Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Meaning of Marriage - Book Discussion

Students walking adjacent to
Monroe County Community College
This summer I'll be meeting with a small group to discuss: The Meaning of Marriage: Family, State, Market, and Morals, by Robert George and Jane Bethge Elshtain (eds.). If you're in the Monroe area I invite you to join! 

This book's concerns are the legality and societal ramifications of allowing same-sex marriage. "An underlying presupposition for the essayists featured here—who range from moderate liberals to traditional conservatives—is that if we alter the institution of marriage as it is understood in our laws, there will be profound and perhaps unintended consequences for the ways in which we think of ourselves as men and women, and for the kind of society we live in." (Kindle Locations 95-97)

Book Description: The movement for same-sex marriage has triggered an unprecedented crisis in the social norms and laws governing marriage. All great civilizations have sought to unite, in the institution of marriage, the goods of sexual intimacy, childbearing and childrearing, and life-long love between adults. But the last five decades have witnessed the erosion of marriage as a public institution in the developed world. The separation of the goods previously united in marriage has led thoughtful people to question why marriage should be denied to homosexuals.
This volume brings together the best of contemporary scholarship on marriage from a variety of disciplines—history, ethics, economics, law and public policy, philosophy, sociology, psychiatry, political science—to inform, and reform, public debate. Rigorous yet accessible, these studies aim to rethink and re-present the case for marriage as a positive institution and ideal that is in the public interest and serves the common good.
The essays in this volume were presented to an audience of scholars, journalists, public policy experts, and other professionals, at a conference sponsored by the Witherspoon Institute. The authors are among the most eminent authorities on marriage and public policy in the English-speaking world.

First meeting is: Thursday, June 7, noon-1, Panera Bread in Monroe.

Assignment: Read Foreward, plus chapters 1 and 2.

I contacted Dr. George this morning and he is willing to receive and respond personally to questions we have re. the book. This is an exciting opportunity to learn! In the group we will be formulating questions to ask him.

If you want to join me in this book discussion e-mail me: johnpiippo@msn.com.

Dr. George is Princeton's celebrated McCormick Chair in Jurisprudence and is the founding director of the James Madison Program. He has served on the President's Council on Bioethics and as a presidential appointee to the United States Commission on Civil Rights. He has also served on UNESCO’s World Commission on the Ethics of Science and Technology, of which he continues to be a corresponding member. He is a former Judicial Fellow at the Supreme Court of the United States, where he received the Justice Tom C. Clark Award. He has authored many books and articles.

Dr. Elshtain is one of America's foremost public intellectuals, Jean Bethke Elshtain is the Laura Spelman Rockefeller Professor of Social and Political Ethics, Divinity School, The University of Chicago, with appointments in Political Science and the Committee on International Relations. She has written many books and articles.

Both Dr. George and Dr. Elshtain have receoved many honors and awards.