Saturday, November 28, 2009

George Weigel: The Natural Law = Bigotry? Please.

Excellent read over at the Denver Catholic Register by George Weigel.   I'll start you out here and you'll have to follow the link to finish the article:

The Natural law= bigotry? Please.

On Nov. 3, Ken Cuccinelli was elected attorney general of Virginia in a landslide. His 15 percent margin of victory strongly suggests that Old Dominion voters were unimpressed by a shrill Washington Post editorial published on Oct. 30, which opined that Mr. Cuccinelli “would likely become an embarrassment for the commonwealth” as his “affability and quick wit … have tended to mask his extremist views.”

What, you ask, were those “extremist views”? Well, the 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. Mr. Cuccinelli did not propose to prosecute, much less jail, every gay and lesbian between the Potomac River and the North Carolina border, and no sane person thought he intended to do so. Yet 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 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.

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.

Was Jefferson a bigot when he staked America’s claim to independent nationhood on “self-evident” moral truths derived from “the laws of nature?” Was King a bigot when, in his “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” he argued that “an unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law”? Was John Paul II a bigot when, at the United Nations in 1995, he suggested that the truths of the natural moral law—“the moral logic which is built into human life”—could serve as a universal “grammar” enabling genuinely cross-cultural dialogue? Please.

Continue reading George Weigel's article at the Denver Catholic Register

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The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church; it is the disobedient who are held captive by the world!