-Submitted by David Drumm (Nal), Guest Blogger
The current Archbishop of Chicago, Francis George (left), recognizes the “difficulty of public discussion … is that the political is the highest level of public discourse.” In explaining the Catholic Church’s concern with the HHS mandate regarding contraception. His Eminence said the first question to ask is: “Is it true or false?”
The product of reason is truth. British philosopher, John Stuart Mill, defined logic “as the science which treats of the operations of the human understanding in the pursuit of truth.”
George told members of the Union League Club of Chicago that offering birth control is “operating with evil,” and that:
the Church may otherwise sell its hospitals, pay penalties, or in a last resort, close them altogether, rather than offer birth control.
In George’s argument, he commits the logical fallacy of ad baculum, the Appeal to Fear. It is a well known tactic when your conclusions cannot be reached through logical reasoning. The use of the Appeal to Fear tactic is an admission by George that his conclusions are not sound.
As an example of an Appeal to Reason, Eleanor Schwarz, an associate professor of medicine at the University of Pittsburgh, said:
When we keep it within the purely health-and-science realm, we understand it saves people’s lives. All available contraceptives are much safer for women’s health than an undesired pregnancy.
George’s primary concern is obviously not women’s health. His primary concern is his church’s health and well-being. Contraception lowers birth rates and fewer babies means fewer potential Catholics. George does not trust women to make the pregnancy decision for themselves.