Revisiting Cuomo's Famous Speech: Religion, Morality, and Public Policy

Revisiting Cuomo's Famous Speech: Religion, Morality, and Public Policy

Robert George

10.28.2009

Robert George

Robert George is a former Judicial Fellow at the Supreme Court of the United States, where he received the Justice Tom C. Clark Award. Currently he serves on UNESCO's World Commission on the Ethics of Scientific Knowledge and Technology. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He is the author of "In Defense of Natural Law," "Making Men Moral: Civil Liberties and Public Morality," and "The Clash of Orthodoxies: Law, Religion and Morality in Crisis." George is a recipient of the Presidential Citizens Medal and many other honors, including the Stanley Kelley, Jr. Teaching Award from Princeton's Department of Politics. He holds honorary doctorates of law, ethics, science, letters, civil law, humane letters, and juridical science. George was the 2007 John Dewey Lecturer in Philosophy of Law at Harvard University and the 2008 Judge Guido Calabresi Lecturer at Yale University.

A leading scholar on political philosophy, Princeton University professor Robert George revisits former New York Governor Mario Cuomo's famous speech on religious faith, ethics, and public policy at Notre Dame University 25 years ago. In his 1984 speech, "Religious Belief and Public Morality: A Catholic Governor's Perspective,” Cuomo discussed the separation of church and state as it relates to moral issues, particularly legalized abortion. Cuomo argued that his belief in the church’s teachings did not require him to support legislation in favor of those teachings in a pluralistic society. At the Clinton School, Professor George argues against Cuomo's rationale.