Friday, February 5, 2016

Robert George does "Poor Us" about as proficiently as anyone

Robert P. George

Dr. Robert P. George, the Pride of Princeton, made a speech at the orthodox Legatus Summit last weekend. Legatus is a Tom Monaghan enterprise, out of Ave Maria, Florida, comprised of Catholic business leaders. LifeSite News describes part of George's speech:
“It is no longer easy to be a faithful Christian, a good Catholic, an authentic witness to the truths of the Gospel,” said Princeton Professor Robert George to a large crowd at the Legatus Summit in Orlando, Florida last weekend. Professor George added that people can still safely identify as “Catholic” as long as they don’t believe, or will at least be completely silent about, “what the Church teaches on issues such as marriage and sexual morality and the sanctity of human life.”

He said “the guardians of those norms of cultural orthodoxy that we have come to call ‘political correctness,’” will still grant a comfort to a Catholic ashamed of the Gospel, “or who is willing to act publicly as if he or she were ashamed.”
George is attempting to characterize criticism of him as criticism of Catholicism. This is a meme that George is free to repeat among the faithful because he is never challenged and because it sounds so authentic. “When they attack me, they attack you as a faithful Catholic.” Fortunately most Catholics in this country would disagree.

With respect to marriage, George has never been criticized for his beliefs or his expression of those beliefs. George has been criticized for founding a group, National Organization for Marriage, which – as a proxy for the US Conference of Catholic Bishops – has the goal of banning same-sex marriage by any means necessary. In doing so George has attempted to impose the teachings of the Catholic Church on everyone else. While George was the chairman of NOM, the group engaged in a campaign strategy of characterizing gay people as a threat to children.  George has been criticized accordingly.

Along those lines, George has also been criticized for having orchestrated an attack against “Safe-Schools” Under Secretary of Education Kevin Jennings who is a gay man. In an effort to oust Jennings, George made a very creepy video at “The Innocence Project” which was part of the George-founded American Principles Project. The video (now scrubbed from the Internet) claimed that Jennings threatened the innocence of young children. It was about as subtle as a Florida hurricane.

George has been the subject of criticism for constructing his “parade of horribles.” In speeches, papers, a book and legal briefs George claimed that same-sex marriage was the end of the world as we know it. While claiming otherwise, his arguments were based upon theoretical consequences, abstractions and, for lack of a better term, make believe. George has never been deterred by the simple fact that none of these things has ever come to pass.

More recently George has been criticized for trying to nullify the Supreme Court's ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges. Nullification is both illegal and unconstitutional.

I could continue. There are many things that Robert George has been criticized for. There are many more for which he should be criticized. None of these criticisms have anything to do with what he believes or his religious expression. George is deemed a bigot because of his actions. He has failed to balance his religious convictions with empathy for the people he routinely demonizes. His colleagues do not require him to answer questions about how his actions affect gay children or children being raised by gay couples.

George's carefully staged “debates” with Cornel West had a dual purpose. The first of those was to make money. The second was to demonstrate that George was open to debate. He really was not.

At Legatus George was comfortable in his element and he was probably paid handsomely for the appearance. I, and others, have made a concerted effort to make him uncomfortable at Princeton University and to make Princeton University uncomfortable with him. He uses his position, as the holder of prestigious endowed chair, to add credibility to his attacks on gay people. That is not academic freedom. That is an abuse of academic gravitas. Robert George can be a good Catholic without abusing either gay people or his academic position. He is most certainly not a victim of political correctness.

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