The Unreasonableness of Secular Public Reason | Public Discourse

“God commands respect for human life” or “God commands the virtue of chastity in sexual relations” is hardly the stuff of disrespect. It’s an invitation, the beginning of an argument. You can reject the invitation, or begin the argument another way, or demand a “translation” into terms you find more accessible. Maybe you’ll get one. But the policy conclusion—to protect human life from conception to natural death, or to define marriage as a conjugal union of a man and a woman with a view to raising any resulting children together—cannot credibly be called an imposition of a “strictly religious” view by coercive law. For it is nothing like requiring adherence to any particular view of the human person’s relationship to whatever divine reality there may be. It is not even a demand that we conform our behavior in accordance with the propositions stated by such a view. It is nothing more than the application of an ethical stricture to the legal environment, and it can be debated as an ethical stricture and as a policy worth pursuing—or not—on strictly practical grounds.

As Justice Robert Jackson said over seventy years ago, “freedom to differ is not limited to things that do not matter much.” To close down debate with a “that’s strictly religious” objection is the opposite of liberalism, and there is no justification for it.

Source: The Unreasonableness of Secular Public Reason | Public Discourse, by Matthew J. Franck

"... the opposite of liberalism ...." Exactly!

  • Subscribe


  • Tom Usher

    About Tom Usher

    Employment: 2008 - present, website developer and writer. 2015 - present, insurance broker. Education: Arizona State University, Bachelor of Science in Political Science. City University of Seattle, graduate studies in Public Administration. Volunteerism: 2007 - present, president of the Real Liberal Christian Church and Christian Commons Project.
    This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.