Saturday, July 06, 2013

Robert George Attacks Religious Freedom

by Edd Doerr

On June 23 the New York Times Book Review published a 1-page review of Robert P. George's book "Conscience and its Enemies: Confronting the Dogmas of Liberal Secularism" by Kay Hymowitz, a fellow at the very conservative Manhattan Institute think tank. Among the four critical comments published in the Times Book Review on July 7 is this  ----

"Kay Hymowitz errs in writing that Robert George's book is 'a plea for liberty of conscience, or more specifically, for religious liberty.' In pushing his 'personhood at conception' ideology, George is lining up with the enemies of women's religious liberty and freedom of conscience. Hymowitz, as a Manhattan Institute fellow, is simply parroting George's misogynist conservatism.

"Edd Doerr, Silver Spring, MD   (The writer is president of Americans for Religious Liberty)"

Now let's look at George's book itself, a rambling mistitled agglomeration of Tea Party and narrow clericalist screeds that provides something of a monochromatic pseudointellectual veneer for attacks on everything to the left of Jerry Falwell. He nowhere really discusses religious freedom, but does write that government's role is to be "subsidiary" to the work of "religious communities" and other local institutions. In a word, he wants to shrink government until it can be drowned in a baptismal font.

The book's main thrusts are extremely one-sided attacks on abortion rights, reproductive choice and same-sex marriage. Not a word about real women or real women's religious liberty, rights of conscience, or health, not a hint of understanding or compassion for women or anyone else not sharing his far-out extremism. His definition of traditional marriage would would produce widespread head-shaking and amusement. He misapplies science and indulges in a nasty ad hominem attack on Justice Harry Blackmun.

George is a professor of jurisprudence at Princeton  (where James Madison studied and formed views on religious freedom the opposite of George's) and was awarded the Presidential Citizens Medal by George W. Bush.

It is sad to think of all the poor trees that were sacrificed to produce this abomination.

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