On “Slippery Slopes”: A Response to Richard Mouw

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That's the title of my latest essay over at The Catholic Thing. It is a response to a First Things blog post by Richard Mouw. Here's how my piece begins: My friend, Richard Mouw, a philosopher and former president of Fuller Theological Seminary, has raised an important challenge about the use of counterexamples when making one’s case on certain controversial moral and political questions.He shares one of the arguments he employs to explain to his friends why he opposes the legal recognition … [Read more...]

My chapter in the new book, Reason, Revelation, and the Civic Order: Political Philosophy and the Claims of Faith

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Northern Illinois University Press has just published Reason, Revelation, and the Civic Order: Political Philosophy and the Claims of Faith. Edited by Paul DeHart (Texas State University)  and Carson Holloway (University of Nebraska, Omaha), I am proud to be one of the contributors along with Peter Augustine Lawler (Berry College), Robert C. Koons (University of Texas), J. Budziszewski (University of Texas), James Stoner, Jr. (Louisiana State University), R. J Snell (Eastern University), Ralph C. … [Read more...]

Neuhaus’ Law and Beckwith’s Law

John Finnis, Fr. Neuhaus, yours truly, & Jeffrey Stout at Princeton in 2003. We were part of panel discussion at a conference on religion and secularism

"Beckwith's Law" is the title of  the latest column I published over at The Catholic Thing. It concerns what I have dubbed, unsurprisingly,  "Beckwith's Law": Whenever a practitioner of a traditional vice appeals to the right of privacy as the justification for the state to leave him alone to engage in that vice, he will inevitably demand that the state require that those who morally disapprove of his practice cooperate with it, either materially or formally. My column begins this way: The l … [Read more...]

My new article in Ratio Juris: “Justificatory Liberalism and Same-Sex Marriage”

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Earlier this week I was informed that my article, "Justificatory Liberalism and Same-Sex Marriage," has just been published in the journal Ratio Juris: An International Journal of Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law 26.4 (December 2013): 487-509. Here is the abstract of the article: Supporters of Justificatory Liberalism (JL)—such as John Rawls and Gerard Gaus—typically maintain that the state may not coerce its citizens on matters of constitutional essentials unless it can provide public justif … [Read more...]

Dr. J., Religion, and the Bigotry of Superficial Sophistication

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That's the title of my most recent column over at The Catholic Thing. Here's how it begins: When I was a kid in the 1970s, most liberal-minded adults, in order to make sure you knew that they harbored no racial prejudices, often went out of their way to say what they thought were kind things about minorities – which actually revealed just the opposite. So, for example, after watching a television interview of the great professional basketball star Julius Erving (aka “Dr. J.”), one of my fathe … [Read more...]

Reconsidering the First Freedom: Second Thoughts

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That's the title of an essay I published in the latest issue of The City, a publication of Houston Baptist University. It is a review of  Religious Liberty, Why Now?: Defending an Embattled Human Right, by The Task Force on International  Religious Freedom of the Witherspoon Institute (Princeton, NJ: The Witherspoon Institute 2012). Here's how my essay begins: In a class I teach at Baylor University, “Law and Religion in the United States,” I begin the semester by asking my students this questio … [Read more...]

The Pluralist Game

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That's the title of my latest entry over at The Catholic Thing.  Here's how it begins: This is how it works. The political liberal, unable to win much support for the goodness of the activity he wants permitted, makes this suggestion to his adversaries: why don’t we let each individual decide for himself whether or not he wants to do X.  His doing X does not affect you, since the state is not forcing you do to X. So, this is a perfectly neutral position consistent with individual liberty. By acq … [Read more...]

Ever Wonder Why Secular Elites Are So Ignorant of Faith and Reason Issues?

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Short answer: they don't think there are any issues.  The longer answer is found in my latest entry over at The Catholic Thing. Entitled, "Faith, Reason, and Secular Hegemony," here's how it begins: About a year ago I was invited to contribute to a book on the topic of political philosophy and religious beliefs, set to be published next year by a university press. My chapter, tentatively titled, “Fides, Ratio et Juris: How Some Courts and Some Legal Theorists Misrepresent the Rational Status of … [Read more...]

The Parable of the Kosher Deli: Bishop Lori’s Statement to the House Committee on Oversight regarding Religious Freedom

I anticipate the bishop's analogy in my October 14, 2011 Catholic Thing essay, "President Obama: Ex-Liberal." Here is the text of Bishop Lori's statement: … [Read more...]

We Are All Imbeciles Now: The HHS Regulations and the Specter of Buck v. Bell

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That's the title of a piece I published earlier this week over at Bench Memos on National Review Online. Here's how it begins: In the 1927 case Buck v. Bell, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a Virginia statute that allowed the “superintendent of certain institutions” to order the sterilizations of “feeble-minded” persons who were under the care of these state institutions, if the superintendent“shall be of opinion that it is for the best interests of the patients and of society that an inmate under … [Read more...]


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