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Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Natural Law = Bigotry? Please.

I love George Weigel.

He is quite possibly THE most articulate Catholic apologist in America today, as well as the most learned historian of our Church. Yet, the main reason I love his writing has to do with his adeptness at explaining the Catholic teachings that are rooted in natural-law thinking. He explains them in such a way that anyone, even a non-Catholic, can understand. And what I appreciate the most is the way in which he continually hammers home this point that one needn't be Catholic to accept the arguments that Catholics raise in the public square.

A favorite quote of mine on this point came from a piece he wrote back in April about the Obama-Notre Dame controversy:

"Daley and Biden (and Kathleen Sebelius and John Kerry and Barbara Mikulski and Susan Collins and Clan Kennedy and the rest of the Catholic pro-abortion pols) are not the arbiters of the truth of Catholic faith. More to the public point, they are dead wrong on what is at stake in the life-issues debate. For what is at stake, to repeat, is not some peculiarity of Catholic dogma but a publicly accessible truth about justice that everyone willing to take an argument seriously can grasp."

But what I really wanted to highlight today was his Nov. 27 column on Catholic Exchange, titled: "The Natural Law = Bigotry? Please."

It's full of good stuff, but here are a few highlights:

"...[T]he Post's indictment -- in an editorial titled 'Mr. Cuccinelli's bigotry' -- centered on the fact that candidate Cuccinelli had described homosexual behavior as contrary to 'natural law' and had further suggested that natural law was a useful guide to public policy...the Post's anonymous editorial writer described Mr. Cuccinelli's appeal to natural law as a 'retrofit (of) the old language of racism, bias, and intolerance in a new context'...Baloney. What's being retrofitted here is an old-time anti-Catholic bigotry, tarted up in the guise of tolerance and extended to those who think there are moral truths built into the world and into us -- truths that we can grasp by reason." [emphasis added]

Bravo, Prof. Weigel, on the restatement of the definition of natural law. Moral truths built into the world and into us. I like it. Here's another passage:

"Ken Cuccinelli is a serious, practicing Catholic. He's also a sophisticated politician who knows that you don't argue public policy in the public square on the basis of uniquely Catholic theological premises. Rather, you make your arguments in a public vocabulary, accessible to all. That's the grammar and vocabulary of the natural moral law: the basis on which Thomas Jefferson argued the case for American national independence, Martin Luther King, Jr., promoted the civil rights of African Americans, and John Paul II passionately and effectively defended the religious and political rights of all." [emphasis added]

He goes into further detail about how these leaders argued their cases in the public square and how ridiculous it is to call any of this "bigotry." Go and read the whole thing.

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