Tom McCaffrey

Most Recent Articles by Tom McCaffrey:

Moral Equivalence in Charlottesvile

Sep 18, 2017 — Tom McCaffrey

Violence is one of the “messy implications of fighting for liberation.” So say the Reverend Traci Blackmon and three other authors in a remarkable op-ed piece in the New York Times that ran in the wake of the recent events in Charlottesville. (NY Times, Sept 1, 2017)

The attitude of Reverend Blackmon and her fellow authors, all Christian ministers, can be summed up as follows: Violence comes with the territory. We don’t condone it, but we understand that it is unavoidable. If our efforts inspire some to commit violence, this will not prevent us from continuing our efforts, and it should not prevent others from joining us. At least our violence is committed in the service of a just cause, which is more than can be said for the right’s violence. (Reverend Blackmon is one of the founders of Black Lives Matter, whose efforts contributed, among other things, to the murder of five police officers in Dallas in July of 2016.)


Deconstructing a Culture

Aug 22, 2017 — Tom McCaffrey

The tearing down of Confederate monuments was sure to be a divisive issue. Why raise it now, when the people of the United States are as divided as they have been at any time since—the Civil War? The question answers itself. It was raised now precisely because it would be divisive. But to say this is to call into question the motives of those who have raised the issue. Indeed.

Those who advocate tearing down the monuments accuse their opponents of racism. It’s an easy accusation to make, and not an easy one to refute. It places the moral onus on those who would defend the monuments to justify their actions, while deflecting moral scrutiny from their accusers.


Resurrecting an Essential Right

Jul 26, 2017 — Tom McCaffrey

The US Supreme Court has agreed to hear the case of the Colorado baker who was forced, in violation of his Christian beliefs, to bake a wedding cake for a homosexual couple. The baker will argue that the state’s public accommodations law violates his freedom of religion and his right to “free expression.” The State of Colorado will argue that the baker’s refusal to accommodate the couple because of their homosexuality constitutes a violation of the couples’ rights.

If someone went about hitting people over the head for religious reasons, he would certainly be violating their rights. But anything less than the use of physical force infringes no one’s rights. A baker’s refusal to make a wedding cake for a couple, whatever his reason, is no more a violation of their rights than if he refused to attend their wedding.