Appeals to the natural moral law we can know by reason underwrote the American civil rights revolution. Appeals to that same natural moral law underwrite the pro-life movement, the successor to the civil rights movement. And appeals to the natural moral law have underwritten U.S. international human rights policy for the past thirty years. Until, that is, December 2009, when the Secretary of State of the United States, in a speech at Georgetown University, emptied the concept of religious freedom of everything save the “freedom to worship” while asserting, in a catalogue of what she claimed were fundamental international human rights, that people “must be free…to love in the way they choose” — which “choice” must, presumably, be protected by international human rights covenants and national and local civil rights laws.
All of this suggests that one of the great challenges of your generation, my fellow-members of the Class of 2012 of Benedictine College, will be to rise to the defense of religious freedom in full.