As RLL readers know, the magisterium of the Roman Catholic Church is morally opposed both to capital punishment and to granting access to civil marriage to same-sex couples. I have recently argued, in my new book and elsewhere, that the two practices—capital punishment and excluding same-sex couples from civil marriage—violate the constitutional law of the United States (here, here, and here). Of course, any argument about the constitutionality of capital punishment or of excluding same-sex couples from civil marriage (or of any other law or public policy) necessarily relies on a particular understanding of how the judiciary should go about determining (1) whether a right claimed to be a constitutional right has constitutional status and, if so, (2) whether the challenged government action violates the right. What understanding do my arguments rely on—my arguments about capital punishment and same-sex marriage? I address that question in a new paper—a “working paper”—that I have just posted to SSRN. Some RLL readers may be interested. The abstract of and a link to the paper are available here.
An Alien in a Strange Land: Theology in the Life of William Stringfellow, by Anthony Dancer
William Stringfellow is one of the most intriguing modern American theologians, but you’re far from alone if you haven’t heard of him. Rowan Williams, Stanley Hauerwas, Jim Wallis, and Daniel Berrigan have all been influenced by his work, yet since his death in 1985, Stringfellow’s legacy has been sorely under-appreciated and his writings far too little sought after.
Anthony Dancer’s new book, An Alien in a Strange Land: Theology in the Life of William Stringfellow, will help change that. It takes us from Stringfellow’s working-class upbringing in Massachusetts, to his coming-of-age in the 1950s as a Christian student leader, through his move from Harvard Law School to practicing law among the poor in East Harlem, and ends with the publication of his important 1973 book, An Ethic for Christians and Other Aliens in a Strange Land.
[The rest of the review is here.]