Entries by William C. Duncan

It’s the annual Christmas display tussle

It’s that time of year, when the world (really, just the U.S., we hope) goes to court to wrangle over Christmas displays. Here’s a sample of some of the latest disputes: The city of Wadena, Minn., removed a nativity scene that had traditionally been displayed at a publicly owned park after a self-described “Constitutional Conservative […]

How ‘elites’ led dramatic shift in favor of same-sex marriage

In 1999, Stanley Rothman and Amy Black published an analysis of opinions of leaders in seven fields: the bureaucracy, business, judges, lawyers, media, religion and entertainment. Their analysis showed a wide range of opinion on various issues. Some of the interesting data concerned changes in attitudes about various moral issues, measured as agreement with the […]

Of people and property

Having the ability to do a thing does not always mean having the capacity to judge whether to do it. That truism comes to mind in reflecting on a recent California divorce dispute. The case involved a disagreement between the husband and wife about what to do with five fertilized embryos they had created during […]

Burke’s ‘armed doctrines,’ ideologues, and Title IX

Central to the conservative critique of revolutionary movements is Edmund Burke’s charge that they promote “armed doctrines,” ideological principles imposed without reference to longstanding practice, current realities or countervailing principles. These are promoted by ideologues who “seek to impose on society and government an unvarying formula that is presented as the answer to every problem […]

‘Clear scientific consensus’ on child well-being?

A report on an ongoing dispute over a foster placement contains this interesting assertion from an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union: “There is a clear scientific consensus that children of same-sex parents fare no differently than their peers.” While Sutherland Institute has no position on the foster placement, we are interested in factually […]

Mulling the ethics of gamete donation

In the immediate wake of the Supreme Court decision on marriage, it became clear that a push for “family equality” is likely to be the next step. This would entail new laws and policies that require “eras[ing] cultural and legal attachments to biological, dual-gender parenting.” A proponent of this change recognizes the marriage decision as […]

A constitutional right to government-funded disgrace?

In the wake of videos purporting to show that Planned Parenthood employees are engaging in the sale of body parts obtained through abortions, Governor Gary Herbert’s administration decided to end state contracts with the organization’s Utah affiliate. Planned Parenthood sued the governor, arguing that its constitutional rights had been violated, and a federal court in […]

Culture of death

California has now become the fifth state to legalize physician-assisted suicide with Gov. Jerry Brown’s signature last week. It is ironic that in a time touted as the apex of the expansion of individual freedom, the new rights in highest demand are the right to kill oneself and the right to dull one’s senses with […]

Pope Francis (and others) on religious liberty

One sorry trend that has gained steam in the wake of the movement to redefine marriage is an attempt to marginalize religious liberty. Thus, when Indiana was considering a Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), commentary in opposition acted as if the bill were a form of special pleading against gay rights. But the federal statute […]