Quick Hits: The Nashville Statement, the crisis of British monarchy, Democrats nod to pro-lifers

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles - email) | Aug 31, 2017


The Nashville Statement, released this week by a group of Evangelical leaders to affirm Biblical teachings on sexuality, has provoked an angry backlash from liberal commentators. Most notable among them is the persistent Father James Martin, who unleashed a Tweet storm in support of homosexuals, denouncing those who condemn them (which the Nashville statement does not do). The statement has its flaws—particularly odd is its claim that chastity is not necessary within marriage—but the outrage among its critics is a considerable over-reaction, particularly in light of the fact that the Nashville Statement merely affirms what virtually all Christians would have affirmed until just a few years ago. In a Catholic World Report rundown of reactions, Carl Olson observes: “The angry responses to the Nashville Statement reflect the sort of ‘moral therapeutic deism” that has increasingly dominated the public square in recent years.” People who think of themselves as Christians, and identify themselves as such, have embraced the belief that the faith consists in, and requires, being “nice” and nothing more.


In England, the collapse of Christian faith has had a disastrous effect on the understanding of the monarchy, argues columnist Peter Hitchens in a fascinating interview that appears on the MercatorNet site. Reflecting on the flood of emotion that overwhelmed the nation upon the death of Princess Diana twenty years ago, Hitchens suggests that the public expressions of grief were a substitute for Christian rituals. The death led many British subjects to question the monarchy, he adds, because a healthy monarchy reflects a family, and the British elite has been working steadily—with considerable success—to undermine the ideals of family life. Hitchens makes the important point that “weak marriage, or no marriage at all, are essential in a society in which people are subjects of the parental state…” You see, if it’s no longer a given that mothers and fathers are responsible for their children (and kings and queens for their subjects), then who is responsible? The ever-more-powerful nanny state.


In a Wall Street Journal op-ed [subscription required, I’m afraid], Fred Barnes notes a slight softening in the stand that some Democratic Party leaders are taking on abortion. Even former Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer are now saying that people who oppose unrestricted legal abortion should not be excluded from the party. How very tolerant of them! Their sincerity will be tested, of course, when a candidate who opposes abortion actually seeks a spot on a Democratic party ticket. And the hard-core supporters of abortion on demand, led by Planned Parenthood, will fight furiously against any change in the platform of the party, in which they exercise enormous influence. Barnes leads us to the conclusion that Democratic leaders aren’t seriously thinking about nominating pro-life candidates, but they are seriously worried about alienating pro-life voters. As he puts it: “The Democrats’ recent step to the right on abortion is small but significant. It shows party leaders have awakened to their weakness on social issues.”

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at CatholicCulture.org. See full bio.

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  • Posted by: polish.pinecone4371 - Sep. 02, 2017 11:58 PM ET USA

    The Nashville Statement claim about chastity and marriage is more than likely a function of their misunderstanding that chastity is simply abstention from sexual activity rather than the wider Catholic understanding that chastity is sexual uprightness in whatever state of life we're in.

  • Posted by: feedback - Aug. 31, 2017 10:04 PM ET USA

    Alternative link to the Fred Barnes article (no subscription): https://goo.gl/hkVcdk