In Sunday’s New York Times, David D. Kirkpatrick wrote a fascinating profile on Cambridge author Robert P. George, tracing his steady rise to leadership as the public face of the conservative Christian Right. At the nexus of academia, religion, and politics, George has spent decades out of the limelight of partisan politics – only to emerge as one of the conservative movement’s foremost influential thinkers on matters of abortion and marriage. Called “Superman of the Earth,” by Fox News talking head Glenn Beck, George has been praised by leading figures of the Conservative party for his staunch commitment to resolving some of the most profoundly important ethical and political controversies of our time.
George’s Body-Self Dualism in Contemporary Ethics and Politics was released in paperback in September 2009.
The Conservative-Christian Big Thinker
by David D. Kirkpatrick
On a September afternoon, about 60 prominent Christians assembled in the library of the Metropolitan Club on the east side of Central Park. It was a gathering of unusual diversity and power. Many in attendance were conservative evangelicals like the born-again Watergate felon Chuck Colson, who helped initiate the meeting. Metropolitan Jonah, the primate of the Orthodox Church in America, was there as well. And so were more than half a dozen of this country’s most influential Roman Catholic bishops, including Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York, Archbishop John Myers of Newark and Cardinal Justin Rigali of Philadelphia.
At the center of the event was Robert P. George, a Princeton University professor of jurisprudence and a Roman Catholic who is this country’s most influential conservative Christian thinker. Dressed in his usual uniform of three-piece suit, New College, Oxford cuff links and rimless glasses, George convened the meeting with a note of thanks and a reminder of its purpose. Alarmed at the liberal takeover of Washington and an apparent leadership vacuum among the Christian right, the group had come together to warn the country’s secular powers that the culture wars had not ended. As a starting point, George had drafted a 4,700-word manifesto that promised resistance to the point of civil disobedience against any legislation that might implicate their churches or charities in abortion, embryo-destructive research or same-sex marriage.