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Defending Religious Freedom in Full - George Weigel - National Review Online

Another insightful article from my old friend, George Weigel!

Defending Religious Freedom in Full - George Weigel - National Review Online


  1. Anonymous19 May, 2010

    Absolute drivel!

    Mr. Weigel's opinion and platitudes dressed up as thoughtful prose.

    It does not even warrant a thoughtful effort to debunk, because there is absolutely nothing of substance in this peice.



  2. Martin: I take it you don't hold to the thoughts of John Courtney Murray s.j.? If you believe that he is correct, then you'll find Weigel's argument solid. If not, then it's as you describe it... drivel.

    JCM was one of GW's favorite authors and mentors in his youth. He has helped me to understand his teaching on religious freedom (which is handy given the JCM was the inspiration for the V II document on the subject. If you actually read JCM, you might discover that he is proposing something very similar to what you hold. I admit that it is necessary to strip away the 'American exceptionalism' to get to the meat of his thesis, but it's well worth the read.


  3. Sadly, I have to agree with Martin. I read the article in hopes of finding something with which to agree, but all I could find was the promulgation of the idea that Catholic thought is the only truth, and that in saying he wants "freedom of religion in full," what he really means is "freedom of the Catholic religion over all others."

    True freedom of religion means you are free to practice your way and I am free to practice my way, and if we find ourselves in opposition to one another on a point, we simply must agree to disagree and let the issue drop.

  4. Anonymous21 May, 2010

    Thanks for the reference to JCM's writings.

    Not sure I will wade through any of it though. I have come to regard theology as an academic discipline without a foundation. As long as theology is simply the examination of the words of other men about god, and not a direct examination of god - then it is of no interest to me.

    Any other academic discipline would be laughed off a unversity campus if all it did was paw through the musings, opinion, and subjective experiences of other men without ever testing its hypotheses or its stated subject.

    To be consistent, universities with a faculty of theology should also permit faculties of astrology, phrenology, and tarot card reading. Each of these "disciplines" has as much validity as the other.

    So when you refer me to the words of JCM to somehow make sense of Mr. Weigel's words, I cannot help but be reminded of the "Coutier's Reply" to the fable of the "Emperor with no Clothes" (written in defence of Richard Dawkins' book 'The God Delusion'):

    "I have considered the impudent accusations of Mr Dawkins with exasperation at his lack of serious scholarship. He has apparently not read the detailed discourses of Count Roderigo of Seville on the exquisite and exotic leathers of the Emperor's boots, nor does he give a moment's consideration to Bellini's masterwork, On the Luminescence of the Emperor's Feathered Hat. We have entire schools dedicated to writing learned treatises on the beauty of the Emperor's raiment, and every major newspaper runs a section dedicated to imperial fashion; Dawkins cavalierly dismisses them all. He even laughs at the highly popular and most persuasive arguments of his fellow countryman, Lord D. T. Mawkscribbler, who famously pointed out that the Emperor would not wear common cotton, nor uncomfortable polyester, but must, I say must, wear undergarments of the finest silk.

    Dawkins arrogantly ignores all these deep philosophical ponderings to crudely accuse the Emperor of nudity.

    Personally, I suspect that perhaps the Emperor might not be fully clothed — how else to explain the apparent sloth of the staff at the palace laundry — but, well, everyone else does seem to go on about his clothes, and this Dawkins fellow is such a rude upstart who lacks the wit of my elegant circumlocutions, that, while unable to deal with the substance of his accusations, I should at least chide him for his very bad form.

    Until Dawkins has trained in the shops of Paris and Milan, until he has learned to tell the difference between a ruffled flounce and a puffy pantaloon, we should all pretend he has not spoken out against the Emperor's taste. His training in biology may give him the ability to recognize dangling genitalia when he sees it, but it has not taught him the proper appreciation of Imaginary Fabrics."



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