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1. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 26 > Issue: 2
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selected essays
2. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 26 > Issue: 2
Jean Porter Christian Ethics and the Concept of Morality: A Historical Inquiry
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A COMPARISON OF THE CONCEPT OF MORALITY AS IT WAS UNDERSTOOD in the early Scholastic period with our contemporary understanding reveals both similarities and differences on a number of central points. Tracking these resemblances and divergences helps us to see how our conception of morality is the product of specific historical and social forces and that critical appraisal of this conception from the point of view of Christian ethics is both possible and desirable.
3. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 26 > Issue: 2
David P. Gushee, Justin Phillips Moral Formation and the Evangelical Voter: A Report from the Red States
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THE STRONG SUPPORT OF EVANGELICAL CHRISTIANS FOR PRESIDENT George W. Bush contributed significantly to his reelection in November 2004. This was cause for celebration in some quarters and despair in others. It has led to an avalanche of attention to the perennial issue of the relationship between faith and politics, the role of "moral values" in determining evangelical voting patterns, and the growing political visibility and power of evangelical Christians in the United States. This essay is written by evangelical Christians who currently reside in the western part of the "red state" of Tennessee. Its purpose is to shed light on several dimensions of evangelical engagement in contemporary American public life. First, we assess what is actually known about the voting patterns and motivations of evangelical Christians in the 2004 presidential election. Second, we consider the moral vision that animates the most visible conservative evangelical activists and organizations. Third, we consider alternative evangelical political/ethical stances that are being pursued today. Fourth and finally, we move to the normative ethical level, suggesting the contours of an evangelical political ethic in the U.S. context.
4. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 26 > Issue: 2
Geoffrey Rees Original Sin in the Original Position: A Kierkegaardian Reading of John Rawls's Writings on Justice
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AMONG THEOLOGICAL WRITERS, MANY HAVE SUSPECTED THAT JOHN Rawls's writings on justice add up to a de facto manifesto of secularism. His writings especially provoke anxiety about the potential exclusion of theological affirmations from public political discourse. Much of this anxiety focuses on his concept of the "original position" from which principles of justice are negotiated. Consideration of the anxiety provoked by this concept, however, suggests that it is theologically richer than Rawls's critics allow. A turn to Søren Kierkegaard's The Concept of Anxiety enables interpretation of the original position as a device of representation that identifies every individual with the fact of original sin. Crucial to this interpretation is Kierkegaard's description of original sin in terms of anxiety that arises from the innocence that is ignorance in the comparable original position of Adam. Where anxiety arises, sin follows. Where sin arises, the need for justice follows. Reading Rawls and Kierkegaard together consequently offers insight into the relevance of the history of the doctrine of original sin to contemporary theorization of justice.
5. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 26 > Issue: 2
Elizabeth M. Bucar Speaking of Motherhood: The Epideictic Rhetoric of John Paul II and Ayatollah Khomeini
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IN THIS ESSAY, I PROPOSE A DISTINCT APPROACH TO ETHICS—COMPARAtive rhetoric—that attempts to analyze moral discourse at the intratradition and intertradition levels. Drawing on Aristotle's classification of modes of rhetoric, I demonstrate how the epideictic mode helps conceptualize moral discourse as attempting to convince and motivate through persuasion, even as it assumes as audience of adherence. I then elaborate a method of technical rhetorical analysis, drawing on the work of Stephen Toulmin and Chiam Perelman. This method is applied to two short rhetorical performances of John Paul II and Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, focusing on motherhood. I conclude by briefly considering women's responses to clerical rhetoric.
6. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 26 > Issue: 2
Jonathan Rothchild Moral Consensus, the Rule of Law, and the Practice of Torture
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THIS ESSAY ARGUES AGAINST LEGAL, POLITICAL, AND ETHICAL JUSTIFICAtions for torture. In the expository sections of the essay, I juxtapose international prohibitions against torture with the current U.S. administration's justifications for harsh interrogation methods on the basis of military necessity and presidential prerogative. I examine the systematic and individual causes of the specific abuses at Abu Ghraib that were tantamount to torture. In the constructive sections of the essay, I retrieve the evolving standards of decency from Supreme Court cases and jus cogens peremptory norms from international law. I contend that torture is deontologically wrong and that the administration's arguments on solely teleological grounds are ethically flawed and contradictory. Engaging numerous interlocutors in law, philosophy, and Christian ethics, I reconceptualize the rule of law in terms of moral vision and an emerging moral consensus, and I hold that these terms provide a more adequate framework for evaluating and repudiating the practice of torture.
7. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 26 > Issue: 2
Tobias Winright Just Cause and Preemptive Strikes in the War on Terrorism: Insights from a Just-Policing Perspective
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ETHICISTS HAVE CRITICIZED THE GEORGE W. BUSH ADMINISTRATION'S INvocation of "war" language as a response to the threat of terrorism in the post—September 11, 2001, world. Calling instead for a "police" model, these ethicists are found among both the pacifist and the just war traditions. This essay explores what a policing model might entail. First, it highlights some expressions of interest by just war ethicists in a police approach for tackling terrorism. Second, it critically surveys some representative examples of pacifist appeals to such a paradigm. Third, it evaluates the call for a just-policing approach, showing how this model actually remains consonant with just war reasoning. Finally, the essay draws on the discipline of police ethics and examines what just cause, especially with respect to preemptive strikes, might look like in a just-policing approach to dealing with terrorism.
8. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 26 > Issue: 2
James T. Bretzke A Burden of Means: Interpreting Recent Catholic Magisterial Teaching on End-of-Life Issues
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THIS ESSAY FIRST PRESENTS GENERAL GUIDELINES FOR INTERPRETING magisterial documents using Lumen gentium's triple criteria of considering the character, manner, and frequency of magisterial teaching in order to better determine its relative authority and weight. Next, these criteria are applied to a close reading of Pope John Paul Il's various documents that deal with end-of-life issues, especially his controversial March 2004 address to the participants in the International Congress on Life-Sustaining Treatments and Vegetative State: Scientific Advances and Ethical Dilemmas. This analysis concludes that the pope did not in fact assert that artificial hydration and nutrition had to be used in virtually every medical case, such as patients diagnosed to be in a persistent vegetative state.
9. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 26 > Issue: 2
Marilyn Martone What Does Society Owe Those Who Are Minimally Conscious?
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PERSONS WHO ARE IN A MINIMALLY CONSCIOUS STATE DIFFER FROM those who are vegetative in that they have some awareness of themselves and others. Because of this awareness, their care should differ from the custodial care that is given to people in a persistent vegetative state. It should also include rehabilitative services that would help to increase their ability to function at their optimal level. This care also needs to include assistance in restructuring identity. Because persons in a minimally conscious state have a story, a narrative, that both precedes and follows their time in health care institutions, their families are best equipped to help them work on their identity issues. Many families are willing to accept this challenge if proper support systems have been put in place. The principle of subsidiarity suggests that this should be done. In addition, this approach would build on the relational components of these individuals and would eliminate the feelings of abandonment that most patients in a minimally conscious state and their families currently experience.
book reviews
10. Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics: Volume > 26 > Issue: 2
Diana Fritz Cates Aquinas, Feminism, and the Common Good
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