Terry Eagleton: An unbelieving age

    Terry Eagleton at Commonweal: “In an age in which the concept of certainty smacks of the tyrant and technocrat, a certain agnosticism becomes a virtue. Indeterminacy and undecidability are accounted goods in themselves. Conviction suggests a consistency of self that does not sit easily with the volatile, adaptive subject of advanced capitalism. Besides, too much doctrine is bad for consumption. Beliefs are potentially contentious affairs, which is good neither for business nor for political stability. They are also commercially superfluous. The fervent ideological rhetoric needed to found the system thus fades as it unfolds. As long as its citizens roll into work, pay their taxes, and refrain from assaulting police officers, they can believe pretty much what they like.”


  • Posted: 03/12/2014
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  • Category: Miscellaneous
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  • Source: www.commonwealmagazine.org

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Sex, Drugs, and Religious Liberty

Talking on What Is Marriage? | NRO interviews Robert George

What Makes a Marriage? Love, Sex, or Comprehensive Union | Sherif Girgis, Ryan T. Anderson and Robert P. George

    Sherif Girgis, Ryan T. Anderson and Robert P. George at Public Discourse: Prof. Charles Reid thinks love makes a marriage. He claims we think sex makes a marriage. In truth, comprehensive union makes a marriage. And getting marriage right matters for everyone . . . Redefining marriage collapses the distinction between marriage and companionship in principle and in practice. It therefore undermines all the marital norms . . .


  • Posted: 12/02/2013
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  • Category: Marriage & Family
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  • Source: www.thepublicdiscourse.com

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Masking Totalitarianism | Walter Williams at CNSNews

Conscience is not simply self-will, it is subject to the moral law | Robert George at Public Discourse

Love and Unity: Sexual Ethics in the Modern World | Christopher Kaczor at Public Discourse

America’s Moderate Liberalism: Rediscovering Montesquieu, Recovering Balance

Justice Antonin Scalia says constitution not meant to answer moral questions

Why Libertarians Should be Pro-Life on Abortion

No City of Man Without the City of God | Alan Sears at Townhall

USCCB staff criticizes ‘flawed anthropology of sexual orientation’

Bishop highlights link between religious liberty, natural law

Rarely Seen Copy Of Magna Carta Coming To Houston

Is Secularism Neutral?

Calling and Witness, Holiness and Truth | Ryan T. Anderston at First Things

Sharing Truth in Love | Kathryn Jean Lopez at Patheos

The Declaration of Independence and the American Creed

Same-sex marriage decisions beg question, should America’s new motto be ‘in polls we trust’? | Cal Thomas at Fox News

“Ryan Anderson’s uphill fight to change young minds on gay marriage” | Sarah Pulliam Bailey at Washington Post

Natural Law and the Economy: A Reply to Miller | Samuel Gregg at Public Discourse

The Common Good: Instrumental But Not Just Contractual | Robert P. George at Public Discourse

Man the Political Animal: On the Intrinsic Goodness of Political Community | Michael W. Hannon at Public Discourse

Why Hayek is a Conservative | Jordan Bloom at the American Conservative

Conservatives and the Non-Triumph of Capitalism | Samuel Gregg at Public Discourse

Hidden implications and roots of the clash between natural law, “natural rights,” the rise of so-called “same sex marriage”

The road to same-sex marriage was paved by Rousseau | Robert R. Reilly at MercatorNet

    Robert R. Reilly at MercatorNet: Since how we perceive reality is at stake in this struggle, the question inevitably rises: what is the nature of this reality? Is it good for us as human beings? Is it according to our Nature? Each side in the debate claims that what they are defending or advancing is according to Nature. Opponents of same-sex marriage say that it is against Nature; proponents say that it is natural and that, therefore, they have a “right” to it. Yet the realities to which each side points are not just different but opposed: each negates the other. What does the word Nature really mean in this context? The words may be the same, but their meanings are directly contradictory, depending on the context. Therefore, it is vitally important to understand the broader contexts in which they are used and the larger views of reality of which they are a part since the status and meaning of Nature will be decisive in the outcome.


  • Posted: 04/16/2013
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  • Category: Marriage & Family
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  • Source: www.mercatornet.com

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Part II–Self-Governing Individuals Are Necessary for a Self-Governing Society

    Diane Rufino at Beaufort Observer: What exactly do we mean by “Our Christian Heritage”? We certainly don’t refer to it as a way to suggest that Christianity be the official religion of the United States. We have the First Amendment to protect us from the establishment of any one religion, so that our religious conscience is free from the coercion or criticism of other religions (or non-religion) and no one is forced to support an offensive religion with their tax dollars . . . Michael and Jana Novak, “Washington’s Providence,” Alliance Defending Freedom. Referenced at: http://www.alliancedefendingfreedom.org/Faith-and-Justice/5-3/Opinion


  • Posted: 04/15/2013
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  • Category: ADF in the News
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  • Source: www.beaufortobserver.net

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The Pursuit of Happiness, the Pursuit of Virtue, and the Right of Conscience | Bradley Abramson at Townhall

Same-Sex Marriage and the Abyss of Nihilism | Carson Holloway at Public Discourse

Are We Guilty for Our Religious Belief?

Natural Law Liberalism Beyond Romanticism

Natural Law And Secular Enlightenment Morality

    Pascal Emmanuel Gobry at The American Scene: But of course, as any freshman philosophy student can tell, the problem comes when you try to ground those universal human rights. Where do they come from? Who confers them? Why should they be respected? There’s basically only two ways to do so, one theistic and one non-theistic. Universal human rights are perfectly grounded if they come from God, as the Declaration of Independence asserts and as I believe in my heart of hearts. But not everybody likes that, and it sort of defeats the purpose of creating this secular moral system to begin with. The only other way that I’m aware of to ground the idea of universal human rights is in, wait for it, the natural law.


  • Posted: 02/27/2013
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  • Category: Global: Bench and Bar
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  • Source: theamericanscene.com

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Population Decline and the Birth Dearth | Scott Yenor at Public Discourse

Direct Killing as Intentional Killing | E. Christian Brugger at Public Discourse

Sneering Social Constructionists | Mark Bauerlein at Public Discourse

The Wisdom of Robert Bork | WSJ

The Abolition of Man-and-Woman: On Marriage, Grammar, and Legal Strategy

Big Government Should Not Redefine Marriage | Ryan Anderson at Double Think

Potentiality Rightly Understood | Mathew Lu at Public Discourse

Many Christians do not see same-sex marriage as an issue of ‘fairness’ | Steven Douglas at MinnPost

    Steven Douglas at MinnPost: The argument over same-sex marriage does not start in the political realm but in the philosophical. Many of the proponents of same-sex marriage with whom I speak assume that we agree on who we are on a basic level and therefore the way we should plot our political course forward. That’s where they’re wrong. Many Christians still hold to the truth of Scripture, often called inerrancy, and believe that God created humanity in his image (Genesis 1:27). These Christians reject the theory of macro evolution as an explanation of human origins. We see the role of image-bearing, generally called imago Dei, to be what defines us.


  • Posted: 10/16/2012
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  • Category: Featured
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  • Source: www.minnpost.com

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Same sex marriage is a philosophical impossibility

God runs deep: The crux is not just a platform word | Hadley Arkes

    Hadley Arkes at National Review: For it’s not a matter of one word more or less, one or more mentions of God. The real heart of the issue is that most of the people in that hall, in the Democratic convention, really don’t accept the understanding of rights contained in the Declaration of Independence: The Declaration appealed first to “the Laws of Nature and Nature’s God” as the very ground of our natural rights. The drafters declared that “self-evident” truth that “all men are created equal,” and then immediately: that “they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights.” George Bush was not embarrassed to insist that these are “God-given rights,” as opposed to rights that we had merely given to ourselves. For if we had given them to ourselves, we could as readily take them back or remove them.


  • Posted: 09/06/2012
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  • Category: Featured

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Getting Dignity Right

Government, Natural Law, and the Modern State

    Jeff Mirus at Catholic Culture: Several of our readers have commented on the importance of governmental adherence to a law higher than itself. One of the grave problems in America and many other modern states is that the reigning philosophies of jurisprudence are rooted in positivism, or the idea that right and wrong, particularly in the realm of law, are simply what we say they are. Thus human law does not appear to be accountable to anything beyond itself.


  • Posted: 08/09/2011
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  • Category: Miscellaneous
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  • Source: www.catholicculture.org

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Philosophy, Marriage, and Moral Grandstanding

The puzzle of intolerant tolerance

Does Marriage, or Anything, Have Essential Properties?

    The key is to see that while procreation is the biological good in virtue of which a man and woman’s intercourse unites them in mutual bodily coordination, this bodily union is an aspect of a comprehensive relationship valuable in itself and not just as a means to procreation. So the ancient philosophers saw what our legal tradition has long affirmed: marriage is a procreative relationship, but its intrinsic value remains whether or not children are born as the fruit of the spouses’ union.


  • Posted: 01/12/2011
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  • Category: Featured

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Book Review: The Fetal Position: A Rational Approach to the Abortion Issue

Don Marquis and Michael Tooley discuss abortion on Philosophy TV

    Philosophy TV: “According to Tooley, abortion is morally permissible: a fetus is not a person, so it cannot have a right to continued existence. To support his view, he defends a neo-Lockean account of personhood grounded in psychological continuity. Against Tooley, Marquis defends an animalistic view of personhood, and argues that most instances of abortion are wrong for the same reason that killing you or me would be wrong: an abortion deprives a fetus of a future of value.”


  • Posted: 01/04/2011
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  • Category: Sanctity of Life
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  • Source: www.philostv.com

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Marriage: No avoiding the central question

Prof. Kenji Yoshino at Slate: “My response to Robert P. George’s second attempt to justify banning gay marriage”

    Kenji Yoshino writing at Slate: “[T]hose who have propounded trans-historical, much less eternal, definitions of marriage have often been time’s fools. Fifty years from now, I expect new challenges will be made to the definition of marriage. Yes, such challenges could take the form of challenges to recognize polygamous marriages (in fact, such challenges would not be new, as they were made on grounds of the free exercise of religion in the 19th century) . . .  I refuse to answer the question ‘What is marriage?’ by saying ‘Marriage is one thing, always and everywhere, for all people.’ I regard that refusal as a strength, rather than as a weakness, of my position, as I do not think we stand at the end of history today.”


  • Posted: 12/22/2010
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  • Category: Marriage & Family
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  • Source: www.slate.com

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Theodore Dalrymple: The Pope vs. the failed materialists

America’s Epicurean liberalism

    “[T]he American regime has been dominated for nearly a century by a set of ideas shot through with epicurean influences. This creed celebrates individual liberty, which makes it a form of liberalism. But it defines that liberty in relation to an exceptionally radical ideal of individual self-fulfillment, which makes it epicurean.”


  • Posted: 12/14/2010
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  • Category: Featured
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  • Source: www.nationalaffairs.com

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Samuel Gregg: “Socialism and solidarity: It is at our own peril that we ignore the nexus between moral convictions, the institutions in which they are realized, and our economic culture.”

    Samuel Gregg writing at The Public Discourse: “[W]hile moral beliefs have an important impact upon economic life, the manner in which they are given institutional expression also matters. This is illustrated by the different ways in which people’s responsibilities to those in need—what might be called the good of solidarity—are given political and economic form . . . [I]t is widely assumed throughout Western Europe that this moral responsibility should be primarily articulated through state action . . . Though Americans tended, Tocqueville noted, to dress up their assistance to others in the language of enlightened self-interest, he observed that Americans usually expressed the value of helping those in need through the habits and institutions of free and voluntary association.”


  • Posted: 12/13/2010
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  • Category: Miscellaneous
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  • Source: www.thepublicdiscourse.com

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William Carroll: The problem with reductionist accounts of life

    William Carroll writing at The Public Discourse: “Many biologists who insist that living things are nothing more than the sum of their physical components conclude that a question such as ‘what is life?’ is at the very least not a biological question, and probably is best rejected as a question without content. So we hear that one ought to resist using the term ‘life’ to describe what is just a highly sophisticated movement of matter. In an important sense, according to such a view, ‘life,’ as something other than matter in motion, does not exist. For those scientists and philosophers who embrace some form of materialism there is a strict disjunction: either we explain the living in terms of material, mechanically operating constituents, or in terms of some mysterious spiritual substance, some vital force. There is no substitute to materialism but magic.”


  • Posted: 12/10/2010
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  • Category: Sanctity of Life
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  • Source: www.thepublicdiscourse.com

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Peter Wehner: The soul of the state

Peter Lawler: Locke and today’s judicial activism on marriage

The limits of the American Founding: What our political fathers didn’t teach us

    Peter Augustine Lawler, Ph.D. writing at The Family in America: “That our principles are primarily Lockean is not all good or all bad, but it is a problem that should receive scrutiny from conservatives in a friendly and loyal but nonetheless real criticism of the Founders as theorists . . . The embedded family of Western civilization, however, was clearly under assault by Locke. Consequently, a defense of the family, the church, and the local community in our time has to be in opposition to the application of his principles in every area of life. More than anything else, Americans cannot turn to Locke or even Jefferson to learn why the family and religion are good for their own sakes as the core of who we are; we cannot learn from them the whole truth about who we are as social and relational persons created in the image of God.”


  • Posted: 11/16/2010
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  • Category: Marriage & Family
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  • Source: www.familyinamerica.org

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Charles Taylor: The meaning of secularism

    The Meaning of Secularism
    Charles Taylor, The Hedgehog Review 12.3 (Fall 2010)

    “One of our basic difficulties in dealing with these problems is that we have the wrong model, which has a continuing hold on our minds. We think that secularism (or laïcité) has to do with the relation of the state and religion, whereas in fact it has to do with the (correct) response of the democratic state to diversity. If we look at the three goals above, they have in common that they are concerned with protecting people in their belonging and/or practice of whatever outlook they choose or find themselves in; treating people equally whatever their option; and giving them all a hearing. There is no reason to single out religious (as against nonreligious), ‘secular’ (in another widely used sense), or atheist viewpoints. Indeed, the point of state neutrality is precisely to avoid favoring or disfavoring not just religious positions, but any basic position, religious or nonreligious. We can’t favor Christianity over Islam, but also we can’t favor religion over against nonbelief in religion, or vice versa.”


  • Posted: 11/09/2010
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  • Category: Religious Liberty

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Stanley Fish: Religion and the liberal state once again

    Stanley Fish writing at The New York Times / Opinionator: “Liberalism is the name of an enlightenment theory of government characterized by an emphasis on procedural rather than substantive rights: the law protects individual free choice and is not skewed in the direction of some choices or biased against others; the laws framed by the liberal state are, or should be, neutral between competing visions of the good and the good life . . . The key distinction underlying classical liberalism is the distinction between the private and the public. This distinction allows the sphere of political deliberation to be insulated from the intractable oppositions that immediately surface when religious viewpoints are put on the table. Liberalism tells us that religious viewpoints should be confined to the home, the heart, the place of worship and the personal relationship between oneself and one’s God.”


  • Posted: 11/02/2010
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  • Category: Religious Liberty
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  • Source: opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com

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Insignificant is beautiful: Why exactly do we want to make a difference in the world?

    Mark Galli writing at Christianity Today: “Generation Y is into social justice — so say generation gurus . . . That Generation Y cares about social justice is linked to another aspiration: the yearning for significance. This generation wants to make a difference in the world, to work on things that matter, engage activities that change the world. Again, this is hype, since people in every era want this. But it is nonetheless something to celebrate whenever we find it. But before we break out the champagne, we are wise to consider the seamier sides of this aspiration. First, the yearning for significance can be nothing more than ego masked as altruism . . . Second, the search for significance, especially if it requires changing the world, can blind us to the everyday tasks, the mundane duties, and the dirty work that is part and parcel of the life of discipleship.”


  • Posted: 11/01/2010
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  • Category: Marriage & Family
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  • Source: www.christianitytoday.com

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Law Review: What Pragmatism Means by Public Reason

    Roberto Frega, What Pragmatism Means by Public Reason (October 19, 2010). Ethics & Politics, Vol. XII, No. 1, pp. 28−51, 2010. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1694494

    “In this article I examine the main conceptions of public reason in contemporary political philosophy (Rawls, Habermas, critical theory) in order to set the frame for appreciating the novelty of the pragmatist understanding of public reason as based upon the notion of consequences and upon a theory of rationality as inquiry. The approach is inspired by Dewey but is free from any concern with history of philosophy. The aim is to propose a different understanding of the nature of public reason aimed at overcoming the limitations of the existing approaches. Public reason is presented as the proper basis for discussing contested issues in the broad frame of deep democracy.”


  • Posted: 10/21/2010
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  • Category: Bench & Bar
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  • Source: ssrn.com

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John Finnis: The other f-word

    John Finnis, Professor of Law and Legal Philosophy in the University of Oxford and the Biolchini Family Professor of Law at the University of Notre Dame, has this article at Public Discourse: “The Other F-Word.” The Public Discourse editors summarize: “In an article adapted from his debate last week with Peter Singer and Maggie Little on the moral status of the ‘fetus,’ Professor Finnis explains that outside of medical contexts use of the word ‘fetus’ is offensive, dehumanizing, prejudicial, and manipulative. It obscures our perception of moral reality. Moral status is not a matter of choice or grant or convention, but of recognition, of someone who matters, and matters as an equal, whether we like it or not.”


  • Posted: 10/20/2010
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  • Category: Sanctity of Life
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  • Source: www.thepublicdiscourse.com

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WSJ book review: What ever happened to Modernism?

    Eric Ormsby reviews What Ever Happened to Modernism? by Gabriel Josipovici in The Wall Street Journal: “Modernism is a kind of anguished repudiation—’a response to the simplifications of the self and of life that Protestantism and the Enlightenment brought with them.’ Its intimacy lies in the stubborn effort, especially on the part of Modernist novelists, to render those little hesitations, those sieges of doubt, those anxious questionings that beset us even as we attempt to construct some credible narrative of our lives. The true Modernist narrative always involves a disrupted momentum . . . The origins of Modernism lie in disillusion or, more precisely, in what the German poet Friedrich Schiller called ‘the disenchantment of the world’ . . . In the mid-16th century, the old certainties, the immemorial rituals, the hierarchies of the heavens and earth seemed to crumble. As Mr. Josipovici explains, Schiller’s phrase was taken up early in the 20th century by the sociologist Max Weber, who used it to explain the radical transformation of the world that occurred after the Protestant Reformation, from a divinely appointed cosmos, alive with numinous presences, to a bustling marketplace of enterprise, production and rampant individualism.”


  • Posted: 09/27/2010
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  • Category: Miscellaneous
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  • Source: online.wsj.com

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E. Christian Brugger: More on marriage and contraception

    E. Christian Brugger, D.Phil, writing at the Culture of Life Foundation: “To be consummative (i.e., to be an act by which the spouses become one flesh), intercourse must be ‘marital.’ To be marital, it must be performed ‘in a human way’ and must be ‘in itself suitable for the procreation of children’ . . . To be performed ‘in a human way,’ requires at a minimum that the performance is not contrary to human freedom . . . Those who contracept aim to render their act of intercourse non-procreative (i.e., unsuitable for the procreation of children). So they intend a non-marital and hence non-consummative act. It follows that should they conceive a child contrary to their intentions, they do so by means of a non-marital act. It is important to see that contraception as a moral act is not defined merely by some physical outcome. Rather, it is defined by what one intends as an end or a means.”


  • Posted: 09/09/2010
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  • Category: Sanctity of Life
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  • Source: culture-of-life.org

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The Prop 8 decision and the “dictatorship of liberalism”

    Edward Feser writing at What’s Wrong With the World: What we’re seeing here is just one more application of the fraudulent principle of ‘liberal neutrality,’ by which the conceit that liberal policy is neutral between the moral and metaphysical views competing within a pluralistic society provides a smokescreen for the imposition of a substantive liberal moral worldview, on all citizens, by force. (Of course, liberals typically qualify their position by saying that their conception of justice only claims to be neutral between ‘reasonable’ competing moral and metaphysical views, but ‘reasonable’ always ends up meaning something like ‘willing to submit to a liberal conception of justice.’) . . . Pope Benedict XVI has famously spoken of a ‘dictatorship of relativism.’ But I think that that is not quite right. Most liberals are not the least bit relativistic about their own convictions. A more accurate epithet would have been ‘dictatorship of liberalism,’ and in Judge Walker that dictatorship has taken on concrete form.”


  • Posted: 08/05/2010
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  • Category: Marriage & Family
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  • Source: www.whatswrongwiththeworld.net

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What should medicine do when it can’t save your life?

    Atul Gawande writing in The New Yorker: “In the past few decades, medical science has rendered obsolete centuries of experience, tradition, and language about our mortality, and created a new difficulty for mankind: how to die . . . The trouble is that we’ve built our medical system and culture around the long tail. We’ve created a multitrillion-dollar edifice for dispensing the medical equivalent of lottery tickets—and have only the rudiments of a system to prepare patients for the near-certainty that those tickets will not win. Hope is not a plan, but hope is our plan.”


  • Posted: 08/04/2010
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  • Category: Sanctity of Life
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  • Source: www.newyorker.com

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What social science does–and doesn’t–know

    Jim Manzi writing at City Journal: “Over many decades, social science has groped toward the goal of applying the experimental method to evaluate its theories for social improvement. Recent developments have made this much more practical, and the experimental revolution is finally reaching social science. The most fundamental lesson that emerges from such experimentation to date is that our scientific ignorance of the human condition remains profound. Despite confidently asserted empirical analysis, persuasive rhetoric, and claims to expertise, very few social-program interventions can be shown in controlled experiments to create real improvement in outcomes of interest.”


  • Posted: 08/02/2010
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  • Category: Miscellaneous
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  • Source: www.city-journal.org

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The Manhattan Declaration and Christian principles

Robert Wright v. Robert George on moral reasoning and the natural law

    Big Questions Online: “In the first installment of his monthly ‘diavlog’ for BQO, Robert Wright discusses how we reason about the human good with Robert P. George of Princeton University, a leading scholar of modern natural law theory. Their hour-long conversation covers: Chapter 1: Natural law vs. utilitarianism (12:01) Chapter 2: Why exactly is friendship good? (14:03) Chapter 3: Euthanasia and human dignity (7:22) Chapter 4: Natural law and conservativism (5:02) Chapter 5: What can be done in the name of the greater good? (12:28) Chapter 6: Just war theory (6:17).”


  • Posted: 07/22/2010
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  • Category: Sanctity of Life
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  • Source: www.bigquestionsonline.com

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Gregory S. Baylor: A report from FIRE’s Campus Freedom Network Conference

Law Review: Re-Framing Our Perspective on the End of Life

    Stopping for Death: Re-Framing Our Perspective on the End of Life
    Ruth C. Stern and J. Herbie Difonzo, 20 U. Fla. J.L. & Pub. Pol’y 387 (2009)

    “This Article argues neither for nor against physician aid in dying. Rather, it reflects upon our growing sensitivity to suffering, and how this increased knowledge alters expectations of the doctor-patient relationship. Further, learning more about the nature and impact of serious illness highlights some of the limitations of our current end of life laws and policies. The legal parameters for voluntarily ending our lives are confused and in conflict. Moreover, they have been debated and enacted amidst a cacophony of rights’ talk, discourse about the permissible extent of governmental authority and the range of constitutionally-commanded privacy. Indeed, the current clamor threatens to drown out more subtle yet insistent voices asking that, before we bestow a right, we thoroughly investigate the nature of the wrong. But an insufficient amount of scholarly literature has addressed the conditions at ground zero in the assisted suicide debate: the quality of life of those near death, as well as their expectations for care and how a reasonable society might fulfill them.”


  • Posted: 07/21/2010
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  • Category: Sanctity of Life

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