Thursday, April 17, 2008

More from the religion and politics files, OR: Take That, Rawls!

So Rawlsians often cite (liberal) Catholicism as an example of a religion totally compatible with political liberalism. Here's what the Pope just said to Catholic universities (via NYT):

Catholic universities and colleges have come under fire for inviting speakers who favor abortion rights, like Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, Eliot Spitzer and Stanley Tucci, the actor, who was dropped from an event at Catholic University. The University of Notre Dame was criticized for allowing a campus staging of “The Vagina Monologues,” an edgy feminist theater piece.

The pope insisted on adherence to church doctrine, saying, “Divergence from this vision weakens Catholic identity, and, far from advancing freedom, inevitably leads to confusion, whether moral, intellectual or spiritual.”

For faculty members, he said: “I wish to reaffirm the great value of academic freedom. In virtue of this freedom you are called to search for the truth wherever careful analysis of evidence leads you. Yet it is also the case that any appeal to the principle of academic freedom in order to justify positions that contradict the faith and teaching of the church would obstruct or even betray the university’s identity and mission.”

The educators in the room were encouraged by the pope’s speech, and applauded his call to keep schools open for poor students.

Yeah, that's right. Pope says you get academic freedom so long as you don't disagree, and professors cheer.

In even more horrifying news...

At issue was an attempt by the state of Texas to strip the parents of custody and place the children in foster homes because of evidence they were being physically and sexually abused or in imminent danger of abuse by the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, a renegade Mormon splinter group suspected of forcing underage girls into marriage with older men.
* * *
Walther signed an emergency order nearly two weeks ago giving the state custody of the children after a 16-year-old girl called an abuse hot line claiming her husband, a 50-year-old member of the sect, beat and raped her. The girl has yet to be identified.

Authorities raided their compound April 3 in the nearby town of Eldorado — a 1,700-acre ranch with a blindingly white limestone temple and log cabin-style houses — and began collecting documents and disk drives that might provide evidence of underage girls being married to adults.

The children, who are being kept in a domed coliseum in San Angelo, range in age from 6 months to 17 years. Roughly 100 of them are under 4.

FLDS members deny children were abused and say the state is persecuting them for their faith.

The judge must weigh the allegations of abuse and also decide whether it is in the children's best interest to be placed into mainstream society after they have been told all their lives that the outside world is hostile and immoral.

If the judge gives the state permanent custody of the children, the Texas child services agency will face the enormous task of finding suitable homes. It will also have to decipher brother-sister relationships so that it can try to preserve them.


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