The National Review has published an editorial by Colleen Carroll Campbell on the resignation of St. Louis’ Archbishop Raymond Burke from his position on the board of that city’s Children’s Hospital foundation. The Archbishop objected to the invitation to the outspoken (and vocal) proponent for abortion and embryonic stem cell research, Cheryl Crow.
Ms. Campbell states the problem well:
Today’s religious leaders increasingly face a double standard when it comes to their public pronouncements: They can say what they want as long as they express politically correct views or stay mum on hot-button social issues. Where secular pundits and celebrities are given free reign to plead their case to the public, religious leaders are derided as theocrats for injecting religiously derived moral principles into political debates. This stifling of religious voices is intended to prevent religious conflicts in the public square. But it also prevents the most fundamental form of deliberation necessary to the functioning of a pluralistic democracy: honest debates about right and wrong, good and evil, truth and falsehood.
However, I would add that the zealotry of some who complain about activism by any and all religious people in any public dispute is near-religious in itself.
A case in point:
The journal, Nature Neuroscience published an unsigned, unattributed essay in the April, 2007 issue, entitled “Shaky arguments against stem cells: Recent attempts to use scientific findings to discredit embryonic stem cell research are distorting the state of the field.” (I’m not sure whether this requires registration to view.)
(Amazing, huh, that the editors could afford so much space for their title, but none for their own names?)
The editorial is nothing but a call for all embryonic stem cell research and nothing short of the same, without comment, without restrictions.
In order to illustrate their point, the authors (whoever they are), discuss an essay written to inform the readers of First Things. The authors (whoever they are) state that the content of the article is “correct,” but feel it necessary to stress that the journal is a “conservative Roman Catholic magazine” and cite Maureen L. Condic, Ph.D. for “trying to spin science—both its problems and successes—to fit an anti-scientific purpose.”
In fact, they seem most offended that Dr. Condic commented at all.
As I wrote the editors, the editorial reflects a deep bias and a “spin” of its own, discrediting their journal and “distorting the state of the field,” indeed.
If we knew who these anonymous authors were, perhaps we could ask them why their own position is “right” and the Dr.s’ is “wrong.” I would also ask them why they insist on bringing religion and politics into the debate, when Dr. Condic so obviously – as they state – avoided both.