Increasingly belief in the natural law is being equated by its critics with ‘bigotry’ because if you believe in the natural law it is very hard not to also believe in traditional marriage and to oppose other forms of marriage. George Weigel has written to very good effect about this and argues that calling natural law proponents ‘bigots’ is a crude attempt to bully them out of the public arena.
Weigel’s point is simple; without the concept of natural law, there are no natural rights. And without the natural rights tradition, the whole history of the struggle for human rights wouldn’t have gotten off the ground.
Weigel asks: “Was Jefferson a bigot when he staked America’s claim to independent nationhood on “self-evident” moral truths derived from “the laws of nature?”
“Was (Martin Luther) King a bigot when, in his “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” he argued that “an unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law”? Was John Paul II a bigot when, at the United Nations in 1995, he suggested that the truths of the natural moral law — “the moral logic which is built into human life” — could serve as a universal “grammar” enabling genuinely cross-cultural dialogue? Please”.