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‘Philomena’ And Moral Blindness

The new film Philomena is about an Irish woman whose illegitimate child was taken from her 50 years earlier by Catholic authorities working with the state, as was the practice of the time. Peter Hitchens says that as evil as that was, we cannot walk out of the film thinking that we today are free from the moral blindness that led to such travesties. Excerpt:

Some may have seen the astonishing case of the Italian woman confined to a mental hospital, forced to undergo a caesarean section, and then actually deprived of her own child by the courts.

This is so grotesque that they have probably concluded it is exceptional. On the contrary, thousands of British children are being snatched from their natural parents in secret each year, after totally unfair hearings against which it is almost impossible to appeal or fight.

The villains are not nuns, but their modern-day equivalents – local authority social workers convinced of their own goodness, and dedicated to our new faiths of equality and diversity and political correctness.

They worship the State as fervently as any nun bent before the altar worshipped God, and they view heterosexual married couples with the same glowering suspicion Mother Superiors once reserved for unmarried mothers.

This bigotry is generally supported by wooden-headed police officers, and believed almost without question by the courts. All of them presume  the guilt of parents accused of ‘abuse’, often on the thinnest pretext. But they come from the same professions which so often fail to act on the most outrageous and blatant cases of real physical and sexual abuse.

You did hear about the case of the Italian national who suffered a C-section ordered by British courts, and then had her baby taken from her, right? It actually happened last year. The state, and modern society, engage in all kinds of acts of coercion that they — that we — justify because they seem perfectly moral to us.

In Colorado, a state court has ruled that a Christian baker must provide wedding cakes for gay couples, or face legal sanction. A curious fact in this case: the Colorado state constitution explicitly rules out same-sex marriage. But according to the judge, a Colorado citizen must be compelled to participate in a practice the state constitution refuses to recognize. And this seems perfectly reasonable to many. Hate to sound all postmodernist here, but sometimes, reason really is a veil over the raw exercise of power.

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. He has written and edited for the New York Post, The Dallas Morning News, National Review, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Washington Times, and the Baton Rouge Advocate. Rod’s commentary has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, the Weekly Standard, Beliefnet, and Real Simple, among other publications, and he has appeared on NPR, ABC News, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and the BBC. He lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with his wife Julie and their three children. He has also written four books, The Little Way of Ruthie Leming, Crunchy Cons, How Dante Can Save Your Life, and The Benedict Option.

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