Birtherism survives as an unreasonable surrogate for the public discussion that the left has stifled.
Wordsworth denounces those who reduce human worth to utility and teaches us that the goodness of being is absolute. We must learn to love those incomparably useless and precious beings, the child, the elderly, the unborn, and the dying, because they and we are one.
By showing the triumph of the therapeutic over the orthodox in American Christianity, Ross Douthat’s latest book gives Americans on both sides of the political divide much to consider.
How many Solzhenitsyns are occupying the pipelines of novelists in America?
Even if the marriage plot has dissolved, the human drama remains. It just resurfaces in a different context.
The Matrix and The Karate Kid offer two competing views of the relationship between how we learn and how we understand human nature.
While Islam opposes same-sex marriage, its opposition to it and to President Obama’s stance is not a matter of hate or bigotry but a matter of principle.
Liberals and conservatives alike often complain hypocritically about judicial activism. If we are to avoid letting judicial activism become rule in favor of whatever causes justices approve, then we should make the presumption of constitutionality a basic principle of judicial review.
Recent empirical research suggests that, in virtually every respect, polygamy is socially detrimental—to society in general, to men, to women, and to children.
The views about faith and religion that President Obama expressed in his Commencement Address at Notre Dame pave the way for his HHS mandate. He would protect the state from the church, not by privatizing faith, but by redefining it.
We should pass Unborn Child Protection Acts and begin the conversation about the pain of the unborn.
The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act does not deserve the support of the public because it is unconstitutional and represents poor public policy.
The electorate will often forgive—and can even embrace—a clean conversion story, where a politician honestly changes his mind and admits to it. But on marriage, such a story should not be available for the President, who was either alarmingly befuddled for several years or merely lying.
Given the legal principles involved in recognizing same-sex relationships as marriages, it’s hard to see any coherence in President Obama’s statement.
Paul Ryan’s budget plan does not violate principles of Catholic social teaching; it is one prudent application of them.
Yesterday’s statement about same-sex marriage by President Obama and last week’s departure of a gay-rights activist from the Romney campaign reveal important lessons.
The failure to grasp the implications of intrinsic human worth plagues arguments for physician-assisted suicide and voluntary euthanasia.
Though we feel that we human beings are meant for something, not individually and arbitrarily, but together and truly, we lack the language and even the political sanction to think along those lines.
A thought experiment crystalizes the reality that the connection between sex and children is marriage’s central element, and consequently the contemporary idea of marriage as existing for the desires of adults makes little sense.
Jeffrey Eugenides shows what happens to the novel when courtship and marriage lose their binding character.
Virtuous citizenship requires building moral consensus across religious and cultural divides. The third in a three-part series.
The largely forgotten history of evangelical political activism forces us to re-evaluate the rights and wrongs of the Religious Right movement. The second in a three-part series.
The legacy of the great Protestant schism a century ago continues to hinder evangelicals from finding satisfactory ways to participate in America’s civic order. The first in a three-part series.
On August 2, 2018, Pope Francis announced an update to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, making a prohibition on the death penalty official Catholic teaching. Prior to this change, many scholars believed that the historic teaching of the Church did not declare capital punishment intrinsically immoral, even if the practice is, as a matter of prudence, not required in countries with modern prison systems that can safely isolate dangerous criminals. Other scholars argued that the natural law duty to respect all human life does in fact render any intentional taking of human life morally unacceptable, and that this development of doctrine does not contradict any infallible teaching. The articles below lay out this debate, with clear summaries of the arguments on both sides.
Intentional killing is always wrong, and support of capital punishment often stems from a misunderstanding of the nature of human dignity.
If one accepts the legitimacy of punishment and the principle of proportionality, then it is impossible to claim that capital punishment is intrinsically wrong.
Nothing that a man does can change his nature as man, and so, considered in himself, it will always remain wrong to kill him. This should be the final judgment of practical reason when brought to bear on the question of capital punishment.
While not explicitly denying the principle of proportionality, Tollefsen implicitly rejects it, leaving his argument not only counterintuitive but incoherent.
The presumptive starting point in the natural law and, more specifically, Christian tradition is one of absolute opposition to intentional killing of beings created in the image of God, for which exceptions must be earned; but the traditional justifications for such exceptions fail.
Edward Feser and Joseph M. Bessette’s new book asserts that Catholics cannot legitimately reject the death penalty as wrong always and everywhere. They are wrong. Part one of a two-part essay.
Four conditions must be met for a teaching of the Catholic Church to be considered infallible. Acceptance of the death penalty meets none of them. St. John Paul II laid down theoretical markers that provide a clear basis for a Catholic teaching rejecting the death penalty in principle. Part two of a two-part essay.
Arguments against the death penalty can be made not only on the basis of theology but also on the basis of natural law philosophy. The first in a two-part series.
There is a genuine tension, not just in Aquinas but in Church teaching more generally, between claims about the intrinsic goodness, sanctity, and inviolability of human life, and claims about political authority to kill. The second in a two-part series.
E. Christian Brugger is wrong: neither scripture nor tradition could justify a reversal of the Church’s millennia-old teaching on capital punishment
If E. Christian Brugger is right, then the Church has been teaching grave moral error and badly misunderstanding scripture for two millennia. Nothing less than her very credibility is at stake.
Aquinas taught the principle that a punishment ought to be proportionate to the offense, where death is a proportionate punishment for the gravest crimes.
It’s three times more likely that you’ll die of lightning than that Aquinas will turn out to be wrong about something. The same cannot be said of New Natural Law philosophy.
Reason operating without error judges that no human being should ever intend the death of another human being for any reason whatsoever. No achievable good can justify such a choice. And that is the foundation for the case against the death penalty.