Why did the US Supreme Court refuse to hear appeals by states which have had their marriage laws sabotaged by lower court judges? With no dissent? And why are the judges constitutionally wrong? There are some answers to these questions in today's stories.
Amongst other things there's an interesting (I think) video on our front page -- Lech Walensa, that unique revolutionary, addressing an audience at the IESE Business School about the political future. His message, based on the experience of Poland in the 1980s: Nothing is impossible, but success depends on values, not on structures. Good stuff.
The US Supreme Court refused today to hear appeals from states that want to maintain their marriage laws against judicial concessions to arguments for same-sex marriage. The SCOTUS decision caused great excitement at the New York Times and elsewhere because it means more states now have to allow same-sex marriage. Among the arguments that lower courts have swallowed is the claim that there is scientific proof there is "no difference" between children raised in a normal family and those raised by same-sex couples, but as Michael Cook points out in his piece today, the science currently floats on a sea of data that is extraordinarily difficult to interpret, and definitive proof is still a long way off.
Judges, like bishops, should have a special care for children, who are the most vulnerable members of society.
The Extraordinary Synod on the Family opened in Rome yesterday -- while I was still on my way home from the eternal city. More about my trip later, but we have an article today on what the synod is about, written by a priest who has taught and written extensively on the subject, as well as serving on the church tribunal that deals with petitions to have one's marriage annuled. And the subject is, he reminds us (countering the media emphasis), the family. Which includes children. Which makes a difference to the way you see things like divorce, remarriage and contraception. I think it's very helpful.
The article which has reached the top spot on MercatorNet this week is incredibly interesting. A Saudi Arabian scholar criticises the Muslim world because it has turned its back on rationality, even in the deepest levels of its culture. This is precisely the same analysis made by Benedict XVI in his famous Regensburg address in 2006 -- which triggered an avalanche of criticism. Here is one paragraph:
"The greatest catastrophe to befall Islam and the Muslims is the catastrophe that has conscripted the Nation against reason from our earliest history. The consummate refusal of rationality and the war against enlightenment has locked all doors and windows against any attempts at illumination."
The accompanying video in which Ibrahim al-Buleihi presents his ideas on a Saudi talk show (sub-titles) is fascinating.
Sheila Liaugminas begins today's post by admitting, "I hate politics". That was news to me, so I was sucked in! It's a great reflection on the increasingly fractious nature of American politics.
Sheila, whose motto on her radio program (tune in!) and in MercatorNet is "charity with clarity", relates her own encounter with a pollster demanding square answers to round questions. It's very thought-provoking.
I must confess that I have read all the articles about the new iPhone Plus and daydreamed about buying one. But Zac Alstin's feature today has convinced me that I should be ashamed of myself. He makes a pretty convincing case that Socrates would not have bought one.
In one of our feature stories today, a leading Saudi Arabian intellectual argues that progress in the Arab and Islamic world depends upon Western civilization. It's a fascinating insight into a behind-the-scenes debate in the Muslim world.