If you want to understand the theory behind the Consistent Life Ethic (CLE) as well as how to practice it, Aimee Murphy’s book, Rehumanize: A Vision to Secure Human Rights for All, is a vital resource.
In a previous blog, I discussed the fact that the Consistent Life Ethic is part of Catholic teaching. Consequently, Catholics, in particular, should be interested in Murphy’s book. https://www.patheos.com/blogs/musingsfromthepew/2021/09/consistent-life-is-catholic/
In a relatively thin volume, Murphy manages to explain CLE with clarity and simplicity. It’s multiple references to philosophers, religious leaders, and social researchers somehow don’t make the book a slog to read.
Instead, the book is easy to understand, and even the footnotes can be interesting. There may be 507 of them, but they either add brief, interesting adjunct information or they serve as evidence of her research, thus adding validity to her claims.
The founder of Rehumanize International, Aimee Murphy uses this book to educate and to share her passionate belief in the innate dignity of every human being. Paramount to this belief is that the ultimate insults to this dignity are violence and killing. Peace comes when we respect each other’s value as a person.
Structure of the Book
The book proposes ways to end violence in: Reproduction (InVitro Fertilization and abortion), War (war and military torture), Response to Crime (police brutality, torture in the justice system, and the death penalty), and Response to Disability (euthanasia and filicide, assisted suicide).
Each section defines the topic, identifies the violence, gives an analysis and brief history of the culture and policies pertaining to the topic, and then recommends solutions.
A very useful feature of each chapter is when Murphy provides the most common arguments against the CLE point of view with nonviolent counterpoints.
Each chapter ends with a short list of possible discussion questions and suggestions for further reading on the topic. Thus, the book can be used for a class or discussion group.
Murphy then presents a review on ways to end dehumanization and rehumanize the world. Here, she covers the changes needed to combat ableism, ageism, classism, homophobia/transphobia, racism, and sexism.
The book concludes with suggestions for putting the Consistent Life Ethic into action. Basically, she recommends living your CLE convictions, even to the point of interrupting conversations to suggest replacing biased words with unbiased alternatives. She also recommends building and transforming your community and building a culture of encounter.
Reviews and Book Tour
Unless you have written a truly worthwhile book, you don’t get rave reviews from Martin Sheen (who participated in the book launch), Jeannie Gaffigan, Gloria Purvis, Helen Alvare, and leaders of various CLE organizations.
Murphy is worthy of the praise and the faith of the Magenta Series Editor, Charles Camosy (a prolific and much-admired author and professor of Ethics). Readers can be sure of a captivating read and useful material in Rehumanize: A Vision to Secure Human Rights for All.
Currently, Aimee Murphy is on a nation-wide tour with her book (until Dec. 14). You can find out more and check her schedule at https://www.rehumanizeintl.org/book-tour-2022.
She is giving talks for low- or no-cost and welcomes your help to set up and advertise for these impactful events. If you live in any of the cities on her tour list, please reach out to email@example.com or Herb Geraghty at firstname.lastname@example.org to help lay the groundwork for an awesome event in your community.