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Pope Francis greets Jesuit Father James Martin, author and editor at large of America magazine, during a private meeting at the Vatican Oct. 1, 2019. (CNS photo/Vatican Media)

By Anthony Esolen, Crisis Magazine, October 30, 2019

Anthony Esolen

The Adam Smith Society, an arm of the libertarian Manhattan Institute, bills itself as “an expansive, chapter-based network of MBA students, professionals, and business leaders who work to promote debate and discussion about the moral, social, and economic benefits of capitalism.” Fr. James Martin, SJ, bills himself as a Catholic priest. The Adam Smith Society, or one of its chapters, recently issued a call to action, because a movement was mounting to “take away your porn.” Fr. Martin recently suggested that, since the Bible was wrong about slavery, we might wonder whether it was also wrong about sodomy—which, he conceded, it condemns.

It’s easy to spot the faulty reasoning here. The Adam Smith Society begs the question with the possessive adjective “your.” Somewhere in the ideology of free markets or the Constitution—perhaps lurking in an umbra or penumbra—is the right to produce or gape at what in more earthy days used to be called smut. Fr. Martin, for his part, draws a wholly unwarranted conclusion. Even if we suppose that the Bible is silent about one wrong, this would hardly justify us in rejecting it where it is not silent about another, especially when reasons are given for the condemnation. In the Torah, sodomy is linked with other unnatural or abominable practices, such as bestiality and incest. In Romans, it is linked with the corrupted and carnal imagination of fallen man, resulting in the depths of the irrational: idolatry.  ….