Tag Archives: justice

Justice is the moral virtue that consists in the constant and firm will to give their due to God and neighbor. Justice toward God is called the “virtue of religion.” Justice toward men disposes one to respect the rights of each and to establish in human relationships the harmony that promotes equity with regard to persons and to the common good. The just man, often mentioned in the Sacred Scriptures, is distinguished by habitual right thinking and the uprightness of his conduct toward his neighbor. “You shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great, but in righteousness shall you judge your neighbor.” “Masters, treat your slaves justly and fairly, knowing that you also have a Master in heaven.”

Immigration Debate

I’ve been doing a little thinking about the current immigration debate. The two main lines of argument that seem to be dominating discussions are as follows (in broad strokes).

  1. Illegal immigrants are hard workers who just want a piece of the American pie and are willing to do jobs that Americans aren’t willing to do. Leave them alone.

  2. Illegal immigrants don’t pay taxes and heavily burden America’s educational and medical services. They’re also a security risk. Kick them out.

I think both are right and both are wrong.

Continue reading

Investigating NFP: Pius XI

Click here to read the previous post in this series.

It’s time to get our hands dirty by digging into the writings of recent popes to find out what they had to say about contraceptive issues. Let’s start with Pius XI’s 1930 Casti Connubii, which was written in response to the Anglican Communion’s decision that year to permit artificial contraception within marriage (general acceptance came later).

Continue reading

Making the Best of a Bad Situation

I have a knack for offending people unintentionally. Anyone who knows me well knows that I hate doing that. Darn it, if I'm going to offend somebody, I want to mean it! 😉 Seriously, though, my recent post on legalizing prostitution offended someone, and that was never my intention. The following is from an email by a woman who has escaped the hell of prostitution.

"Your thought experiment is dangerously naive and bordering on offensive. I don't believe that the comment thread does quite enough to explain your position. You spend most of that thread defending your initial assertion. As far as I can tell, you are insufficiently knowledgeable to even broach a discussion of prostitution and the ramifications of making it legal."

I am very sorry that my naivite caused offense. For the record, here's how that post and ensuing discussion came about.

Sometimes the oddest thoughts occur to me right before bed. If I'm lucky, I write them down before I've forgetten then. I'll usually discuss them later with friends, with my spiritual director, or on my blog. A few nights ago, for reasons unknown, I started wondering why prostitution illegal. More specifically, I wondered what made it, among the myriad of immoral acts, illegal when so many aren't. I decided that I'd query my blog readers.

I explicitly cast aside moral arguments because I thought the inconsistency of which immoral acts are illegal and which are not would cloud the issue. I then proceded to break down the various amoral arguments that came to mind. I really wanted to know what made this activity unacceptable by society in 49 states. At no point did I, or would I, state that I actually wanted prostitution to be legalized. Granted, I used some provacative language, but I never endorsed the practice.

Out of a discussion about a strange random thought came what I believe to be very important to Christians wishing to interact with secular government. Occational contributer and frequent commenter Steve Nicoloso posited (disapprovingly) that this country was not founded, nor is it guided by moral priciples, but rather Lockean notion of social contract. Commenter Tom Smith, on the other hand, argues that one can justify moral legislation via natural law. Putting aside the inflamatory topic of prostitution, I'd like very much to continue this conversation. Some questions that I feel are worth answering:

Was our country primarily founded on Judeo-Christian moral principles or amoral social contract theories?

Even if it was founded on Judeo-Christian moral principles, is it still guided by those principles?

If it isn't, why not, and how can Christians help change that?

If it was on social contract theories, is it still guided by those principles?

If it is, should we seek to change that? If we should, how do we go about doing so?

The question that summarizes the preceding is, "How should Christians interact with secular government?" Many of the arguments given against legalizing prostitution amounted to "because it's wrong". Before one can argue that an act is wrong, though, one must define wrong. You cannot define a right to perform a wrong action, or lack thereof, until there is agreement of what is wrong. Who defines right and wrong? Should laws only pertain to those rights and wrongs that are nearly universally agreed to or should a mere plurality or majority of the electorate be allowed determine right and wrong for the remainder?

It is my hope that a rational debate about such matters will aid Christians in the pursuit of moral legislation on nonreligious grounds. Determining whether there are universal moral concepts to base such work on or not is a core part of such a discussion. If we could be convinced, and then convince the secular world, that there are good reasons other than divine writ to ban (or maintain bans) on practices like prostitution, we'd be well on our way to formulating and executing more effective plans for getting wholesome legislation passed. Learning how to argue better on secular terms would be an invaluable asset in our efforts to abolish abortion. As long as secularists can accuse us of trying legislate our faith, no progress will be made in any of the political arenas in which we find ourselves fighting.

The preample to the Declaration of Independence ought to inspire us in these endeavors.

"We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

"That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the consent of the governed."

"That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these Ends, it is in the Right of the People to alter or abolish it, and to institute a new Government, laying its Foundation on such Principles, and organizing its Powers in such Form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness."

"Prudence indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient Causes; and accordingly all Experience hath shewn, that Mankind are more disposed to suffer, while Evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the Forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long Train of Abuses and Usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object, evinces a Design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their Right, it is their Duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future Security.

{All emphases mine]

We who believe in that Creator are among the governed from whose consent the just powers of the goverment are derived. If our government becomes destructive to the ends of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, we the people have the right to alter or abolish it, to throw it off and provide new guards for our future.

I am not (and I cannot express this strongly enough) suggesting some kind of revolution. Rather, I would like to see Christians exercise their First Amendment right "peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances" and to perform their civic duties of voting and running for office, at all levels of government, so that laws might enacted that, in accordance with the purpose our constitution, "establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity". And if those laws should be found to be contrary to the Constitution of the United States, we should seek to exert our right under Article V of the that constitution to amend it.

So, dear readers, how do we go about doing these things?

Show Me a Society That Aborts the Unborn and Euthanizes the Infirm…

…and I'll show you a society that immortalizes a deformed kitten.

Update 01/17/06: The public mourning for Cy continues. Oy. Check out this Jimmy Akin post. Take note of how many visits he got and the kinds of comments that were left. I wish more people would feel as sorry for their fellow men as they do for this kitten. I'm not even talking about just abortion and euthanasia. I'd like to see more sympathy for the homeless, the hungry, the lonely, the oppressed, the abused, the addicted, etc.

Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit.
Blessed is the lamb whose blood flows.
Blessed are the sat upon, Spat upon, Ratted on,

O Lord, Why have you forsaken me?
I got no place to go,
I've walked around Soho for the last night or so.
Ah, but it doesn't matter, no.

Blessed is the land and the kingdom.
Blessed is the man whose soul belongs to.
Blessed are the meth drinkers, Pot sellers, Illusion dwellers.

O Lord, Why have you forsaken me?
My words trickle down, like a wound
That I have no intention to heal.

Blessed are the stained glass, window pane glass.
Blessed is the church service makes me nervous
Blessed are the penny rookers, Cheap hookers, Groovy lookers.

O Lord, Why have you forsaken me?
I have tended my own garden
Much too long.

– Simon and Garfunkel, "Blessed"