Seven Quick Takes (6/11/10)

Seven Quick Takes (6/11/10) June 11, 2010




Today, I’m moving to Washington DC for my summer internship and the packing and preparations for said trip are the reason the blog’s been dark this week (and probably next as well). After my first week on the job, though, I’ll be starting regular posts, beginning with a discussion of C.S. Lewis’s Mere Christianity (the first apologetic work I ever read).


And speaking of the move, I’m still trying to attend Mass every week, so I’d be grateful for any church recommendations in the DC area. I can’t drive, so ideally, any church would be within walking distance of a bus or metro stop.


This NYT article on Sweden’s efforts to get more men to take paternity leaves is a great example of government using its power to shape culture for good. Aside from the obvious good of parents spending more time with their children, apparently divorce rates are falling. 


Also in the NYT, I was delighted to see a feature in the Beliefs column on my friend Eve Tushnet. Eve was the first person I met who treated religion as something that shapes her, rather than the other way around. I have complained previously about the unwillingness of liberal theists to recognise that an actual god might ask something that doesn’t jibe with our sense of fairness or morality and could nonetheless be right. Although I disagree with Eve about the existence of her god, I don’t try to refute her merely because the moral code she is required to follow doesn’t match my moral intuitions.

A number of my liberal Christian friends are excited about the news that a group of Catholics have declared union busting to be a mortal sin. As the daughter of two teachers, I’m fairly pro-union, but this kind of thing always seems excessive to me. It feels like people twisting theology to make sure that their pet issue is recognized. Mortal sin, venial sin, or just plain secular wrong, the point is that you oughten’t do it. The specific hierarchy of erring feels less important.



The most troubling part of the article linked above for me was this section:

The scholars explained that under church teaching, such a right is rooted in divine law and that efforts to break a labor organization using civil laws is comparable to idol worship, which is contrary to the First Commandment.


This is actually what atheists worry about when religion and politics cross paths. The exemption of earthly law is always a risky proposition, but, it plays a lot better for people practicing civil disobedience when it is situated in the rhetoric of natural law, not divine law. This allows the possibility of correcting earthly law.
Divine law, as interpreted by these scholars, is not common to all Americans or even all American Catholics. It is a poor groundwork for efforts to change laws in a democratic system. The reasoning behind the law ought to be accessible to all.
Although I’ve been remiss about posting over here, I do have a piece up at the Yale Political Union blog about the recent kerfuffle over Helen Thomas. Check it out here: “Barack Obama wants his cupcakes back

[Seven Quick Things is a blog carnival run by Jen of Conversion Diary]

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