Pascal’s apologetic and evangelistic method

3 Jul

Men despise religion. They hate it and are afraid it may be true. The cure for this is first to show that religion is not contrary to reason, but worthy of reverence and respect. Next make it attractive, make good men wish it were true, and then show that it is.

pascal

Blaise Pascal was a brilliant 17th-century French mathematician and physicist who had a dramatic Christian conversion experience and thereafter devoted much of his thought to Christianity and philosophy. He began to assemble notes and fragments he hoped would be woven into a book called The Defense of the Christian Religion, but he died just two months after his 39th birthday and it was never written. Those fragments, however, were published as Pensees (“Thoughts”), and it has become one of the most famous Christian books in history.

One of the most interesting of Pascal’s Pensees is the one quoted above. Here Pascal looks holistically at how to present the Christian message to those who do not believe it. He begins with the psychology of non-belief. He says that people are not objective about religion (here meaning Christianity). They really despise it and don’t want it to be true—yet fear it may be true. Some of these are fair-minded people who see good, well-thought-out reasons Christianity is not true. Others are not so fair-minded, and they just vilify and caricature it. But no one is neutral. People know instinctively that if Christianity is true they will lose control, and they will not be able to live any way they wish. So they are rooting for it not to be true, and are more than willing to accept any objections to the faith they hear.

How should Christians respond? Pascal thinks there are basically three stages to bringing someone on the way to faith. First, you have to disarm and surprise them. Many people hope Christianity does not make sense on any level. They especially enjoy hearing about professing Christians who are intemperate, irrational, and hypocritical—this confirms them in their non-belief. When, however, some presentation of Christian faith—or simply a Christian believer’s character—comes across as well-informed, thoughtful, sensible, open-minded, helpful, and generous, then this breaks stereotypes and commands a begrudging respect.

After this, Pascal says, we should be somewhat more proactive. “Next make it attractive, make good men wish [Christianity] were true.” We might object to the term “make” and suggest that Christianity is already attractive, but that’s to miss Pascal’s point. Of course he isn’t saying we should make Christianity into something it’s not; rather, we should reveal, point out, and expose its existing features. But the phrase “make good men wish it were true” gets across that this takes determination and ingenuity. We must know our culture—know its hopes—and then show others that only in Christ will their aspirations ever find fulfillment, that only in him will the plot lines of their lives ever have resolution and a happy ending.

I’m glad Pascal calls for this because, understandably, in these conversations we want to talk about sin and the barrier it creates between God and us. Pascal isn’t arguing against that. Certainly he isn’t telling us to hide that. But do we take time to talk about the manifold and astonishing blessings of salvation? Do we give time and effort to explaining the new birth; our new name and identity; adoption into God’s family; the experience of God’s love and beholding Christ’s glory; the slow but radical change in our character; a growing freedom from our past and peace in our present; power and meaning in the face of suffering; membership in a new, universal, multi-racial counter-cultural community; a mission to do justice and mercy on the earth; guidance from and personal fellowship with God himself; relationships of love that go on forever; the promise of our own future perfection and glorious beauty; complete confidence in the face of death; and the new heavens and new earth, a perfectly restored material world?

If we do this, Pascal gives us a very specific outcome to shoot for. If we’ve pointed out such things in an effective way, then some (though surely not all) will say, “If Christianity really can give that, it would be wonderful. Yes, it would be great if it were true. But of course Christianity isn’t. What a shame!”

Only then will most people sit through any kind of substantial presentation of the evidence and reasons for the truth of Christianity. Now Pascal says to “show that it is [true].” If they have not been brought through stage 1 (being disarmed and surprised by the lives and speech of believers) and stage 2 (seeing the great and attractive promises of God in Christ), their eyes will simply glaze over if you begin talking about “the evidence for the resurrection.” They will still expect Christianity to be at best useless and at worst a threat. But if Christianity has begun to make emotional and cultural sense they may listen to a sustained discussion of why it makes logical and rational sense. By “emotional sense” I mean that Christianity must be shown to be fill holes and answer questions and account for phenomena in the personal, inward, heart realm. By “cultural sense” I mean that Christianity must be shown to have the resources to powerfully address our social problems and explain human social behavior.

Original link

Only if their imagination is captured will most people give a fair hearing to the strong arguments for the truth of Christianity. Let’s appeal to heart and imagination as well as to reason as we speak publicly about our faith in Jesus.

Editors’ note: This article originally appeared in the newsletter of Redeemer Presbyterian Church.

State Silences Bakers Who Refused to Make Cake for Lesbian Couple, Fines Them $135K

3 Jul

Oregon Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian finalized a preliminary ruling today ordering Aaron and Melissa Klein, the bakers who refused to make a cake for a same-sex wedding, to pay $135,000 in emotional damages to the couple they denied service.

“This case is not about a wedding cake or a marriage,” Avakian wrote. “It is about a business’s refusal to serve someone because of their sexual orientation. Under Oregon law, that is illegal.”

In the ruling, Avakian placed an effective gag order on the Kleins, ordering them to “cease and desist” from speaking publicly about not wanting to bake cakes for same-sex weddings based on their Christian beliefs.

“This effectively strips us of all our First Amendment rights,” the Kleins, owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa, which has since closed, wrote on their Facebook page. “According to the state of Oregon we neither have freedom of religion or freedom of speech.”

The cease and desist came about after Aaron and Melissa Klein participated in an interview with Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins. During the interview, Aaron said among other things, “This fight is not over. We will continue to stand strong.”

Lawyers for plaintiffs, Rachel and Laurel Bowman-Cryer, argued that in making this statement, the Kleins violated an Oregon law banning people from acting on behalf of a place of public accommodation (in this case, the place would be the Kleins’ former bakery) to communicate anything to the effect that the place of public accommodation would discriminate.

>>> For more on religious liberty and same-sex marriage, see Ryan T. Anderson’s new book, “Truth Overruled: The Future of Marriage and Religious Freedom.

Administrative Law Judge Alan McCullough, who is employed by the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries and was appointed by Avakian, threw out the argument in the “proposed order” he issued back in April.

But today, Avakian, who was in charge of making the final ruling in the case—and is also an elected politician—reversed that decision.

>>> Emails Raise Questions About Bias in Case Against Sweet Cakes by Melissa

“The Commissioner of the Bureau of Labor and Industries hereby orders [Aaron and Melissa Klein] to cease and desist from publishing, circulating, issuing or displaying, or causing to be published … any communication to the effect that any of the accommodations … will be refused, withheld from or denied to, or that any discrimination be made against, any person on account of their sexual orientation,” Avakian wrote.

(Photo: Alex Anderson/Facebook)

The Kleins’ lawyer, Anna Harmon, was shocked by the provision.

“Brad Avakian has been outspoken throughout this case about his intent to ‘rehabilitate’ those whose beliefs do not conform to the state’s ideas,” she told The Daily Signal. “Now he has ruled that the Kleins’ simple statement of personal resolve to be true to their faith is unlawful. This is a brazen attack on every American’s right to freely speak and imposes government orthodoxy on those who do not agree with government sanctioned ideas.”

Hans von Spakovsky, a senior legal fellow at The Heritage Foundation, called the order “outrageous” and said citizens of Oregon should be “ashamed.”

“This order is an outrageous abuse of the rights of the Kleins to freely practice their religion under the First Amendment,” he said.

It is exactly this kind of oppressive persecution by government officials that led the pilgrims to America. And Commissioner Avakian’s order that the Kleins stop speaking about this case is even more outrageous—and also a fundamental violation of their right to free speech under the First Amendment.

Avakian would have fit right in as a bureaucrat in the Soviet Union or Red China. Oregon should be ashamed that such an unprincipled, scurrilous individual is a government official in the state.

The case began in February 2013 when Rachel and Laurel Bowman-Cryer filed a complaint against the Kleins for refusing to bake them a wedding cake.

At the time of the refusal, same-sex marriage had not yet been legalized in Oregon.

The Bowman-Cryers’ complaint went to the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries, which is in charge of defending the law that prohibits businesses from refusing service to customers based on their sexual orientation, among other characteristics, called the Equality Act of 2007.

In January 2014, the agency found the Kleins unlawfully discriminated against the couple because of their sexual orientation. In April, McCullough recommended they pay $75,000 to Rachel and $60,000 to Laurel.

In order to reach the total amount, $135,000, Rachel and Laurel submitted a long list of alleged physical, emotional and mental damages they claim to have experienced as a result of the Kleins’ unlawful conduct.

Examples of symptoms included “acute loss of confidence,” “doubt,” “excessive sleep,” “felt mentally raped, dirty and shameful,” “high blood pressure,” “impaired digestion,” “loss of appetite,” “migraine headaches,” “pale and sick at home after work,” “resumption of smoking habit,” “shock” “stunned,” “surprise,” “uncertainty,” “weight gain” and “worry.”

In their Facebook post, the Kleins signaled their intention to appeal Avakian’s ruling, writing, “We will not give up this fight and we will not be silenced,” already perhaps putting themselves at risk of violating the cease and desist.

The SC did not legalize same-sex marriage, but mandated it. What’s this anti-federalism mean for other rights?

3 Jul

Eye on the News

ADAM FREEDMAN
Obergefell’s Threat to Religious Liberty
The Supreme Court decision takes self-government out of Americans’ hands.
July 1, 2015

PHOTO BY MARK WILSON/GETTY IMAGES

Despite what the newspaper headlines say, the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Obergefell v.Hodges did not “legalize” same-sex marriage. Itmandated same-sex marriage, something very different. States were previously free to recognize gay marriage, but now they are compelled to do so. From now on, it is illegal—unconstitutional—for any state not to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Many tout Obergefell as a victory for civil rights, but it is anything but. By turning same-sex marriage into a constitutional “right,” the Supreme Court has denied the people of all 50 states the most important civil right of all—the right to govern themselves. A mere decade into the political deliberation on same-sex marriage, the Court has taken the issue away from the voters. According to the narrow 5–4 majority, there has already been more than enough “legislation, litigation, and debate,” as Justice Anthony Kennedy put it.

The damage to democracy is bad enough, but it is greatly compounded by the damage to American federalism. The federal government has no constitutional authority to regulate marriage, nor does it have a roving license to promote “dignity,” “autonomy,” or any of the other amorphous phrases contained in Justice Anthony Kennedy’s majority opinion. If the Constitution granted anything like that kind of authority to the central government, the document would never have been ratified. In FederalistNo. 45, James Madison assured readers that, under the proposed Constitution, the states would remain sovereign over “all the objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people” (emphasis added).

By jettisoning federalism, the Court has put other civil liberties at risk. When the definition of marriage was a matter of state policy, voters and politicians could balance competing interest—particularly the rights of religious organizations that adhere to the traditional definition of marriage—based on local preferences. That kind of balancing is scarcely possible in federal courts, which are, as Chief Justice Roberts pointed out in his dissent, “blunt instruments when it comes to creating rights” because “they do not have the flexibility of legislatures to address concerns of parties not before the court or to anticipate problems that may arise from the exercise of a new right.”

Consider the Court’s rationale in Obergefell. To arrive at its result, the Court held that the Constitution creates a “fundamental” right to same-sex marriage—and that that right is protected from state interference by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. This holding is a variation of the doctrine known as “substantive due process,” a judicial technique used by federal courts to strike down state laws on policy grounds.

Fundamental rights are blunt instruments because they leave lawmakers very little room to accommodate practices inconsistent with such rights. In the new regime, courts will likely hold that states are prohibited from placing any burden on the right to same-sex marriage unless it furthers a compelling state interest. Indeed, Justice Kennedy’s opinion makes numerous references to Loving v. Virginia, the case that struck down bans on interracial marriage. Never mind that the opposite-sex nature of marriage spans all eras and all cultures, whereas the anti-miscegenation laws struck down in Loving are a relic of the relatively brief Jim Crow era; for the Court, both are expressions of rank prejudice. If traditional marriage has the same moral status as Jim Crow, then how can one compromise with its adherents?

It will not be long before the courts are asked to extend the logic of the1983 Supreme Court decision denying tax-exempt status to Bob Jones University because it did not admit applicants engaged in an interracial marriage or known to advocate interracial marriage or dating. The Court held that charitable status was not appropriate for institutions that violate a “fundamental national policy” such as racial equality. Marriage equality is now a fundamental right: how long before it is declared a “fundamental national policy” under the Bob Jones rationale?

During oral argument in Obergefell, Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli, Jr., conceded that colleges and universities that oppose same-sex marriage could lose their tax-exempt status. “It is going to be an issue,” he acknowledged. Justice Kennedy’s opinion offered little solace on this front: a single paragraph of a 28-page opinion, in which he promises merely that religious individuals and organizations “may continue to advocate” traditional marriage. But the First Amendment guarantees the right to the free exercise of religion, not merely the freedom to espouse a religious view. If traditional churches are required to perform same-sex wedding ceremonies and religious schools are required to countenance same-sex marriage, surely they are not enjoying free religious exercise.

Already, a movement is afoot to silence religious opponents of same-sex marriage. Just two days after the Court’s ruling, journalist Mark Oppenheimer took to the pages of Time to argue for the total abolition of tax-exempt status for religious institutions. The American Civil Liberties Union, meanwhile, announced that it would no longer support theReligious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), a federal statute designed to protect Americans against laws that “substantially burden” the free exercise of religion, for fear that RFRA will be “used as a sword to discriminate against women, gay and transgender people.” Liberal outlets such as the Think Progress website, calling the law an expression of “anti-gay backlash,” denounced Indiana’s recent attempt to enact its own version of RFRA.

Judges and bureaucrats will soon order states to remove any support, direct or indirect, for institutions that oppose gay marriage. This trend, of course, is already underway—witness the Catholic Church’s withdrawal from the adoption business in states where adoption agencies must place children with same-sex couples. But it’s one thing to be forced out of Massachusetts; now the Church must reconsider its adoption services throughout the U.S.

Litigation against photographers and caterers who refuse to facilitate same-sex weddings has also been going on for some time. BeforeObergefell, states had a chance to rein in these suits, or at least try to balance the conscience rights of religious Christians against the claims of aggrieved couples. But now that gay marriage is a “fundamental right,” that right must be upheld not only by the government but by also by private companies that operate any “public accommodation.” Depending on the state, public accommodations can include restaurants, stores, hospitals, gyms, barbershops, hotels, libraries, bookstores, concert halls, mortuaries, and trailer parks. Expect private advocacy groups to pressure government prosecutors to root out perceived anti-gay-marriage attitudes throughout the private sector.

The new constitutional right to same-sex marriage will also profoundly affect school curriculum. In 2008, a federal appeals court upheld a Lexington, Massachusetts school district’s decision to teach children as young as kindergarten age about same-sex marriage—despite parental objections based on religious beliefs—because “[g]iven that Massachusetts has recognized gay marriage under its state constitution, it is entirely rational for its schools to educate their students regarding that recognition.” Books like Heather Has Two Mommies and King and King will likely become required reading under state guidelines and the Common Core. Any dissent will be viewed as bigotry.

Other questions linger. Can school vouchers be used at schools affiliated with churches that oppose same-sex marriage? Can a state university employ a professor who opposes same-sex marriage?

It will take some time for the United States to digest the magnitude ofObergefell. Five unelected judges have imposed a still-controversial definition of marriage on the entire country. As first steps, Congress should strengthen RFRA and make it apply explicitly to religious beliefs concerning marriage. States that have not yet enacted their own versions of RFRA should do so as soon as possible. The religious liberty of the American people is at stake.

Listen, to former American slaves speak

2 Jul

Libertarians fear and favor the legalization of same-sex marriage. Richard Epstein, case in point.

1 Jul

From Richard Epstein at Hoover:

It doesn’t take a weatherman to tell which way public opinion blows. The huge uptick of support for same-sex marriage has beendescribed as swift and broad, to which we can add, in all likelihood, lasting.

In my view, every time the defenders of the traditional view of marriage speak in public on behalf of a ban, they lose the support of neutral third parties. The problem is that they are trying to tell other people how they should lead their own lives, and are using the power of the state to do it. Their justifications are far from compelling. They talk about the need for procreation in marriage, though many straight married couples use contraceptives. They talk about the risks to parenting, when there is no evidence that suggests that gay and lesbian couples are worse parents, especially when compared to dysfunctional couples in traditional marriages or single parents of limited financial means. Their arguments against same-sex marriage thus fall flat to modern ears, so that the basic support for same-sex marriage only grows.

The transformation of public opinion dovetails nicely with the recent Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, in which Justice Anthony Kennedy’s Olympian opinion echoed the social tidal wave in favor of same-sex marriage. Kennedy did not bother to articulate what standard of scrutiny, high or low, controls the case. In his mind, the case for an inclusive definition of marriage is so strong that the ban on same-sex marriage cannot survive under any standard of review. Analytically, however, he provided only weak answers to an even more fundamental question: What judgments should be left to democratic processes and what judgments should be insulated against majoritarian politics?

This problem has special urgency here because of the unbroken historical record that defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman. Justinian’s Institutes of the sixth century AD, for example, apply the rules of marriage only to human beings, but treat them as part of “that law which nature teaches to all animals.” That code of law states: “Marriage, or matrimony, is a binding together of a man and woman to live in an indivisible union.”

The defense of the traditional understanding of marriage that was raised forcefully by Judge Jeffrey Sutton in the Sixth Circuit(and picked up by Chief Justice John Roberts in his pointed dissent in Obergefell) raises the question of how can the Court read the Constitution to invalidate the universal definition of marriage as between a man and a woman? Tradition is a legitimate ground on which to defend social legislation elsewhere, so why not here?

The best way to go is to try to understand why the traditional definition of marriage was universal. The defenders of traditional marriage claim that the purpose of marriage is procreation, which is impossible with same-sex couples. Kennedy denies that there is any good fit between marriage and procreation: After all, many men and women wish to marry when they do not or cannot have children, so the state could never condition a marriage license on couple’s commitment to have children.

Nonetheless, this response underestimates the role of procreation in defining marriage. Historically, procreation was widely regarded as the essential purpose of marriage. Indeed, the words in Genesis 1:28, “be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it,” read as much like a command as a blessing. Within this framework, same-sex relationships are different: They can never add offspring to society, but they can reduce them by taking both men and women out of the reproductive market, and thus undercut that social imperative. The preservation of society through reproduction is strongly tied to traditional marriage, but not to same-sex marriage. So why condemn the traditional view as arbitrary when it tends to advance a desirable societal end?

Historically, this point found a constitutional home. Even though the traditional “morals” head of the police power is nowhere mentioned, it had long been used to give the state extraordinary leeway in regulating all sorts of sexual relations, as was detailed in Justice Byron White’s now-widely-reviled 1986 opinion in Bowers v. Hardwick, whose historical accuracy remains unquestioned. As late as 1961, all 50 states outlawed all forms of sodomy, even though many bans fell into desuetude. But throughout it all, no one, anywhere, has suggested that it would fall in the power of the state to abolish the traditional institution of marriage altogether. The overall consequences for child rearing would be disastrous.

It is fair to respond, as Kennedy does, that the advocates of same-sex marriage do not wish to ban marriage but to partake in it, so that there is nothing to fear from the decision except the fuzzy sentiments of individuals opposed to the practice. That is a good reason to ask the legislature to change the definition. But it is less clear that it is a good reason to allow courts to preempt the democratic process. On this point, the Kennedy response is to say that there has already been “far more deliberation” than the Sutton opinion acknowledges in every conceivable forum. In Kennedy’s view, the endless discussion has led to an “enhanced understanding” of the issue—namely his—which displaces the vote as a way to resolve the debate. The dignitary interests of these couples is so strong that it is “demeaning to lock same-sex couples” out of marriage.

Yet at no point does he ask whether the criminalization of polygamous marriages under the Supreme Court’s 1878 decision inReynolds v. United States—an uncommonly ugly invocation of the morals head of the police power—should be overturned given how it demeans and punishes polygamous families. His blinkered view of autonomy lets him attack the restriction of marriage to persons of opposite sexes, but not its limitation to two people.

The Scalia dissent scores big points in attacking Kennedy for judicial hubris, by insisting that the whole point of democracy is not just to inform the justices but to let the people decide on the issue. So Kennedy, like everyone else, must explain why a nationally consequential decision on same-sex marriage should be taken out of the democratic process. His answer is that it involves the assertion of a “fundamental right,” a term that he nowhere defines. Thus, when the fundamental rights of persons are violated, “the Constitution,” he writes, “requires redress by the courts, notwithstanding the more general value of democratic decisionmaking.”

At this point, his analysis turns wobbly. Kennedy eagerly talks about the “dignity” of the individual in two-person marriages. And he lauds the Court’s 1967 decision in Loving v. Virginia for striking down the ban of interracial marriage between a man and a woman, on the combined strength of the Due Process and the Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment. The libertarian foundations of Loving are also evident.

But why stop there when the concept of liberty goes a lot further? In particular, Kennedy never explains why his notions of dignity and autonomy do not require the Supreme Court to revisit its 1878 decision in Reynolds upholding criminal punishment for polygamy, which is still on the books. Nor does he ask whether the dignity of workers could, and should, be used as a reason to strike down the full range of labor regulations on both wages and hours that make it flatly illegal for two individuals to enter into a simple employment contract on mutually agreeable terms.

To his credit, Chief Justice Roberts—no libertarian—sees the connection, and thus uses his condemnation of the 1905 Supreme Court decision, Lochner v. New York, for striking down a maximum hours law, as a cudgel to explain why the Constitution has nothing to say about same-sex marriage. Unfortunately, Roberts lurches too far in the opposite direction. Historically, the case for economic liberties is far stronger than that for same-sex marriage because labor never got entangled with the morals head of the police power. Indeed, much recent scholarship, especially by David Bernstein, shows the dubious special interest, anticompetitive politics that Lochner helped thwart. It would be a lot easier to accept the Kennedy position if he were prepared to embrace a concept of liberty for all by overturning Reynolds and restoring Lochner. But on those areas, inexplicably he flips back to the democratic side, without ever defining the state interest in squashing the operation of competitive labor markets.

It gets worse because in the wake of Obergefell, we have to ask what the next step in the struggle over same-sex marriage will be. By insisting that same-sex marriage is a fundamental right, Kennedy has consciously introduced an equivalence between race and sexual orientation. How far is he prepared to go? In the 1983 case of Bob Jones University v. United States, the Supreme Court upheld an IRS decision to deny tax-exempt status to schools engaging in racial discrimination. The Court acknowledged that it could not outlaw the Church’s practices, which were protected as a free exercise of religion. But the differential tax treatment was fine because “the Government has a fundamental, overriding interest in eradicating racial discrimination in education.”

Can the IRS now deny tax exemption to the Roman Catholic Church on the ground that it rejects, on religious grounds, same-sex marriage? If so, that judicial notion of “fundamental interests” works effortlessly both to expand and contract state power. It can insulate the exercise of some liberties from state control, but allow other liberties to be burdened by differential treatment of other liberties, including those expressly embedded in the Constitution.

Read it all

There is a profound difference in the words “should” and “must” in judicial philosophy and republican government

30 Jun

The question “should there be this law” and “must there be this law” is not a trivial game of semantics. It is foundational to whether we will be a republican styled polity or not. The constitution does not permit or require every law you like. Nor does it prohibit every law you hate. If you think courts must stipulate every law you like and prohibit every law you hate, then you are not suited for republican government.  One may, for instance, believe strongly that states or even Congress should prohibit abortion, or redefine marriage, or provide universal healthcare, while acknowledging that the constitution doesn’t require them to do so.  And questions of “should” are to be generally left to the elective branches for deliberation, not judges, in a republic.

Case in point:

Yesterday, the Supreme Court upheld Oklahoma’s method of execution. In the reasoning, Justice Breyer and Justice Scalia revealed a profound difference in how each understands the role of courts in politics and the interpretive philosophy to be used in deciding cases.

First, Justice Breyer’s view of the constitutionality of the death penalty has evolved, after 20 years of reviewing death penalty cases, such that he now believes that it is “highly likely” that the death penalty violates the 8th amendment’s prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment (he points to accumulating evidence of wrongful convictions). Herein is Breyer’s judicial philosophy. The meaning of the 8th amendment (of the constitution itself) evolves (though the words haven’t changed, nor have the precedents on this matter). And if they do evolve, who gets to decide what the ‘new’ meaning will be? Judges, not the people voiced through elected representatives in states or Congress.

Second, we have Scalia’s judicial philosophy: “Capital punishment presents moral questions that philosophers, theologians, and statesmen have grappled with for millennia. The Framers of our Constitution disagreed bitterly on the matter. For that reason, they handled it the same way they handled many other controversial issues: they left it to the People to decide. By arrogating to himself the power to overturn that decision, Justice Breyer does not just reject the death penalty, he rejects the Enlightenment.”

After Obergefell: Catholic, Protestant, Jewish scholars review

29 Jun

From First Things (well worth your time):

How should we respond to the ruling by the Supreme Court in Obergefell v. Hodges that there is a constitutional right to same-sex marriage? What’s next?

These are the question that we asked the following contributors—male and female, gay and straight, Christian and Jewish, Protestant and Catholic and Orthodox—to answer in this First Things symposium. –Ed.

Full Article

%d bloggers like this: