Philosophy, the Handmaid of Judicial Review

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That's the title of my latest entry over at The Catholic Thing. Here's how it begins: In his most recent column here at The Catholic Thing, my friend Hadley Arkes raises the question as to why the federal courts, and the Supreme Court in particular, could not extend the protections of the Fourteenth Amendment to unborn human persons by employing the same reasoning these courts have utilized elsewhere. What Hadley is suggesting in his query should be uncontroversial:  the courts must apply … [Read more...]

Crime and Punishment at Penn State

That is the title of the piece published by my fellow contributor at The Catholic Thing, Brad Miner. Here's how it begins: Author’s Note: The crimes described below are stated frankly. Those who do not wish to read details about sexual assaults are cautioned. Former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno is Roman Catholic and a regular churchgoer, not a nominal believer. Surely, he paid attention to the scandals that have roiled the Church in recent years. And you might suppose he learned … [Read more...]

The Question Behind Our Political Divisions

That is the title of my most recent entry over at The Catholic Thing. Here's how it begins: The political regime of the United States of America is one founded on three core philosophical ideas:  natural rights, consent of the governed, and the rule of law. The American Founders put in place a structure – a federal constitutional government of divided powers consisting of states with their own republican governments – in order to ensure that these core philosophical ideas stood the … [Read more...]

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 … [Read more...]

The Christian University

That's the title of my latest entry over at The Catholic Thing. It is adapted from my September 23, 2011 talk at the installation of Myron Steeves as Dean of Trinity Law School. Here's how it begins: As is evident by where and how we mark this event – in a church, accompanied by prayer and song – Trinity Law School, and the university of which it is a part, is Christian. “Christian” may seem a mere adjective that modifies “university” or “law school” in the same way that … [Read more...]

Revelation, Sacred Tradition, and the Magisterium

That's the title of my latest column over at The Catholic Thing. Here's how it begins: This past Tuesday, September 13, I taught my first RCIA class, offered at St. Peter’s Catholic Student Center at Baylor University. Although I have been teaching philosophy to college students for twenty-five years, I was a bit nervous. Thankfully, I have a minor role in the class, leading only one session this semester with perhaps another one or two in the Spring. Our RCIA team consists of several … [Read more...]

Secular Gnosticism and “The New York Times”

That's the title of my latest entry over at The Catholic Thing. Here's how it begins: Just this past week, Bill Keller of the New York Times opined about the religious beliefs of several Republican presidential candidates, suggesting clusters of questions that he would like to ask each of them. Keller’s column has been justly criticized and ridiculed by many writers, including the folks at Get Religion. Not only because of the factual errors that pepper Keller’s epistle, but the crude and … [Read more...]

The Eucharist and Cannibalism

My Baylor colleague, Michael P. Foley (associate professor of patristics), is a new contributor to The Catholic Thing. His first entry was published today. Entitled, "The Eucharist and Cannibalism," it begins this way: Perhaps the most disconcerting Catholic doctrine is the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament. Many people today have the same reaction as those disciples who heard Jesus preach it for the first time in Capernaum and were scandalized, “This saying is hard, and … [Read more...]

Thomson’s “A Defense of Abortion” at Forty

That's the title of my latest entry over at The Catholic Thing. It is adapted from portions of my August 3, 2011 presentation at the University of Colorado symposium commemorating the 40th anniversary of Thomson’s article. Here's an excerpt: What Thomson is granting, then, is a view of personhood consistent with the pro-life position only insofar as it is aligned with a minimalist understanding of autonomy and choice. That view isolates the individual from other persons – generationally, … [Read more...]

Unexamined Ballot, Not Worth Casting

That's the title of my latest entry over at The Catholic Thing. Here's how it begins: During the 2012 political campaigns for a variety of local and state-wide offices, chances are that you will have a candidate ring your doorbell or you will encounter one at a public gathering. He will tell you all about himself, hand you a piece of literature, and then ask if you have any questions. This is your chance to find out what the candidate really thinks. You have to be very careful, however, … [Read more...]


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