Saturday, May 17, 2014

"conscience as an understanding ordered to a body of objective moral truths"

"Catholics were not seeking an exemption from the mandate on contraception and abortion based on beliefs of their own that may not be shared by others.  They were pronouncing the mandates to constitute an 'unjust law, no law at all,' and therefore rightly binding on no one.  This was not, [Archbishop Lori] said, a Catholic or Protestant position, but an American position."

     "To the extent that we cast our arguments along the lines of 'belief' and 'sincerity,' we can do no more than plead for an exemption from the laws imposed on others.  But again, that kind of argument distorts the truer moral character of the argument we are making, for some of us truly see these mandates as wrongful laws, which should be enforced on no one."

     Hadley Arkes, "Recasting religious freedom," First things no. 244 (June/July 2014):  47, 51 (45-51).
     If "it is the content and not the sincerity of our beliefs that matters" (45), which is to say their objectivity, and if it is false that just "any conviction that a person [happens to] hold . . . with earnest passion" must be "viewed with the same respect" (46), then a corollary follows:  "not everything that calls itself religion . . . may be regarded as a legitimate religion" (48).

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