What is "reasonable?"
In the United States, there are citizens who don’t believe in God and therefore don’t believe in Divine Law. There are also citizens who believe in God and Divine Law, but think that they should accommodate those who don’t believe in God by arriving at justice through the use of reason alone.
The problem with this view is that there isn’t necessarily agreement as to what is “reasonable.” For example, Dr. Francis Crick, an agnostic who in 1962 shared a Nobel Prize for his DNA research, once said “…human problems can and must be faced in terms of human moral and intellectual resources without invoking supernatural authority." He also said, “…no newborn infant should be declared human until it has passed certain tests regarding its genetic endowment, and if it fails these tests, it forfeits its right to live.” His Nobel Laureate partner, Dr. James Watson, an atheist who described himself as “an escapee from the Catholic religion,” holds much the same view. He wrote: “If a child were not declared alive until three days after birth… The doctor could allow the child to die… I believe this view is the only rational,compassionate attitude to have.” In other words, killing an infant who failed his “genetic tests” wouldn’t be murder because he hadn’t yet been “declared human,” or “declared alive.”
In 1984, Governor Lamm of Colorado said the elderly have a “duty to die and get out of the way.” Does the state have the right to require us to die?
More recently, a female nominee for the US Supreme Court was asked to define what a woman is. The nominee replied, “I’m not a biologist.” Why couldn’t she answer what seems like a simple question? Could it be that she was afraid of offending those who “identify” as a different sex than their DNA would indicate?
The belief that each person’s free will determines for the individual what is morally good or bad, and that there is no objective unchanging truth, is called voluntarism. “Rationalizing” is a form of voluntarism. Of course, with no agreed upon standard by which to judge what is right and true, a power struggle ensues, and the state, holding the most power, but not necessarily the truth, prevails, and claims the authority to enforce its decisions on others.
In George Orwell’s novel 1984, the Party decides what is true, and if it says “2+2=5,” that’s the “truth,” and citizens must submit their perception to the will of the party, or become a “thought criminal.” This is playing out in our time as workers are forced to address their co-workers not with the pronouns their biological sex would indicate, but the opposite, because he or she now “identifies” as someone of the opposite sex. In this modern day version of The Emperor’s New Clothes, the child must be punished for saying of the Emperor: “But he hasn’t got anything on!”
In his book Contraception and Persecution, Prof. Charles Rice wrote “The only basis for inalienable rights against the state is the creation of the immortal person made in the image and likeness of God.” In his Letter from the Birmingham Jail, Martin Luther King wrote these words that accord with Catholic teaching: “I would agree with St. Augustine that ‘an unjust law is no law at all’… A just law is a man-made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law. To put it in the terms of St. Thomas Aquinas: An unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law. Any law that uplifts human personality is just. Any law that degrades human personality is unjust.”
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Viva Christo Rey!