Beyond Partisan: Voting While Catholic in 2016

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STUDENT VOICES

By Tim Colvin

For many faithful Catholics and Christians of all denominations, even for many Americans who are not religious, this election has painted a very stark picture: we are forced to choose between the two most flawed and disliked candidates in recent political memory. Many Americans have chosen to vote for third parties as a way to vent their frustration, while others, including myself, have decided that no candidate is fit to lead our country and have decided to not vote at all. I am particularly disappointed that I feel the need to abstain from voting, as this is the first presidential election I can participate in, but I feel as I have a greater duty to my principles and conscience.

But perhaps there is also an opportunity in this election, an opportunity for creative destruction, for new philosophies and ideas to emerge. For the past several decades it has felt like Christians have become more or less clients of the Republican Party; Republicans will take a stand (or will at least pay lip-service) to those particular issues (especially social issues) and Christians will get in line to pull the lever for the Republican candidate.

And now that the culture wars are over for the most part – gay rights and the sexual revolution are arguably, mostly settled issues – the rise of Donald Trump represents a post- culture war Republican Party, where issues of sexual morality have taken a back seat, and issues dealing with economics and immigration have come to the fore. Many faithful Christians have latched themselves, in my view wrongly, to Trump in the hope that he will protect in the battles to come over religious liberty. But as I mentioned, Trump is a candidate who sees social issues as almost second tier, and hardly ever mentions them; even on some occasions taking the side traditionally seen as liberal.

But perhaps out of the creative destruction left behind by the 2016 election, there is a chance to come up with a more Catholic, communitarian political philosophy. Communitarianism, which places an emphasis on the individual’s connection to a wider community, has never been popular in the United States, which has always preferred to have the individual as the most basic unit in its politics. There are already some on the right who have begun to retool the Republican ideology to fit a 21st century context, who see the current Republican outlook mired down in the Reaganism of the 1980s.

Known as “reform conservatives” or “reformicons,” these conservative intellectuals have a lot to offer the Republican Party, such as making the over-encumbered welfare system more pro-family and shifting the party away from its titans of industry image. Of course this revival in Christian thinking should not take place in only one party, and Christians should not feel pigeonholed into supporting just one party. There seems to be a search for a political messiah, a single leader who will save our nation from its political troubles and lead it towards salvation, but this hope is deeply misguided and hopelessly idealistic.

Not all of our problems can or will be solved by politics, and should not dare to hope that politics can deliver us from the evils of this life. I believe a Christian mindset, which accepts that man is a fallen creature, can introduce a healthy dose of realism into the political community.

Tim Colvin is a senior at Fordham University.  He is currently enrolled in Fordham University’s Center for Ethics Education Five Year BA-BS/MA Ethics and Society Program, and is a dual major in Political Science and Classical Civilization with a minor in Philosophy. 

Deterrence or Disarmament?: The Ethics of Nuclear Warfare

Corroral Missile in front of the Center Exchange. Photo via NYPL Digital Archives.
Corroral Missile in front of the Center Exchange, 1957.                                          Photo via NYPL Digital Archives.

STUDENT VOICES

By: Kayla Giampaolo

On July 16, 1945 at 5:29 a.m., a 30,000 foot mass of smoke rose in New Mexico’s desert: the first atomic bomb had just been successfully tested. At the time, most people were unaware that the course of warfare and ultimately the world was about to change irrevocably. Since that eerie summer morning, nine nations have developed the intelligence to create and possess nuclear weapons (Granoff, 2000, p. 1414). The United States is one of these nuclear superpowers, making the ethical issues associated with these weapons critical and relevant.

Is using a nuclear weapon morally permissible under some circumstances? Is it ethical to implement nuclear deterrence (threatening to use atomic weapons) as a self-defense strategy?

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The Scientist-Citizen Dilemma and Moral Stress

Many of the ethical challenges faced by researchers conducting community-based studies with persons addicted to street drugs can be understood in terms of the “scientist-citizen dilemma.” This dilemma arises when researcher’s ethical obligation to produce scientifically valid knowledge conflicts with their sense of moral responsibility to help participants living in poverty with little access to treatment.

Frontline research staff engaged in the practical process of moral agency who encounter such dilemmas on a daily basis often experience moral stress when they cannot actualize these dual values via their work. Such stress may lead them to take actions that while assisting research participants in need jeopardize the validity of the study conducted.  In a recent article, Dr. Celia B. Fisher and her colleagues examined the consequences of moral stress among drug use community researchers and the organizational climates that can reduce or exacerbate these moral conflicts.

To read the full article, please see:

Fisher, C. B., True, G., Alexander, L., & Fried, A. L. (2013). Moral stress, moral practice, and ethical climate in community-based drug-use research: Views from the front line. AJOB Primary Research4(3), 27-38.

NIH Grant Applications and the Government Shutdown: What You Need to Know

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has today issued a notice to the extramural grantee community regarding the lapse of federal government funding.

Depending on the length of the funding lapse, once NIH non-excepted staff are authorized to resume operations, it will take time for full operations to be resumed. In other words: prepare to wait.

Continue reading “NIH Grant Applications and the Government Shutdown: What You Need to Know”

From Patmos to Eloy, AZ: John of Patmos, Exile and the Dream 9

By Jeremy V. Cruz

The Dream 9, photo w/ permission by Steve Pavey, Ph.D., One Horizon Foundation
The Dream 9, photo w/ permission by Steve Pavey, Ph.D., One Horizon Foundation

As a scholar-practitioner, I offer this brief reflection with two aims.  First, I invite your participation in the work of survival and liberation currently germinating from within the walls of the Eloy Detention Center in Arizona.  Second, I encourage deeper scholarly reflection on how one migrant detainee’s theological reflection relates to the postcolonial/anti-imperial analysis of a Chicano biblical scholar—Dr. David Sánchez.

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‘Jailing for Dollars’ event discusses ethical issues surrounding the privatization of American prisons

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From left, Cindy Chang, John Pfaff, Michael Jacobson, Thomas Giovanni, and Judith Greene.
Photo by Bruce Gilbert

Over the past 30 years, the United States has become the world’s leader in incarceration with 2.2 million people currently in the nation’s prisons or jails.

On April 23, a panel of experts discussed the ethical issues surrounding the privatization of American prisons at a conference entitled “Jailing for Dollars: The Moral Costs of Privatizing Justice”  sponsored by the Center for Ethics Education.

Continue reading “‘Jailing for Dollars’ event discusses ethical issues surrounding the privatization of American prisons”