Natural Law and Conscientous Objection

Brandon Kalinowski

This blog post is in response to a comment made on Facebook.

I certainly see where you are coming from. However in no way can these two things be properly compared. They deal with two entirely different issues. The Afghan case is certainly taking away the basic right of protection. That is not contested. But the other is in no way “taking away the rights of others” except for the rights of those who oppose the gay agenda.

I’d like to recall the reason the United States was founded in the first place.

Marriage is a natural institution created before there were any formal religions in existence. It has been created before there were any nations in existence. At its core, and on a natural level, it is really a truth of natural law that binds humanity regardless of religion.

I believe you know that natural is always above any laws imposed by society. But for the sake of those reading, I will give a brief example of a natural law:

“Drunkenness is wrong because it injures one’s health, and worse, destroys one’s ability to reason, which is fundamental to man as a rational animal.”

I think anyone can deduce then that societal law does not define what is good, rather, some laws exist to support the already established natural laws. If a good friend who was clearly drunk and intoxicated, and obviously endangering his health asked you for another drink, I submit that you would not fulfill his wish. He could argue that under federal law, he has every right to a drink. But in fact, you would likely feel a moral duty to deny him that drink and instead help him lose his attachment to what is harming his body. Now suppose you were an appointed public doctor and the US government changed the law and ordered you to give a drink to whoever asked for it, and that to deny that would infringe on his “right to have a drink”. Would that enable you to ignore your moral duty to health?

We’ve already seen the bad that happens when federal government interferes by trying to enforce natural law to appease the progressives of the time. Needless to say, Prohibition didn’t work so well. We had chaos even when society got what they asked for. We’ve got the same thing going on right now with the recent Supreme Court decision, and it is not going to end well.

But I digress.

In this analysis, I see the incredible irony here. A bartender has the right to use his own judgement and deny serving alcohol to someone. He does this out of his concern of the other. However, a baker is called a bigot if he does not decorate a cake for what he knows to be dangerous to the soul– a gay wedding. And a Psychiatrist is not allowed to call a mental disorder for what it is.

Back to your post. You say the Afghans were receiving full American support and were to follow the rules set in place [the Americans].

I can understand that if that was the case. But from the report it is the American Marines who were ordered to be in the terrible position of having to overlook acts of unthinkable depravity. That sounds like the opposite of what you inferred. Here the Afghans have no rules and instead rules are imposed on the Marines to allow this evil to happen. Marines who acted as true patriots in defense of innocent life are punished. Dear God.

I can agree with you on the point that if a person’s religious beliefs don’t mesh with the laws of an agency you work for, it is a good opportunity to seek another job. However, I in no way believe that an elected official gives up his conscience when elected to an office.

However, inferring that such a person should simply place the laws of an agency above your religious convictions is wrong. Sometimes laws of the land violate actual rights while religious laws uphold them. We've seen this in cases such as abortion where the rights of the unborn are violated and not protected. But that is another discussion.


hen a law is contrary to reason, it is called an unjust law and in this case it ceases to be a law and becomes instead an act of violence.

There is no obligation in conscience to obey such laws; instead there is a grave and clear obligation to oppose them by conscientious objection. Conscientious objection is the noble thing to do when a "law" is an act of violence.

Figures such as Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., and Rosa Parks come to mind. Will Kim Davis be remembered among them? No, but it just goes to illustrate that even in our American culture we at least acknowledge that these people were right to oppose the secular laws that were contrary to reason.

There are times when conscientious objection is not allowable. Soldiers in the heat of battle are not at liberty to strike and take up picket signs on the battle field. They cannot do this because they are endangering their brothers and the common good must be considered when it is at stake. However the case with the clerk refusing to issue a marriage license doesn’t even come close.

In conclusion, both religious and secular laws should bend only at the insistence of higher, natural law. Lesser laws (or cultural customs) which conflict with natural law should be dispensed with. From observation, there is no such thing as a “perfect” or “correct” culture. There are certainly ups and downs and we’ve learned that “spreading democracy” doesn’t work so well everywhere. In Chinese culture security and stability are valued more than freedom. From this, it can be deduced that unjust laws exist and therefore abandoning conscience to adhere to violent laws is harmful.

EDIT October 20th
I can't seem to be able to respond to via the comments section of my own blog. So my response to Erik's comments here are contained below.
I wrote this response a while ago but forgot to post it, so here are my words as I wrote them on the 28th of September:

  1. Yes, that was my point that the colonies were formed in part to distance themselves from religious persecution. Yet ironically some would point fingers and say that the actions of those with a religious conscience such as Kim Davis are quote un-American. That was my sole reason for bringing our founding up. I am not aware of any religion that has priority over another in American law.

Since you brought up the Jewish religion, I think it prudent to explain why they have such restrictions such as not eating pork. This reason explains why they don’t advocate abstinence from pork to those outside their people.

It is an undisputed fact that the Gentile people (meaning non-Jew) in ancient times were very promiscuous. It was so bad in fact that the Gentile cultures invented religions to try to make their behavior somehow acceptable. You see, in their hearts they could feel that what they were doing was not right. Rather than changing their ways, they created worldly pagan religions where sexual promiscuity was acceptable. If you asked an ancient king in a pagan land why he had so many sexual partners, or why there were group sex rituals on the streets he could reply that it is “required by our religion.”

From the history books, we know that the Jewish people rebelled against God and fell into sin. As a result, God gave them a laundry list of restrictions. In context, we know that these restrictions were not arbitrary commandments, but were instead given to man as a result of his weakness. They couldn’t eat pork because that is what the Gentiles ate. Eating was much more social in that time, and if you couldn’t dine with the Gentiles, you are basically the nerds and the odd ones out. That was okay, because the Hebrew people were God’s chosen people.

You see, the reason they couldn’t eat pork was so that they would have to set themselves apart from their pagan neighbors, and thus no longer be in a position where temptation to sin was great. The Jews understand this and are awesome people for it. They don’t believe that it is a sin for a non-Jew to eat pork. There is no reason for them to spread this practice outside because eating pork does not endanger the soul. They don’t “allow” others to eat pork out of fear of interfering with a so-called right. They just don’t think anything of it.

  1. I’m glad you agree that marriage is defined by the natural. I disagree that marriage has not been about love until recently. Again, it is proper to define what love really is, as the times have distorted what people call love. Love is “willing the good of the other.” Our generation has lost this, and unfortunately believes love to be equivalent to sexual intimacy and affection.

Marriage has always been about love. The first marriage was for love. This self-giving would mean that one in love would want the best for the other person. An economical protection certainly falls into this realm. Just because economics factored into a decision to marry, doesn’t mean that the action of marriage was reduced to anything less. That would be a fallacy.

Again, I’d like to clarify that marriage is a natural law, above any government or religion, as we have already agreed in point three. So to say that marriage is something defined by a State (and by State I mean a nation in power) is an injustice, as we have already said that natural law is above government and religious law. Instead, the proper way to look at it is to see that marriage is something that happens outside of any legislating body. The couple marries, and only after does the government recognize that marriage. It is not the government that does the marrying.

In the Catholic Church, we recognize that the couple is in fact the celebrant of their marriage. It is the man and wife that marries themselves with God, not the priest. The priest is there to preside but it is the couple’s words that join them. It is a very beautiful gift if you think about it.

Love used to be about generous self-giving for the good of the other. I say used to be, but it really still is, it is just that our generation has forgotten this truth. Now it is just about satisfying one’s personal desires. It is about using someone else’s body not as a living person with a soul, but as an object. A gay relationship cannot be called love because it is ordered only to satisfying one’s personal desires. If it was really love, the couple would be helping each other overcome their unnatural inclination. Instead, it is about mutual consent to get something from the other.

  1. When I speak of Natural Law, I am chiefly talking about the philosophy from the likes of Thomas Aquinas and Aristotle’s Rhetoric. And yes, you are right that John Locke featured natural law philosophy in his work. Unlike Locke, I do not distinguish between natural law and natural right as two separate concepts, as that only serves to reduce clarity for me.

If I had to think about it, I would say that the laws of nature decide our natural rights. The laws of nature can never allow us to sprout bird wings and fly. We do of course have the ability to build a machine to fly. In the same way, natural law and science will never allow two men or two women to procreate as that is also physically impossible.

  1. I am glad. I just don’t see how this conclusion aligns with your conclusion in point nine that an elected official should be forced to give up his conscience if elected. Without a conscience, to understand the difference between a just and an unjust law, rising up, or in this example objecting to providing what is harmful to a patient, is impossible.
  2. I’m going to address point nine before eight as it is a shorter response.

Like I said earlier, I don’t feel an elected official must give up his conscience. One of the main points I was trying to drive home was that people have a right to conscientious objection. Our conscience is at the very core of who we are as humans and to deny it would be to remove our humanity. Further, I don’t see how Ben Carson “accepting everyone’s beliefs into our culture” is an act of denying his own conscience. I’ll be honest. Your response to this point is the only one I did not anticipate and it concerns me.

But I do agree that lower courts should bow to higher court decisions. I hope I in now way implied a restructuring of our government.

8 (the first one). Yes I agree that healthcare providers should not be forced to alter their decisions based on societal biases. Unfortunately, they are restricted from calling a mental disorder for what it is. Psychiatrists can’t call homosexuality as a mental disorder. The sad truth is that a majority of people who struggle with homosexual inclinations do not want to carry that cross. It is just saddening. It really is. The truth is the American public greatly overestimates the gay population. It is actually just 3.8%. Estimates show that only 20% of that population actually want to remain homosexual. It is in fact a very small minority intimidating our culture, and silencing the 80% of the LGBT individuals who would like help overcoming such unnatural temptations. Heterosexuals are not the only ones who did not want gay marriage.

It is really saddening. Christian opposition is not an act of hatred as the media would like to say. It is instead out of love and concern that we would like to help.

In fact it gets even sadder. In California, a therapist cannot offer help to those who do not want to be gay. If a 17 year old struggling with homosexual fantasies or desires goes to a therapist for help, he is denied treatment and instead encouraged to embrace homosexuality as his identity. “Oh you have this fantasy. You are gay. It defines you, embrace it.” This is not giving people rights as the media would like the masses to believe. It is the very opposite.

It doesn’t matter where you stand, this is sad that people are barred from finding or giving help under the guise of “tolerance.”

Imagine if the tables were turned. Imagine if the gay lifestyle was the norm. It goes without saying that that population isn’t self sustaining and would die off before it could ever be the norm as procreation is simply impossible without both a man and a woman. But let’s just say for the sake of argument that that was society. And you came to a doctor, asking for help to leave said lifestyle and instead the doctor encouraged you to be gay.

We are confusing our next generation. There is no doubt about it. There is a reason why superhero movies are a trend right now. People want a world with a clear right and wrong, and all we’ve done clarity for the sake of relativism.

People try to bend science and language to fit within their idea. There’s never been a question about when life starts, conception. No scientist can contest that. If a scientist sees a bacteria on mars, it would be in every newspaper LIFE ON MARS. Yet if a woman wants to KILL her child, let’s just call it a bag of cells? That was a rhetorical question. It is too much for this discussion. The gay activists called for marriage “equality” when clearly they were asking for something by definition very different.

In response to your opinions

Obergefell v Hodges was landmark no doubt, but not one of equality. That is just using a word for something it is not. A child can tell that a gay relationship is not the same as a natural relationship between a man and a woman, ordered towards creation. To call that equality is foolish. Clearly the gay community wanted something different from what they already had a right to. Obviously I feel that this particular court decision was the wrong decision. And obviously I object not just to the subject of the decision but the method of decision. A court is not supposed to legislate. Period. They interpret laws. And if you were to read from the dissenting judges, it is clear that they pulled their justification for their decision out of thin air.

Natural law is not something that changes with the times. Individuals do not have different natural rights. Slavery was never approved under natural law, only tolerated under the lower societal law.

Regarding the alcohol. If I implied that drinking alcohol was a natural right, that was a mistake.

The thing is, this generation equates the word “right” to “entitled to.” I don’t think anyone is entitled to the consumption of alcohol, just that the government found itself wrong in interfering with it.

What I said was that drinking alcohol in excess results in drunkenness, which harm’s our ability to reason. That is a natural law. It is something we can observe and measure with science.

Natural law is just that, natural. You don’t need a law degree to interpret natural law. Societal AND religious laws must bend to it.

Brandon Kalinowski

I specialize in integrating technology seamlessly to help others tell compelling stories. For instance, I helped a professor construct a live television studio. I also managed a student news program. These and other experiences spurred a fascination with live streaming. I intern for Legion M as a streaming technical and data analyst. My expertise includes modern web design, video editing, and photography.

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