"In the current debate on gay marriage, its advocates are cast in the role of long-oppressed suppliants demanding their just due. Indeed, the whole question is put in terms of their legal and moral rights, against which the opponents of gay marriage have nothing to offer but 'residual personal prejudice,' to recall again the memorable words of the chief justice of the Canadian Supreme Court.

"But it is a mistake to conflate the automatic with the irrational, since, as we have seen, an automatic and mindless response is precisely the mechanism by which the visceral code speaks to us.

It triggers a rush of emotions because it is designed to do precisely this. Like certain automatic reflexes, such as jerking your hand off a burning stovetop, the sheer immediacy of our visceral response, far from being proof of its irrationality, demonstrates the critical importance, in times of peril and crisis, of not thinking before we act. If a man had to think before jumping out of the way of an onrushing car, or to meditate on his options before removing his hand from that hot stovetop, then reason, rather than being our help, would become our enemy. Some decisions are better left to reflexes - be these of our neurological system or of our visceral system..."

O, Israel


If any nation has suffered from terrorism, it is that of our elder brothers in the faith. Therefore, though I am a huge fan of Benedict XVI, I am very sorry that he omitted Israel's name in a prayer for countries hit by terrorists.

A Brit newspaper mapping terrorist attacks since 1993 made the same mistake. Conservative columnist Joel Morbray shows why the Palestinians who have sent suicide bombers into Israel most definitely belong on the map.

Speaking in Code


George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley has a piece ostensibly on "the faith of John Roberts"--it is actually on John Roberts and abortion. Here is the relevant portion in which a meeting with several senators is described:

"According to two people who attended the meeting, Roberts was asked by Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) what he would do if the law required a ruling that his church considers immoral. Roberts is a devout Catholic and is married to an ardent pro-life activist. The Catholic Church considers abortion to be a sin, and various church leaders have stated that government officials supporting abortion should be denied religious rites such as communion. (Pope Benedict XVI is often cited as holding this strict view of the merging of a person's faith and public duties).

"Known for his unflappable style in oral argument, Roberts appeared nonplused and, according to sources in the meeting, answered after a long pause that he would probably have to recuse himself.

"It was the first unscripted answer in the most carefully scripted nomination in history. It was also the wrong answer. In taking office, a justice takes an oath to uphold the Constitution and the laws of the United States. A judge's personal religious views should have no role in the interpretation of the laws. (To his credit, Roberts did not say that his faith would control in such a case)."

To his credit, Jonathan Turley in his wrongly reasoned piece did not beat around the bush--he came right out and used the word abortion.

As my colleague Charlotte Allen notes in an excellent piece on Beliefnet, word combinations such as "deeply held Catholic faith" are now usually "...code for asking Roberts how he plans to vote if the issue of overturning Roe comes up before the Supreme Court again--as it most certainly will. It's also code for creating a de-facto rule that, since the Catholic Church teaches that the taking of innocent human life is a grave moral wrong that no public official should support, any Catholic who takes the teachings of his or her church seriously should be automatically disqualified from holding high office in America.

That's quite a turnabout for the Democrats, who built their party's grassroots constituency among ethnic Catholic who had suffered generations of anti-Catholic prejudice from an Anglo-Saxon Protestant majority that often voted Republican. Unless it stops itself, the Democratic Party, will have become the party of bald anti-Catholicism."

But my side is speaking in code, too. The very same code words that make the other side quake with fear for Roe give us hope that Roe will be chipped away, if not overturned: