Thursday, December 23, 2010

Lose the baseball analogy, Robert P. George, because your argument against gay marriage stinks

Maggie Gallagher and Robert P. George,
author of The Manhattan Declaration
with Watergate felon Chuck Colson
Most of you haven't heard of Robert P. George; he lectures on jurisprudence at Princeton and moonlights as an attacker of gay marriage. But he's real refined, see? In fact, the New York Times Magazine thinks he's America's "most influential conservative Christian thinker." At the National Organization for Marriage, before there was a Maggie Gallagher or a Brian Brown, there was Robert George.
     George's philosophical opposition to gay marriage is why the National Organization for Marriage isn't just a bunch of common bible bigots, you see?
     It's important for NOM's prestige that it has a philosophical hood ornament like George.
     Unfortunately, Slate thinks George's argument stinks. And it said so last week. That upset George, who then claimed that the person who took apart his and his co-authors' arguments [1] ignored his central arguments, [2] made unwarranted linguistic associations, [3] indulged in pejorative labeling, and [4] studiously ignored every challenge he posed.

 The Manhattan Declaration, a theocratic manifesto drafted primarily by George, reflects the author's non-evolved, School of Salamanca view of natural law, one devoid of any new thought beyond the days of St. Thomas Aquinas.
     And there lies the rub. When reproductive rights, embryonic stem cell research, marriage and marriage equality are discussed, it is only through the lens of religious orthodoxy.   Economic justice is briefly mentioned at the out set and is then completely forgotten. Kirkpatrick explains why:
Last spring, George was invited to address an audience that included many bishops at a conference in Washington. He told them with typical bluntness that they should stop talking so much about the many policy issues they have taken up in the name of social justice. They should concentrate their authority on "the moral social" issues like abortion, embryonic stem-cell research and same-sex marriage, where, he argued, the natural law and Gospel principles were clear. To be sure, he said, he had no objections to bishops' "making utter nuisances of themselves" about poverty and injustice, like the Old Testament prophets, as long as they did not advocate specific remedies. They should stop lobbying for detailed economic policies like progressive tax rates, higher minimum wage and, presumably, the expansion of health care - "matters of public policy upon which Gospel principles by themselves do not resolve differences of opinion among reasonable and well-informed people of good will," as George put it.
Robert P. George, for all his acclaimed intellect, still fails to square such a conclusion with a Jesus who spent an inordinate amount of time emphasizing economic justice and virtually no time addressing homosexuality or abortion.

This topsy-turvy view of the Gospels appears to be a very convenient way to rationalize the buccaneer-economic views of neoconservatism...

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