Friday, 7/15/16

  1. Religious freedom red letter day
  2. Domesticated religion
  3. A gross grandpa parable
  4. Bush picks Dan Quayle


It’s a red-letter day when liberal Democrats make marginally more sense on a religious freedom issue touching sexuality (it’s a plus for religious freedom when its public face can be a decorated black public servant) than does the Movement Conservative party line. In debate over FADA:

Obergefell and Katherine Franke, a professor at Columbia School of Law, strongly opposed the idea of providing specific protections for individuals and organizations that hold views against same-sex marriage.

“I understand that the proponents of this legislation argue that it is necessary to protect churches, clergy, and others who oppose marriage equality for religious reasons,” Obergefell said. “But the First Amendment is already clear on this point. Since the founding of this country, no church or member of the clergy has been forced to marry any couple if doing so would violate their religious teachings. That has not changed since same-sex couples won the freedom to marry.”

Instead, in order to address [fired AtlantaChief Kelvin] Cochran’s termination, Frank suggested passing a bill that doesn’t “single out” the issue of same-sex marriage.

“How do you protect him?” Frank asked. “You pass a bill that says no one can be fired because of his or her political or religious opinion that is wholly irrelevant to the job. You don’t single out one particular aspect of one particular religion.”

(Emphasis added)

Movement Conservatives seem to talk about every misguided or shrill Progressive objection to FADA, but they’ve been totally silent, so far as I can tell, on the objection I’ve harped on for months, and which the thoughtful Left has now fingered.


Stanley Hauerwas has a way of seeing things to which most of us have become oblivious. At the end of a short but provocative exploration of domesticated religion:

The religion we have [in America] is one that has been domesticated on the presumption that only a domesticated religion is safe to be free in America. Rather than being a church that could be capable of keeping the state limited, Christianity in America became a “religion” in the service of a state which then promised it “freedom.” For what free means is the right to entertain personally meaningful beliefs that have only the most indirect relation to the state. The state by definition is just since it provides for freedom of religion. The inability of Protestant churches in America to maintain any sense of authority over the lives of their members is one of the most compelling signs that freedom of religion has resulted in the corruption of Christians who now believe they have the right religiously to make up their own minds. There is every sign that this is now also happening among Roman Catholics. As a result, neither Protestants nor Catholics have the capacity to stand as disciplined people capable of challenging the state.

Via Mars Hill Audio Addendum.


As to the natural law’s effectiveness in drawing souls to God, we need only consult the writings of St. Paul. One of the foundations of Christian evangelization is St. Paul’s assertion that God’s law is written on man’s heart, always guiding him so that he might know good from evil. The “law written on the heart” has always given missionaries confidence that they could communicate with any society anywhere the wisdom of the Church’s teaching.

My talks to high school students always include a parable about Thanksgiving. I describe a typical family Thanksgiving, where the whole family has gathered at grandma and grandpa’s house. They’ve just finished a memorable feast of turkey, with all the fixings, followed, naturally, by pie. Everyone is stuffed to the gills. And yet, fifteen minutes after dinner, and to the surprise of everyone, their grandmother offers everyone a second meal. “We couldn’t eat another bite!” some say, yet in response, their grandfather, with a glint in his eye, grabs a bucket, sticks a feather down his throat, and proceeds to vomit out his dinner, horrifying the family. With a swish of mouthwash, and a quick wipe of his face, he sets the bucket on the table, looks around at his stunned family and says, “Alright, who’s next?”, then grabs another plate of food and sits down in front of the TV, acting as if he had just done the most natural thing in the world.

Students’ reaction to my story is immediate and visceral. They groan—loudly. I ask them with feigned shock, “Why does that gross you out? Don’t you like to eat? Wouldn’t it be amazing if you could eat whatever you wanted, and never worry about gaining weight? Wouldn’t purging yourself of food in order to eat more food bring you great freedom to live with as much pleasure as you would like?”

(Daniel Mattson, whose particular focus is “why homosexuality is a natural law issue” in rebuttal of Melinda Selmys, who argued that it isn’t — but really seemed to be arguing that natural law is incomprehensible to moderns and arguing thusly is futile).

Be mindful in reading this that natural law is natural, not Roman Catholic, although Rome has an unusually well-developed discussion of it. I am not making an illicit cultural appropriation in extolling it.


Reports as I write this are that my Governor, Mike Pence, is going to be The Donald’s Vice-Presidential pick, announced in just a few hours.

I’m neither a fan nor an enemy of Pence. I’d expect to vote for him for re-election as Governor over the ABD (affable-but-Democrat) challenger, John Gregg, in November.

But I think that this pick is going to make chaos in my fair state, starting with Pence needing to withdraw his name from the ballot for Governor by noon today and a game of political musical chairs as other shift their ambitions, abandoning races irrevocably with no certainty of winning the State Committee’d nod as they fill the slots. As one GOP State Committee member put it in classic double-talk, there’s a lot of people calling to say that they’re “considering weighing their options.”

If it wasn’t for the dubious honor to my state, I’d just as soon Trump picked, say, Ted Cruz, so there’d be two odious people on the ticket I’ll not vote for.

* * * * *

“In learning as in traveling and, of course, in lovemaking, all the charm lies in not coming too quickly to the point, but in meandering around for a while.” (Eva Brann)

Some succinct standing advice on recurring themes.