nothing wrong with that.


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