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Roman Catholic Moral Reasoning in the Supreme Court Ruling in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby

By       Message Thomas Farrell     Permalink
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But how many non-Catholic law schools offer courses on Aristotle's ideas about form and matter -- or courses on Roman Catholic moral reasoning?

So is it fair to have Roman Catholic Justices on the Supreme Court draw on Roman Catholic moral reasoning in adjudicating cases, when the non-Catholic government and other lawyers presenting arguments in cases probably do not know much about Roman Catholic moral reasoning?

Professor Griffin makes the following comments: "Justice [Ruth Bader] Ginsburg cogently argued in dissent [from the majority ruling] that any burden on the Greens' and Hahns' religion was 'too attenuated' to qualify as substantial. The employees decide whether to use contraception, and 'no individual decision by an employee and her physician . . . is in any meaningful sense her employer's decision or action.'"

Right on, Justice Ginsberg! There would be no formal or material cooperation with supposed evil for the employer to pay for the mandated health insurance that covers all 20 FDA-approved contraceptives because there is no evil involved in using any of the 20 FDA-approved forms of contraception -- the Roman Catholic bishops to the contrary notwithstanding.

In Roman Catholic tradition of thought there is a term that accurately describes the kind of moral reasoning that the majority ruling uses: scrupulosity.

Unfortunately, the anti-abortion zealotry of the Roman Catholic bishops involves scrupulosity -- not intelligent, reasonable, responsible moral reasoning.

(Article changed on July 3, 2014 at 16:50)

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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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