Bigotry and extremism

They’re in the eye of the beholder….the bullseye, when the media are concerned. And they are concerned…

George Weigel zeroes in.

On November 3, Ken Cuccinelli was elected attorney
general of Virginia in a landslide. His 15% margin of victory strongly
suggests that Old Dominion voters were unimpressed by a shrill
Washington Post editorial published on October 30, which opined that
Mr. Cuccinelli “would likely become an embarrassment for the
commonwealth” as his “affability and quick wit…have tended to mask his
extremist views.”

What, you ask, were those “extremist views”? Well, the Post’s
indictment — in an editorial titled “Mr. Cuccinelli’s bigotry” —
centered on the fact that candidate Cuccinelli had described homosexual
behavior as contrary to “natural law” and had further suggested that
natural law was a useful guide to public policy. Mr. Cuccinelli did not
propose to prosecute, much less jail, every gay and lesbian between the
Potomac River and the North Carolina border, and no sane person thought
he intended to do so. Yet the Post’s anonymous editorial writer
described Mr. Cuccinelli’s appeal to natural law as a “retrofit [of]
the old language of racism, bias, and intolerance in a new context.”

Baloney. What’s being retrofitted here is old-time anti-Catholic
bigotry, tarted up in the guise of tolerance and extended to those who
think there are moral truths built into the world and into us — truths
that we can grasp by reason.

The natural law. Which got knocked around quite a bit during the
Senate confirmation (which turned out to be the denial) hearings of
Judge Robert Bork. It’s the ‘ought’ in what we ought to do to behave
well and take care of others, which can be reasoned “in a public
vocabulary, accessible to all,” Weigel clarifies.

That’s the grammar and vocabulary of the natural moral
law: the basis on which Thomas Jefferson argued the case for American
national independence, Martin Luther King, Jr., promoted the civil
rights of African Americans, and John Paul II passionately and
effectively defended the religious and political rights of all…

On the twentieth anniversary of the Revolution of 1989, it was a
sadness that the editors of the Washington Post misread the moral
texture of the American founding, the civil rights revolution, and the
revolution of conscience that brought down the Berlin Wall —
revolutions in which believers, non-believers, skeptics, and agnostics
united in defense of human rights that could be known as such through
the natural moral law.

But known only by minds open to reason. Hard to find in the tribal cult that pervades big media editorial rooms.


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