Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deal W Hudson

6/30/2013 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Educators have failed to combat the slide of our culture into emotivism, presumably because they lacked the courage, or the means, to challenge it.

It was inevitable that the substitution of emotional fervor for rational discourse would impact our politics and our national debates on important matters such as the meaning of marriage.  Now we have witnessed the spectacle of five members of the Supreme Court thinking and writing as if they were guests on Phil or Oprah. What makes me cringe and shake my head with both anger and sadness, is that our nation\'s most powerful jurists sound like all those students, in my fifteen years of university teaching, who told me that \"truth\" is based upon feeling states, such as feelings of being \"excluded\" or \"judged.\" Thus, if the truth feels \"demeaning\" -- such as marriage is between a man and woman -- it can\'t be the truth. Such a view is called "emotivism" by philosophers

The Phil Donahue Show (1970-96) had a huge influence on American culture in the exaltation of personal feeling

The Phil Donahue Show (1970-96) had a huge influence on American culture in the exaltation of personal feeling

Highlights

By Deal W Hudson

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

6/30/2013 (1 year ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: emotivism, Supreme Court, Windsor, Gay Marriage, equal protection, Phil Donahue, Oprah Winfrey, DOMA, Prop 8, Deal W Hudson


WASHINGTON, DC (Catholic Online) - Thanks to my friend, Rev. Joshua Allen of Atlanta, for alerting me to the following passages in the recent DOMA decision of our Supreme Court.

I share Rev. Allen's "cringe at the language of the majority opinion," namely the "dignity" conferred on same-sex marriage by the State in the exercise of its sovereign powers (21). But I especially abhor the Court's language, written by Justice Kennedy, that differentiating between an unnatural same-sex marriage and a heterosexual marriage somehow "demeans the couple" and "humiliates tens of thousands of children now being raised by same-sex couples" (23).

And finally, again in the same florid tone: The majority opinion claims that "the principal purpose and the necessary effect of this law are to demean those persons who are in a lawful same-sex marriage" (25).

What makes me cringe and shake my head with both anger and sadness, is that our nation's most powerful jurists sound like all those students, in my fifteen years of university teaching, who told me that "truth" is based upon feeling states, such as feelings of being "excluded" or "judged." Thus, if the truth feels "demeaning" -- such as marriage is between a man and woman -- it can't be the truth. Such a view is called "emotivism" by philosophers.

In a brief email exchange yesterday, Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League, agreed with me that the popularity of the Phil Donahue Show (1970-96) had a huge influence on American culture in the exaltation of personal feeling. 

You may recall how Donahue would rove around, microphone in hand, as a kind of psychological Socrates, asking members of his audience how does so and so "make you feel?" Donahue was raised Roman Catholic in Cleveland, Ohio, received an all-Catholic education, graduating from the University of Notre Dame in 1957, but admitted, I was not "a very good Roman Catholic."

Donahue's fascination with public displays of emotional bedwetting would be copied by Barbara Walters and Oprah Winfrey. Live, daytime TV talk shows became virtual purgathons, during which the guru-like celebrities would seek to elicit as much laughter and tears, especially the latter, from their studio audiences as possible -- ratings soared as viewers, primarily women (no offense intended!) watched these histrionics in droves.

It was inevitable that the substitution of emotional fervor for rational discourse would impact our politics and our national debates on important matters such as the meaning of marriage.  Now we have witnessed the spectacle of five members of the Supreme Court thinking and writing as if they were guests on Phil or Oprah.

Have these justices, graduates of the finest colleges and law schools, never in the course of their education, had their adolescent fear of rejection challenged as the basis of all knowledge and value?

I don't blame Phil, Barbara, and Oprah -- it was their job to entertain, after all. But it was the job of educators to educate, not mimic the manipulations of the talk show host, and certainly not to embrace the key to their popularity, the idolization of high emotion.  Educators have failed to combat the slide of our culture into emotivism, presumably because they lacked the courage, or the means, to challenge it. I lay the primary blame for the Court's sophomoric confusion at the feet of educators at every level, but especially colleges and graduate schools.

-----
Deal W. Hudson, Ph.D, is president of the Pennsylvania Catholics Network and former publisher and editor of Crisis Magazine. He is the Senior Correspondent for Church and Culture and a contributing writer for Catholic Online.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for May 2015
Universal:
That, rejecting the culture of indifference, we may care for our neighbours who suffer, especially the sick and the poor.
Evangelization: That Mary's intercession may help Christians in secularized cultures be ready to proclaim Jesus.


Rosaries, Crosses, Prayer Cards and more... by Catholic Shopping .com


Comments


More U.S.

Crackdown by federal agents on 'Pill Mills' in four southern states Watch

Image of An average of 44 people in the U.S. dies every day from opioids. These drugs include Vicodin, OxyContin and Percocet.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Drug Enforcement Administration and other authorities are raiding pharmacies, pain clinics and other facilities in four southern U.S. states. It is all part of an aggressive crackdown on prescription pain drug abuse. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - ... continue reading


Matt C. Abbott: Why I wrote Pope Francis about an exorcist

Image of Father William S. Bowdern, S.J. Father Bowdern was the chief exorcist in the 1949 exorcism of Robbie, the teenaged boy whose case inspired William Peter Blatty's 1971 novel The Exorcist, which subsequently was made into a feature film.

By Matt C. Abbott

Here's one name I haven't heard mentioned in regard to possible canonization, yet it seems he'd be a good candidate: Father William S. Bowdern, S.J. Father Bowdern, who was born in 1897 and died in 1983, was the chief exorcist in the 1949 exorcism of "Robbie," ... continue reading


FBI lectures High school students on resisting ISIS recruitment Watch

Image of The FBI is planning to take its message to other schools in the Tri-State Area to reach kids at critical adolescent ages.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

High school students at Bergen County School, in Bergen County, New Jersey got a surprise lecture from FBI agents. They warned students away from sophisticated new techniques used by Islamic State to join their ranks. In particular, a new ISIS-produced video ... continue reading


Bin Laden's secret files: What we found and what's been released Watch

Image of The U.S. Department of National Intelligence has released a report of documents that were captured during the May 1, 2011 raid in Pakistan that resulted in the death of Osama bin Laden.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The U.S. government has begun declassifying and releasing documents that were captured during the 2011 raid of Osama bin Laden's hideout in Pakistan, and some of what has been released shows that America's number one enemy for almost a decade was obsessed with ... continue reading


Are there weapons aboard? U.S. Air Force space shuttle's secret contents no longer a secret Watch

Image of

By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The U.S. Air Force's X-37B space shuttle, launched into Earth's orbit, was revealed not to contain weapons as many feared. MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - According to the published manifest, the space shuttle carries a new form of Hall ion-powered ... continue reading


Catholic University removes insensitive mural honoring convicted killer Watch

Image of

By Hannah Raissa Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Marquette University in Wisconsin has officially taken down a mural of Assata Shakur, one of the FBI's most wanted. Shakur was convicted of killing a state trooper in New Jersey before fleeing to Cuba in 1973. The Catholic university's authorities were warned of the ... continue reading


As John Wayne would say, YO! America's biggest ranch up for sale for $725 million Watch

Image of  The Waggoner Ranch includes the 510,000-acre ranch spread over six North Texas counties, with two main compounds, hundreds of homes, about 20 cowboy camps, hundreds of quarter horses, thousands of heads of cattle, and 30,000 acres of cultivated land.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Waggoner Ranch, America's biggest ranch stretches over 510,000 continuous acres, or 796 square miles, making it a plot of land bigger than the island of Oahu and New York City. It is up for sale for $725 million. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Realtors are hoping ... continue reading


See what is REALLY killing Americans with macabre 'Death Map' Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

While heart disease and cancer are the most common killers in the United States, a new map proves that these causes vary from state to state. Said "Death Map" shows the most distinctive cause of death, which is the rate higher than the national average. LOS ... continue reading


What will Boston Marathon bomber face in Supermax prison, described as 'worse than death?' Watch

Image of Inmates have little to no contact outside of guards and prison staff. All prisoners must wear leg irons, handcuffs and stomach chains when taken outside their cells.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

ADX, the nation's most secure "Supermax" prison in Florence, Colorado may be getting another inmate shortly: 21-year-old Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev may get life in prison - or if he's given the death penalty, a brief stay in Terre Haute, Indiana ... continue reading


Has OPEC won the oil war? Oil prices rebound after shale market collapse Watch

Image of The first battle between OPEC and the U.S. over the oil market may be over, but don't count the U.S. out just yet.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Saudi Arabia's strategy of flooding the global markets with oil in an effort to hamper production by rivals such as Russia, the U.S. and other non-OPEC countries seems to be working. The oil producing giant has produced a little more than 10 million barrels of ... continue reading


All U.S. News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Acts 25:13-21
13 Some days later King Agrippa and Bernice arrived ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 103:1-2, 11-12, 19-20
1 [Of David] Bless Yahweh, my soul, from the depths ... Read More

Gospel, John 21:15-19
15 When they had eaten, Jesus said to Simon Peter, ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for May 22nd, 2015 Image

St. Rita
May 22: St. Rita was born at Spoleto, Italy in 1381. At an early age, ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter