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The Supposed "Timeless Truths" Advanced by the Catholic Bishops

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But if the supposed timeless Catholic thought-world of the Catholic bishops and their Catholic apologists is an alternative reality, doesn't it follow that the bishops and those Catholics who follow their example and think as the bishops think are a bunch of contemporary Don Quixotes tilting at windmills?

After all, how many other people in the marketplace of ideas in the United States today are claiming to advance supposedly timeless truths?

Because eternity is imagined to be outside of and above time, the Catholic bishops and their apologists appear to be using the expression "timeless truths" as a way to make the supposed truths in question sound above and outside time. If the spirit of Don Quixote is alive and well in you, you might find the claim about supposed "timeless truths" appealing. By making such supposed timeless truths part of your Catholic thought-world, you can construct an alternative thought-world in which to live as you walk and talk in the everyday world in the United States today.

However, the Catholic bishops and their Catholic followers have been exercising their rights as American citizens and attempting to use their Catholic thought-world of supposedly timeless truths about supposedly intrinsically evil acts and supposedly disordered inclinations in the political realm in the United States. Granted, the American traditions of freedom of religion and freedom of speech regarding government actions and proposed government actions should allow Catholics to use their alternative thought-world of supposed timeless truths in debating civic and legal policies, as they have done in their fervent opposition to legalized abortion in the first trimester and in their objections to the Obama administration's regulations about insurance coverage for artificial contraception and in their political campaign against same-sex marriage.

But non-Catholic Americans should be prepared to debate with the Catholic bishops and their Catholic followers about these issues and other issues. However, in debating with the Catholic bishops, one should not expect to win any bishop over to giving up the Catholic thought-world based on supposed timeless truths. For if any bishop were to be won over to giving up the Catholic thought-world based on supposed timeless truths, that bishop would promptly be drummed out of the ranks of the bishops.

Thus anyone who undertakes to debate with the Catholic bishops should undertake the debate in an effort to counter the appeal of their arguments to Catholics, so that Catholics do not vote in elections the way that the bishops urge them to vote.

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Thomas James Farrell is professor emeritus of writing studies at the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD). He started teaching at UMD in Fall 1987, and he retired from UMD at the end of May 2009. He was born in 1944. He holds three degrees from Saint Louis University (SLU): B.A. in English, 1966; M.A.(T) in English 1968; higher education, 1974. On May 16, 1969, the editors of the SLU student newspaper named him Man of the Year, an honor customarily conferred on an administrator or a faculty member, not on a graduate student -- nor on a woman up to that time. He is the proud author of the book (more...)

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