Only by modeling true community, oriented towards the transcendent, can the church show a rapidly destabilizing world of expressive individuals that there is something greater, more solid, and more lasting than the immediate satisfaction of personal desires. The second in a two-part essay.
Pillar: <span>The Human Person</span>
The first pillar of a decent society is respect for the human person, which recognizes that all individual human beings have dignity simply because of the kind of being they are: animals whose rational faculties allow them to know, love, reason, and communicate. It also recognizes that human beings are persons, members of the human family who flourish in a community that respects their fundamental rights and who long to discover transcendent truths about the nature of reality.
The notions that human flourishing is found primarily in an inner sense of wellbeing, that authenticity is found by being able to act outwardly as one feels inwardly, and that who we are is largely a matter of personal choice not external imposition have become common intuitions that lie at the heart of our society’s many ills. The first of a two-part essay.
Americans need not accept an interminable status quo of indifference toward the rights of the child, due either to the timidity of our political elite or to the presumption of our judiciary class. The ‘Lincoln Proposal’ offers pro-life presidents the clearest way to confront Roe v. Wade’s jurisprudence of violence and doubt and to protect the constitutional rights of preborn persons.
If the president and his administration are to be credibly accused of inconsistency with respect to their stance on using fetal cell lines from abortions, it would not be because the president personally received a dose of Regeneron’s drug, but rather because of a very different ethical failure: his administration’s channeling of hundreds of millions of dollars of taxpayer funds directly into the development of COVID-19 vaccines that utilize abortion-derived cells for their production.
When we deliberate about how the Church, the state, various institutions, and all individuals should navigate the crisis of COVID-19, we are in fact deliberating about what ultimate common good we collectively belong to. Yes, we are called to protect our own bodily life and the lives of others, but we are also inclined by nature to participate in communities of friendship, extended family life, truth-seeking, meaningful work, gainful employment, liturgy, and contemplation.
If the state seeks to protect the human body, it should do so in view of a more ultimate flourishing of the whole human person, for the sake of a civic society that promotes the free pursuit of spiritual goods. In a public health crisis, the ways we pursue these goods can be altered temporarily, but if the alterations threaten to radically alter the long-term pursuit of these goods, we must question these new policies.
Adam MacLeod’s new book, “The Age of Selfies,” represents a worthy contribution to the intellectual retracing of our steps that we must pursue if we hope to restore reason and civility to our public discourse. Our freedom and social tranquility depend on a renewed seriousness about natural law and objective moral truth.
Christians like Tim Keller are to be commended for trying to fight racism with theology and scripture. But Keller’s use of the Bible on race assigns contemporary meanings to ancient texts that their authors never intended to convey.
Are pro-life stings justified to change hearts and minds? Or do they make us complicit in new wrongful choices?
Individuals who are victims of abuses against their fundamental human rights can and should be defended and protected using existing human rights laws and norms, regardless of their race, nationality, gender, sexual orientation, or any other distinguishing characteristic. UN member states and human rights advocates alike should work to promote and protect fundamental, natural human rights, not redefine or eliminate rights based on their particular policy preferences.
If life is sacred, food must be sacred too, since it makes life possible. And the higher the order of life which is given up to be food, the more sacred the food. That’s why vegetables are harvested, while animals are sacrificed. That’s why the Catholic Church considers the sacrifice of the Mass, when God offers his body as food for our corporal and spiritual nourishment, the source and summit of the Christian life.
All “dissidents” and men of good will need to give serious thought to the ways they might resist the regnant ideological lies all around us. In this task, Rod Dreher’s Live Not By Lies will remain indispensable for what might be a long time to come.
The pitfall of standard anti-racism is its simplistic attribution of all such disparities to systemic racism or racist policy. Simplistic analysis suggests simplistic solutions, some of which may be detrimental to black people. Heterodox thinkers challenge simple diagnoses and solutions, steering us toward constructive endeavor to achieve genuine progress.
While both presidential candidates have changed their views on abortion over the past decades, their actions in recent years clarify the direction that they would likely take while in office. President Trump has maintained a consistent pro-life record in office that affects the regulations of various executive agencies and American leadership on the world stage. On the other hand, former Vice President Biden has moved to support his party’s current position of actively promoting federal funding for the abortion industry and cementing abortion as a constitutional right.
In an era of new options, more choices, greater temptations, high expectations, consistent anxiety, and endemic uncertainty, nothing about the process of marrying can be taken for granted—even among those belonging to a faith that has long encouraged it. In an era of independence, intentionally becoming interdependent seems increasingly risky.
The American Journal of Psychiatry has issued a major correction to a recent study. The Bränström study reanalysis demonstrated that neither “gender-affirming hormone treatment” nor “gender-affirming surgery” reduced the need of transgender-identifying people for mental health services. Fad medicine is bad medicine, and gender-anxious people deserve better.
Our culture’s deep ingratitude is the long, nihilistic outworking of the logic of modern thought itself. When human experience is reduced to only will and power struggle, there no room for gratefulness. Those of us who have not renounced cosmic order and the providence that brings that order to fulfillment, by contrast, know that all things willed or permitted by God work for good. Thus we should be grateful—profoundly grateful—for everything.
While autonomous vehicles sound freeing at first, they also have the potential to increase passivity and decrease human agency.
Given a government’s mandate to preserve the common good, the goal of a national strategy for vaccine allocation should be to mitigate morbidity and mortality by ending the pandemic in the most efficient and rapid manner possible. This would better protect both the individual good of each citizen and the common good of the commonweal.
Senator Hawley should turn the tables during confirmation hearings and force Democrats to defend their abortion extremism. What’s more, he should act on precedents stemming from the days of Lincoln down to our own, precedents involving the authority of the political branches to counter at times and limit the holdings of the Supreme Court.
Political realities can be confronted and transformed, but they cannot simply be imagined away. Unfortunately, Senator Hawley’s pro-life litmus test promises no more success in the future than it would have had in the past.
The emerging discussion about in vitro gametogenesis and other types of multi-parent technologies demands renewed attention to why children do well with only two parents, and why those parents do best to procreate in the ordinary way, even with all its inefficiencies, burdens, and failures.
Manufacturing children using the genetic material of multiple parents is not a prospect to be celebrated. It is a dystopian technology, making children, as if they were consumer goods, and unmaking the family, as if it were not essential to the common good.
To have any chance of seriously mitigating common misperceptions of religious freedom, Evangelicals must publicly demonstrate a sincere commitment to religious pluralism and its necessary counterpart, religious literacy.
An integral part of the Christian calling is to pursue goods greater than ourselves.