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'


Copyright 2016 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for May 2016
Universal:
Respect for Women: That in every country of the world, women may be honored and respected and that their essential contribution to society may be highly esteemed.
Evangelization: Holy Rosary: That families, communities, and groups may pray the Holy Rosary for evangelization and peace.



Comments


More U.S.

Corpus Christi, The Feast of the Body and Blood of Jesus Watch

Image of There is also an ancient and beautiful custom in the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church called the Corpus Christi procession. The consecrated Host, the Body of the Lord, is reposed in what is called a monstrance. The term is derived from a Latin phrase which means to show or reveal.  The faithful process the Body of the Lord through the streets surrounding their church buildings. This Eucharistic procession can be a powerful witness to an age which has lost its sense of the sacred.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

We have received the Bread of Heaven. Let us choose to become what we consume. These Feasts are not just rituals on a Church calendar. They are invitations to encounter the Lord Jesus Christ, and then offer Him to a world waiting to be born anew. On this Feast of ... continue reading


Memorial Day: Honor Those Who Have Given Their Lives in Military Service Watch

Image of Memorial Day

By Deacon Keith Fournier

I live in Chesapeake, a wonderful city in Southeastern Virginia where there are many members of the military. The parish I serve is an example of this. Every day, I witness the many sacrifices which military families make for our Nation. On this Memorial Day, I ... continue reading


$3,600,000,000,000: the price to repair America Watch

Image of America's infrastructure is in need of improvement. Why isn't this a national priority?

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

We have money for perpetual war and can afford generous foreign aid, tax subsidies and cuts for the wealthy, but we cannot find the money to fix a pothole or repair a collapsing bridge. This is the sorry state of affairs U.S. infrastructure is in as we let the nation ... continue reading


Violent riot erupts at Trump rally in New Mexico Watch

Image of Unsurprisingly, a Trump rally erupted into a riot in New Mexico (Reuters).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Protesters at Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's New Mexico rally erupted in violent acts including the attempted stoning of police, glass bottles thrown at mounted units and their horses, burning shirts and more. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - ... continue reading


Record-breaking 38,000 illegal aliens apprehended in the month of April Watch

Image of April 2016 reaches new record for illegal alien apprehensions.

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Illegal aliens continue to surge into the United States from the Southwest U.S. border, leading the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) units to announce record-breaking apprehensions in April, 2016. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to the U.S. ... continue reading


Edward Nero, arresting officer of Freddie Gray, NOT GUILTY. Will Baltimore erupt once more? Watch

Image of Officer Edward Nero arrives at court. Nero has been acquitted of crimes in the death of Freddie Gray.

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

The arresting officer in the Freddie Gray case, Edward Nero, has been declared "not guilty" by the judge in his criminal trial. Now, the community waits to see if violence will erupt or if the streets will remain quiet. LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - Officer ... continue reading


Tell Me About the Trinity: Honoring Jerry and Plumbing the Mystery of God Watch

Image of

By Deacon Keith Fournier

'The mystery of the Most Holy Trinity is the central mystery of Christian faith and life. It is the mystery of God in himself. It is therefore the source of all the other mysteries of faith, the light that enlightens them. It is the most fundamental and essential ... continue reading


Father Frank Pavone on Father Daniel Berrigan's Pro-Life Activism Watch

Image of Fr. Daniel Berrigan

By Fr Frank Pavone

Father Berrigan was a radical figure who sent a total of almost seven years in prison.  What many don't realize though is that his activism extended beyond the anti-war movement and into the anti-abortion movement. Believing in what he called a consistent ... continue reading


Law allows persons to sue if you don't use the correct pronoun out of 58 to describe a person's sexual identity Watch

Image of We're going to need a lot more restrooms.

By David Drudge (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Under a new law, businesses in New York will be fined if they don't use a person's preferred pronoun when referring to them. This especially becomes a problem when it is understood there are at least 58 possible pronouns with at least five grammatical variations ... continue reading


Science fiction? Feds discover the 'Grocery List,' post tweets to promote new technology Watch

Image of After millions of dollars in federal spending, government scientists have discovered the grocery list technology. Where would we be without such courageous efforts?

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

The Federal Government has discovered the grocery list technology. This unlock apparently occurred recently as the Department of Agriculture sent encouraging, rapid-fire tweets to the public about how to use this remarkable new advancement. LOS ANGELES, CA (California ... continue reading


All U.S. News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

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

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

the FEED
by Catholic Online

  • St. Mechtildis: Saint of the Day for Tuesday, May 31, 2016
  • WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGES Killer nanny asks judge for freedom because ...
  • Daily Reading for Wednesday, June 1st, 2016 HD Video
  • Christians stand your ground: Graduating class recites The Lords ...
  • Daily Readings for Tuesday, May 31, 2016
  • Your Daily Inspirational Meme: God is Good
  • Advent Prayer HD Video

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Second Peter 1:2-7
2 Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of our ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 91:1-2, 14-15, 15-16
1 You who live in the secret place of Elyon, spend your nights in the ... Read More

Gospel, Mark 12:1-12
1 He went on to speak to them in parables, 'A man planted a vineyard; he ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for May 30th, 2016 Image

St. Joan of Arc
May 30: St. Joan of Arc is the patroness of soldiers and ... Read More