Blog author: jcouretas
Thursday, March 25, 2010
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Over at Koinonia, Father Gregory Jensen looks at Frank Schaeffer’s vicious, bigoted attack on Robert George in Huffington Post. And George’s response in “Natural Law” and “far right Reconstructionist extremism!” on the Mirror of Justice blog.

Fr. Gregory:

As George argues in a 2006 essay, (Public Morality, Public Reason) like “devout Catholics, Protestants, Jews, and other believers,” Orthodox Christians find ourselves in a “contest of worldviews . . . against secularist liberals and those who, while remaining within the religious denominations, have adopted essentially secularist liberal ideas about personal and political morality.” And as in these other traditions, so too in in the Orthodox Church this ” contest manifests itself in disputes over abortion, embryo-destructive research, and euthanasia, as well as in issues of sex, marriage, and family life.” Finally, and as Schaeffer’s essay illustrates, “Underlying these specific conflicts are profound differences about the nature of morality and the proper relation of moral judgment to law and public policy.”

I suspect that George is correct when he argues that, at least in the civil realm, “the issues dividing the two camps are of such profound moral significance—on either side’s account—that merely procedural solutions are not good enough. Neither side will be happy to agree on decision procedures for resolving the key differences of opinion at the level of public policy where the procedures do not guarantee victory for the substantive policies they favor.” Whether this is also the case in the Church I can’t say.

What I can say is that if left unchecked, secularism will continue to make inroads and peal away the faithful. Slowly at first but then evermore quickly, much like a rising tide will erode a child’s seaside sandcastle. Central to an effective response to secularism is willingness for the Church, both theologically and canonically, to “maintain that on certain issues, including certain fundamental moral and political issues, there are uniquely correct answers.” In other words, we cannot continue to turn a blind eye toward those who publicly dissent from the Church’s moral witness. This is especially important when this includes public statements include inciting others to dissent as well.


  • http://stkarnick.com/culture Daniel Crandall

    I am dismayed by Frankie Schaeffer’s behavior and his increasingly belligerent writings about those with whom he disagrees. What worries me even further is that I run into so many people at my local Orthodox Church who are Protestant converts and who attribute their conversion to Mr. Schaeffer’s writings. When the subject of the Catholic Church comes up, I get as much maligning and bigotry as represented in Schaeffer’s HufPo article.

    I understand people’s frustration with the Church’s response to scandals of late, but let’s not devolve into outright bigotry and hatred for the other ‘lung’ of the Christ’s Church, as Pope John Paul II so eloquently put it.

  • http://palamas.info Fr Gregory Jensen

    Daniel,

    Thank you for your observation.

    Like you I am distressed by when I hear anti-Catholic (or anti-Protestant for that matter) rhetoric from Orthodox Christians. It doesn’t serve any purpose save the self-aggrandizement of the speaker and it pushes our two Churches just that much further apart.

    Better I think we learn from each other and, in so doing, learn to appreciate each other and heal the wound of division.

    Thanks again for the comment.

    In Christ,

    +FrG