Can the Personhood of the Embryo Be Rejected Based on Supposed Bad Consequences of Believing In It?

Karen, in the combox in a previous post, raises this concern: Persons get to sue.  If this law passes [i.e., the Mississippi personhood amendment], miscarried embryos can sue their mothers for negligence that resulted in the miscarriage. Examples of things that cause early miscarriage are bicycling, horseback riding, breastfeeding, drinking coffee, tea, and alcohol.  Insurance companies face astounding potential liability for covering restaurants or holiday camps that allow women of childbearing … [Read more...]

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President Obama: Ex-Liberal

That's the title of my latest entry over at The Catholic Thing. Here's how it begins: President Barack Obama has abandoned liberalism.  What I mean by liberalism is not the political philosophy that we typically associate with left of center politicians and candidates.  The President, of course, remains unabashedly in that camp. What I am referring to you is a particular posture concerning moral questions the President has publicly embraced on several occasions. It is from that liberalism he has … [Read more...]

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Interracial Marriage and Same-Sex Marriage: Why the Analogy Fails

That is the name of an article I published last year on the website, Public Discourse: Ethics, Law, and the Common Good, an online publication of The Witherspoon Institute. Here's how it begins: While doing research for an academic paper on the topic of same-sex marriage and political liberalism, I was struck by how many authors, including judges, draw an analogy between bans on interracial marriage and the present law in almost every state in the United States that recognizes marriage as a … [Read more...]

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A Second Look at “First Things”

That is the title of my recent entry over at The Catholic Thing. It is adapted from a portion of a paper I delivered on May 17, 2011 at Princeton University as part of panel celebrating the 25th anniversary of the publication of Hadley Arkes’ First Things: An Inquiry Into the First Principles of Morals and Justice (PrincetonUniversity Press, 1986). Here's how it begins: Most books and articles in political and legal philosophy are dry. One rarely finds in them humorous anecdotes, memorable cha … [Read more...]

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Law, Liberty and Virtue – a Conference at Princeton University – 16-17 May 2011

Next week I will be at Princeton University participating in what promises to be an outstanding conference: Law, Liberty and Virtue (May 16-17, 2011). I will present a paper as part of the panel on Tuesday afternoon (May 17), "Revisiting Hadley Arkes’s First Things on its 25th Anniversary." The other panel members include Hadley P. Arkes (Amherst College), Diana J. Schaub (Loyola University Maryland), Michael Uhlmann (Claremont Graduate University) and Robert P. George (Princeton Unive … [Read more...]

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And that the ladder of the law has no top and no bottom: Bob Dylan’s lyrics find their way into many judicial opinions

(HT: Bill Glennen)From the LA Times: On summer nights in the mid-1960s, while black-and-white television crackled elsewhere in his Staten Island home with news of Southern violence and Vietnam, Bobby Lasnik would stretch out in his bedroom to let the righteous soundtrack of the civil rights movement waft into his impressionable teenage soul.Tuned in to WBAI-FM, coming across the water from Manhattan, he heard baleful laments about injustice that he would carry with him for a … [Read more...]

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Al Mohler: Killing of bin Laden was just, but not an act of justice. Is this possible?

Albert Mohler, Jr., president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, makes this statement in a recent blog post on the killing of Osama Bin Laden: "The death of bin Laden was fully justified as an act of war, but not as an act of justice. The removal of a credible threat to human life — a clear and present danger to human safety — is fully justified, especially after such an individual has demonstrated not only the will, but the means to effect murder on a massive scale."I'm not sure what to … [Read more...]

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Are monogamy-only laws unconstitutional?

Apparently so, according to the Attorney General and the President. On Wednesday, they told us that they will no longer defend sec. 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act in federal court because it is unconstitutional, since it allegedly violates the 5th amendment and thus does not withstand heightened scrutiny. Here's what sec. 3 states:"In determining the meaning of any Act of Congress, or of any ruling, regulation, or interpretation of the various administrative bureaus and agencies of the … [Read more...]

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My review of Abortion: Three Perspectives, by Tooley, Wolf-Devine, Devine, and Jaggar

I recently published this review in the journal Faith &  Philosophy 27.4 (2010): 478-482.  Here's how it begins: It has been nearly four decades since the U.S. Supreme Court held that there is a right to abortion protected by the U.S. Constitution. Yet, the question ofabortion’s moral and legal permissibility, and all the attendant issues about the nature of law, human persons, and morality, continue to be seriously (and sometimes not so seriously) engaged in the public square. Given the meta … [Read more...]

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October 15 on Catholic Answers Live!

On October 15 3-4 pm PDT I will be the guest on Catholic Answers Live to discuss my recently published article in the September/October 2010 issue of The Rock, "Government Forms (and Deforms) the Soul."Portions of the article are adapted from my latest book, Politics for Christians: Statecraft as Soulcraft (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2010) … [Read more...]

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