Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deal W Hudson

6/30/2013 (2 years 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 (2 years 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 June 2015
Universal:
That immigrants and refugees may find welcome and respect in the countries to which they come.
Evangelization: That the personal encounter with Jesus may arouse in many young people the desire to offer their own lives in priesthood or consecrated life.


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


Comments


More U.S.

On this Fourth of July, We Need a Declaration of Dependence Watch

Image of The real promise of the Declaration of the Declaration of Independence now cries out for those who believe in its promise to stand up for its true meaning and work to restore the unique experiment in ordered liberty which it offers for future generations.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

The Declaration of Independence was the birth certificate of the United States of America, a Nation often called the American Experiment because of the very fact that it was founded upon principles. The words are still memorized by schoolchildren and can bring a ... continue reading


Learning from the Wonderful Witness of 'Doubting' Thomas Watch

Image of Thomas the doubter became the Thomas the model believer, an example for each one of us. He is a great beacon of light for all of us as we cry out with him, MY LORD AND MY GOD!

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

What conclusion, dear brethren, do you come to? Surely it was not by chance that this chosen disciple, was missing in the first place? Or that on his return he heard, that hearing he doubted, that doubting he touched, and that touching he believed? It was by ... continue reading


Catholic Church in U.S. has weathered adversity before - and will emerge triumphant, historian says Watch

Image of As bishops warn of current threats to religious liberty in the United States, Catholics can take heart that such challenges have faced them before, and they have persevered, one Church historian says.

By Matt Hadro, CNA/EWTN News

As bishops warn of current threats to religious liberty in the United States, Catholics can take heart that such challenges have faced them before, and they have persevered, one Church historian says. Washington D.C. (CNA/EWTN News) - "It's okay to realize that ... continue reading


After same-sex unions legalized, polygamous Montana trio demands same Watch

Image of The 46-year-old Nathan Collier owns a refrigeration business in Billings. He married 40-year-old Victoria in 2000. His second wife, Christine, was wed in a religious wedding ceremony in 2007 without a marriage license in order to avoid bigamy charges.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

It was bound to happen. After the Supreme Court ruled same-sex unions legal in all 50 states, other proponents of non-traditional arrangements are clamoring for equality under the law. Nathan Collier, along with his wives Victoria and Christine have applied at ... continue reading


350-pound dolphin accidentally lands on cruise ship severely injuring woman Watch

Image of

By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

To kick off the summer break and celebrate Father's day, a family went aboard a cruise that ended with a traumatizing accident. As the cruise started to sail back to the harbor, a group of dolphins started to swim alongside the boat. However, as the passengers started ... continue reading


Episcopalians overwhelmingly vote to let same-sex weddings in churches Watch

Image of Episcopalians voted overwhelmingly this week to allow religious weddings for same-sex couples.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Episcopalians voted overwhelmingly this week to allow religious weddings for same-sex couples. The Episcopal Church has long been on the forefront of equal rights for homosexuals, ever since electing it first openly gay bishop 10 years ago.  LOS ANGELES, ... continue reading


TERROR LEAK: ISIS learns of FBI command centers across U.S. for Fourth of July Watch

Image of One such likely ISIS candidate, 23-year-old Alaa Saadeh, was believed to be part of a group interested in detonating a pressure cooker bomb at a New York landmark.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

It appears that an important bit of counter-terrorism may have landed into the wrong hands. The Federal Bureau of Investigation, or FBI is installing command centers around the nation to prepare for possible terror attacks for the coming Fourth of July holiday ... continue reading


Remaining U.S. troops in Afghanistan 'feel forgotten' Watch

Image of Several US Troops felt abandoned and forgotten by the US government

By Linky C. (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A total of 10,000 American troops remain in Afghanistan. These troops believe they have been forgotten by the Obama administration, as the US Government shifts its attention to ISIS. MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - The US Troops, 10,000 men and women left ... continue reading


Risk for massive earthquake in California increases as scientists find dangerous helium coming from fault zone Watch

Image of

By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Researchers recently discovered helium leaking from a giant fault in the Earth's crust near Los Angeles, as well as discovering an increase in chance for California to have an 8.0 magnitude earthquake. MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - They did not expect the ... continue reading


United States prepares for Fourth of July amidst threat of ISIS attacks Watch

Image of The U.S. Government prepares for possible terrorist attacks this coming Independence Day celebration in the U.S.

By Linky C. (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Three days before the United States' Independence Day, the FBI has already began setting up command centers in all of the 56 field offices across the country prior to the fourth. The U.S. Government is preparing for possible terrorist attacks and terrorist threats that ... 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, Ezekiel 2:2-5
2 As he said these words the spirit came into me and ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 123:1-2, 2, 3-4
1 [Song of Ascents] I lift up my eyes to you who are ... Read More

Gospel, Mark 6:1-6
1 Leaving that district, he went to his home town, ... Read More

Reading 2, Second Corinthians 12:7-10
7 Wherefore, so that I should not get above myself, I ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for July 5th, 2015 Image

St. Anthony Mary Zaccaria
July 5: Cofounder of the Barnabites. Born in 1502 in Cremona, Italy, ... 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