In the New York Times Magazine, David Kirkpatrick writes about Robert P. George, one of the architects of the recently-unveiled Manhattan Declaration and a legal scholar who is emerging as a leading voice among Christian conservatives. He is also an outspoken proponent of natural-law reasoning:
George is the leading voice for a group of Catholic scholars known as the new natural lawyers. He argues for the enforcement of a moral code as strictly traditional as that of a religious fundamentalist. What makes his natural law “new” is that it disavows dependence on divine revelation or biblical Scripture—or even history and anthropology. Instead, George rests his ethics on a foundation of “practical reason”: “invoking no authority beyond the authority of reason itself,” as he put it in one essay.
The Manhattan Declaration was notable as, among other things, a victory for natural-law conservatism:
Over lunch last month at the Princeton faculty club, George noted that many evangelicals had signed the Manhattan Declaration despite the traditional Protestant skepticism about the corruption of human reason. “I sold my view about reason!” he declared. He was especially pleased that, by signing onto the text, so many Catholic bishops had endorsed his new natural-law argument about marriage. “It really is the top leadership of the American church,” he said.
Read more in the New York Times Magazine.