Wednesday, January 22, 2014

My NRO Interview - "Abortion and Human Equality: How to return the debate to the essential questions 41 years after Roe."

That's the title of Kathryn Jean Lopez's interview of me in today's National Review Online. Here's how it begins:

KATHRYN JEAN LOPEZ: What are your thoughts as D.C. is about to see a March for Life against 41 years of legal abortion in America?

FRANCIS J. BECKWITH: Even though the advocates of the belief that unborn life lacks moral status have had over four decades to completely inoculate the wider culture from the sanctity-of-life ethic (through the media, the academy, and entertainment), they have been astonishingly unsuccessful in doing so. The March for Life, and the increasing numbers that participate every year, is as clear evidence of this failure as one could have imagined. And what makes it more astonishing is that no one in the march has a self-interest in its cause succeeding, since no one who marches is an unborn child.

LOPEZ: In what ways is the abortion debate really about human equality?

BECKWITH: No one — not even the most sophisticated advocate of abortion choice — denies that the unborn are human beings, but one can only exclude them from the community of those whose lives we must respect if one claims that they lack some morally significant characteristic that is possessed by mature and healthy human beings.

If this is true, as some abortion-choice advocates maintain, then some human beings are so intrinsically inferior to others that they not only lack moral status but they can be killed without justification. Consequently, according to this perspective, possessing a human nature in and of itself is not morally significant. This is why in Defending Life I call some abortion-choice supporters Anti-Equality Advocates (AEAs).

LOPEZ: Is there an irony in the twin January memorials of Martin Luther King’s death and the Roe v. Wade decision?

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Wednesday, January 15, 2014

George C. Scott Explains Calvinism in 3 Minutes

(HT: First Things)


From the 1979 movie Hardcore(Language Warning: F-word employed at the end)

Thursday, January 2, 2014

The Day I Met Jesus in Las Vegas

That's the title of my latest column over at The Catholic Thing. Here's how it begins:
Several days before my 13th birthday, in late October of 1973, I had a dream that was so vivid that when I woke up the next morning I was convinced that it was no mere dream. As I note in my 2009 memoir, Return to Rome, in the dream

[caption id="attachment_3145" align="alignright" width="373"] Stained-glass window in the Gardian Angel Cathedral in Las Vegas[/caption]

Jesus and I “were sitting, facing each other, with the landscape of heaven in the background. He spoke to me. Over thirty years later, I cannot honestly recall the words he uttered. But I do remember waking up the next morning with the sense that I had experienced a reality that was unlike any dream I had ever had.”

Last week, on the evening of December 26, while my wife and I were visiting family in Las Vegas for the holidays, I voiced a brief prayer under my breath while I was driving alone to my brother’s home, “Jesus, I invite you back into my dreams tonight.” We recently received news that my father has been diagnosed with cancer. Although the prognosis was far from hopeless, such news, especially during Christmas, has the power to jar one from the complacencies of ordinary life.

I began to reflect on the fragility of our mortal existence, the inevitability of death, and how ill-prepared I am for the journey that awaits each and every one of Adam’s children. So my mind harkened back to the one first-person glimpse of the supernatural that seemed the most real to me.

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