Ladies for Life

Posts Tagged ‘morality

Over at The Corner (National Review Online), Carl A. Anderson looks at The ‘No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act’ and America’s Hidden Moral Consensus. An excerpt:

The introduction of this bill coincides with two other anniversaries: the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy’s inauguration (January 20) and the 100th anniversary of President Reagan’s birth (February 6). As they prepare to debate taxpayer funding of abortion, congressmen would do well to heed lessons from each of these men.

Though many politicians today compartmentalize their conscience and their beliefs from the way they legislate, President Kennedy laid out a different approach. In Houston, during his run for the White House, he said: “If the time should ever come — and I do not concede any conflict to be remotely possible — when my office would require me to either violate my conscience or violate the national interest, then I would resign the office; and I hope any conscientious public servant would do likewise.” There are always pragmatic reasons to compartmentalize one’s moral compass; one need look no further than C.S. Lewis’s Screwtape Letters. But Americans are tired of that — they want consistency of conscience from their elected officials. They want people of principle.

This brings us to the other anniversary those in Congress ought to consider, President Reagan’s. That the same man who had the moral courage to label the Soviet Union an Evil Empire and tell Mikhail Gorbachev to “tear down this wall” also told us in his 1984 book Abortion and the Conscience of a Nation: “We cannot diminish the value of one category of human life — the unborn — without diminishing the value of all human life.” Ronald Reagan understood that the American people wanted leadership that wouldn’t parse its moral compass based on pragmatic political criteria. As I point out in my latest book, the myth that key social issues evenly divide the American people is preventing us from finding creative solutions that the vast majority of the electorate would agree with.

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C-FAM is asking young people from around the world to sign a petition defending human dignity and human rights. They are hoping to use it to counter some of the policies and programs of the United Nations.

St. Gianna Mola is best known for risking her life (and losing it) to save the life of her unborn child. So, what did the older children think of her sacrifice (which left them without a mother)? See Choosing Life, Not Death by Margaret Cabaniss for a bit of follow-up, including a link to a Catholic News Service interview with one of St. Gianna’s daughters.

What if your mother tells you your father wanted you dead?

Oh, ouch.

See also: Once Upon a Time Daddy Wished You Dead, where similar cases are recounted and discussed.

See also (coming from a different angle on this): After Running From the Abortion Clinic, Young Father Runs For The Gold.

hat tip for first two links: Head Noises

Brian A. Graebe, a seminarian of the Archdiocese of New York, writing at First Things, says:

Nor can such absolutists blind themselves to the traps set by the current discourse, steeped as it is in consequentialist parameters. In any discussion over embryonic stem-cell research, for example, one will inevitably hear an informed and articulate pro-lifer mention the lack of cures that such research has yet yielded. But what defense will remain if, tomorrow, embryonic stem-cell research were to produce a bevy of cures for terminal diseases? Even if the pro-research consequentialist were to accept the above premise, and change his position based on the supposed futility of this research, the victory is a pyrrhic one. For the rules of engagement have shifted onto a pragmatic playing-field, where any moral standard now lies susceptible to a more pressing need. When we compromise even the slightest on intrinsic evils, entertaining effects and trying to use them in our favor, we can hardly be surprised when recourse to first principles no longer carries weight in the great conversations of our day.

In a time when the distinction between can and should has become increasingly blurred, and when fundamental moral norms are under unprecedented attack, the principle of intrinsic evil requires and deserves a staunch defense. The threat of utilitarianism is hardly new; after all, it was the calculating Caiaphas who asserted it was better for one man to die than the whole nation to perish. In the face of public demand for expediency and results—with little or no regard for what seem to be ethical niceties—the pressure of pragmatism can test the purest of consciences. At times the price for holding fast to these absolutes can be very high indeed. But ours is not to count the cost. For these moral norms are not our own; rather, they point always beyond us to a law that we did not invent, a law that we cannot change.

An objective morality naturally bespeaks an objective truth, and in an age of ascendant relativism such allegiance should stand as a sign of contradiction. It ought to lead others to ask a question, or at least a different question: not Does it work?, but Is it right? Without a steadfast adherence to the primacy of that latter question, there is no limit on the brute horrors that wait to be unleashed. The past century is nothing if not a stark lesson in how easily utilitarian calculations can, in the name of some greater good, strike at the very roots of human dignity. Such a conviction as to intrinsic wrongs formed a first line of defense in Mockaitis’ pursuit of justice. For the rest of us, it forms a last line of defense against the triumph of moral anarchy.

Read the whole article: Today’s Practical Problem (First Things, May 8, 2009).

hat tip: The Anchoress

Zenit has an interview with Mariangela Sullivan, the founder of a new law student coalition at Notre Dame called Notre Dame Action Coalition. In the interview, Sullivan takes a long view, addressing the years-long divisions in the Catholic church that have now come to a head, and looking forward. While the discussion is aimed primarily at Catholics, there’s some good food for thought there for all of us, I think.

hat tip: Joseph Pecar


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