Monday, July 24, 2006

An I Know this Guy!

I am so proud to say that I know this guy! Yes, he is Fr. Tad Pacholczyk and he is the Director of Education at The National Catholic Bioethics Center in Philadelphia. He is brilliant and if anyone gets the opportunity to hear him speak, don't let it pass you by!

Fr. Tad has spoken before Congress and the legislatures of numerous states on pro-life issues and here is a short excerpt from one of his newspaper articles where he writes about one of his testimonies:

A lot of hot-button topics are being debated in our state legislatures
these days, topics of great ethical and bioethical importance, ranging from
emergency contraception to gay marriage. These debates address important issues
for the future of our society. Lawmakers face the daunting task of making
decisions about what should or should not be permitted by law within a
reasonable society. Recently I was asked to speak in Virginia at legislative
hearings about embryonic stem cell research. After I gave my testimony, one of
the senators asked a pointed question. "Father Tad, by arguing against embryonic
stem cell research, don't you see how you are trying to impose your beliefs on
others, and shouldn't we as elected lawmakers avoid imposing a narrow religious
view on the rest of society?" The senator's question was an example of the fuzzy
thinking that has become commonplace in recent years within many state
legislatures and among many lawmakers.

Two major errors were incorporated into the senator's question. First, the
senator failed to recognize the fact that law is fundamentally about imposing
somebody's views on somebody else. Imposition is the name of the game. It is the
very nature of law to impose particular views on people who don't want to have
those views imposed on them. Car thieves don't want laws imposed on them which
prohibit stealing. Drug dealers don't want laws imposed on them which make it
illegal to sell drugs. Yet our lawmakers are elected precisely to craft and
impose such laws all the time. So the question is not whether we will impose
something on somebody. The question is instead whether whatever is going to be
imposed by the force of law is reasonable, just, and good for society and its

The second logical mistake the senator made was to suppose that because
religion happens to hold a particular viewpoint, that implies that such a
viewpoint should never be considered by lawmakers or enacted into law. Religion
teaches very clearly that stealing is immoral. Would it follow that if I support
laws against stealing, I am imposing my narrow religious viewpoint on society?
Clearly not. Rather, the subject of stealing is so important to the order of
society that religion also feels compelled to speak about it. Religion teaches
many things that can be understood as true by people who aren't religious at
all. Atheists can understand just as well as Catholics how stealing is wrong,
and most atheists are just as angry as their Catholic neighbors when their house
is broken into and robbed. What is important is not whether a proposed law
happens to be taught by religion, but whether that proposal is just, right, and
good for society and its members.

During my testimony, I pointed out how in the United States we have
stringent federal laws that protect not only the national bird, the bald eagle,
but also that eagle's eggs. If you were to chance upon some of them in a nest
out in the wilderness, it would be illegal for you to destroy those eggs. By the
force of law, we recognize how the egg of the bald eagle, that is to say, the
embryonic eagle inside that egg, is the same creature as the glorious bird that
we witness flying high overhead. Therefore we pass laws to safeguard not only
the adult but also the very youngest member of that species. Even atheists can
see how a bald eagle's eggs should be protected; it's really not a religious
question at all. What's so troublesome is how we are able to understand the
importance of protecting the earliest stages of animal life but when it comes to
our own human life, a kind of mental disconnect takes place. Our moral judgement
quickly becomes murky and obtuse when we desire to do certain things that are
not good, like having abortions, or destroying embryonic humans for their stem

Read the complete article here.

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