Robert P. George: A citizen hero

Robert P. George was honored for his service to the nation serving on the President Council on Bioethics
Robert P. George was honored for his service to the nation serving on the President' Council on Bioethics

Robert P. George, who has served our nation on the President’s Council on Bioethics, was honored this week with the Presidential Citizens Medal for “exemplary deeds of service for the nation. It is one of the highest honors the President can confer upon a civilian, second only to the Presidential Medal of Freedom.”

The press release at the White House’s Web site said this about George:

With wisdom and integrity, Dr. Robby George has brought forceful analytic clarity to the study of America’s ideals and institutions. He has helped strengthen our Nation’s system of ordered liberty by exploring enduring questions of American constitutional law and Western political theory. The United States honors Robby George for his many contributions to our civic life.

Why should we care? We should because it was George who was among the scholars, reseachers, scientists and theologians who advised the president when he made his landmark decision to limit embryonic stem cell research to existing lines in 2001. George, who lectures on constitutional interpretation, civil liberties and philosophy of law at Princeton University, is a solid conservative who is pro-life and pro-family. In other words, he is the polar opposite of his Princeton colleague Peter Singer.

In a 2003 article in the Catholic Education Resource Center, it describes how George puts his own beliefs — and his mind — in gear wherever he operates.

George operates at high velocity, moving easily within the worlds of academia, politics, and religion. He serves on President George W. Bush’s Council on Bioethics, where, says council chairman Leon Kass, George brings “enormous integrity and decency. He is an absolutely lucid and careful thinker, deeply committed to the dignity of the human person from its earliest beginnings.” Like Socrates, Kass notes, George meets his interlocutors “on their own grounds but show[s] them that their arguments take them to places they don’t want to go.”

The idea that is repeatedly bandied about is that there is a disconnect between being a rational, thinking person and a person of deep faith. In answer to that, we can merely point to people like Robert George and how he lives his faith.


See President Bush’s address to the nation on Aug. 9, 2001, concerning stem cell research

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