The Human Life Review

Articles from Vol. 38, No. 2, Spring

About This Issue
... when I told Wesley Smith we were publishing an article by Ross Blackburn ("A Reply To Wesley Smith," HLR Winter 2012) taking issue with Smith's contention that human life was best defended in the public square using arguments framed in secular terms...
A Brotherly Debate
This is good stuff. By which I mean, why don't we have more discussion, more intellectual byplay, of the sort on display here: Blackburn vs. Smith, but not really, you know, versus in the modern sense of how-dare-you-youdirty-rat?That's not what the...
A Muslim View on Respecting Life
APPENDIX AIn a world preoccupied with material wealth and convenience, the gift of life is often minimized and sometimes forgotten altogether. Modernity encourages us to view "unwanted" life as a burden that will hold us back. For Muslims, however, just...
Another Line Crossed
APPENDIX CSomething happens to ethics when it becomes a specialty. It becomes professionalized, certified, rarefied. It becomes something besides ethics. It becomes expertise, not thought or depth so much as focus. Specialization sharpens the mind by...
By Reason Alone
None should deny that the terrible threats to human dignity that Wesley Smith describes are very real and should concern all people of good will; in addition, it is clear that W. Ross Blackburn makes strong and valid criticisms of the particular argument...
Connecting the Dots: 21st-Century Evangelicals Revisit Contraception and Abortion
In July 201 1, the Institute of Medicine (a non-governmental organization which, like the National Academy of Sciences, was created by Congress and makes recommendations related to medicine and health) recommended that all insurance providers be required...
FROM THE ARCHIVES: (1975) the Inalienable Right to Live
1 he head doctor of a Zurich clinic who withheld medication and nourishment from incurably ill patients who might have lived another month, a year, or two, has been released from jail. He still has to answer to a court of law but, although fired from...
Good Arguments, as Far as They Go
Poor Stanley Fish suffers a lot of abuse from conservatives who accuse him of being a relativist or something worse when he's only trying to explain how arguments actually work in public. Which is to say, that they don't always work the way you want...
Hardships and Fears of an Aging Population
APPENDIX BWhen I think about old age I am reminded of long childhood drives in a light blue Mercury wagon with our family of six, going to see great grandmother in the city. At the end of our visit, my mother would say, "Go hug great grandma, kids, this...
Introduction
"It's not about contraception, it's about religious liberty." That message is at the heart of those leading the growing opposition to the January 20th Health and Human Services Mandate, which would force religious institutions to provide free contraception...
Msgr. Austin Bennett: A Welcome Voice of Patient Obedience
In his great encyclical Humarme Vitae (1968), affirming the Church's rejection of artificial birth control, Pope Paul VI conceded that the stand he took on behalf of the Church would not be universally popular. "It is to be anticipated that perhaps not...
Notes on the Passing Political Scene
Moments before I began working on this commentary in February, I decided to sift quickly through my mail. Among seven solicitations for donations were (as you might expect in this election year) a total of five notices from politicians. But the politicians...
Preserved Memories of Wisdom
When my father was at the end of his life, I had the opportunity to get to know his ICU doctor a little bit. The experience shed some light for me on the question under discussion here.The context was torturous for many reasons, including that in our...
Standing for Truth in Bedford Square
APPENDIX DThe Guardian, champion of the marginalised, described it as having a "carnivalesque" atmosphere. Well, I suppose so, if your idea of fun is trying to make sure that no voice but your own may make itself heard, and you find it amusing to insult...
Symposium: Truth-Telling in the Public Square
In the Winter/Spring 201 1 issue of the Review, Wesley Smith, in his article "The Bioethics Threat to Universal Human Rights," proposed that in arguing for human exceptionalism one ought to utilize secular terms, because "human dignity can be well defended...
Thank God Hippocrates Was Pagan
To suggest that one cannot or should not defend the sanctity of human life in the public square by using publicly accessible secular language is to remove a necessary tool for making the case for valuing and protecting all human life. While religious...
The Arts of Persuasion
How do we defend the sanctity of life in the public square? Should we appeal to the truths of faith? Or should we limit ourselves to secular reason? These are not easy questions to answer, and that's because they limit us to a false choice. What moves...
The Struggle for Human Equality: It Must Be Waged on All Fronts
I am honored by Professor Blackburn's serious critique of my article, "The Bioethics Threat to Human Dignity," and very pleased that the editors considered the important question of how to best defend human exceptionalism worthy of a Human Life Review...
The Transformation of Hearts
The question of how best to frame arguments defending the sanctity of human life in the public square is not merely a matter of preparing for a debating contest. It goes to the very essence of what it means to be human and how we are to live with one...
Truth-Telling in the Public Square
Many years ago, when I was in my early twenties, I fell into a series of personal debates about the existence of God with an agnostic graduate student in modern philosophy. The Catch-22 of our conversations in this ultimately frustrating exercise was...
What Do the Justices Think They Are Doing?
I.Despite their prominence, the justices of the United States Supreme Court are mysterious, almost secretive, figures. True, during Senate confirmation hearings nominees answer wide-ranging questioning about their backgrounds, attitudes, and philosophies....

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