First Topic – “The Stoning of Soraya M”
As the movie industry prepares to roll out its summer blockbusters, a sobering, controversial film explores the gripping story of an Iranian woman who is victimized by her husband. The movie is based on real events and is adapted from the book of the same name by the French-Iranian journalist Freidoune Sahebjam, played by Jim Caviezel. In the aftermath of the Iranian revolution, a husband grows tired of his young wife, who has borne him two sons and two daughters. Under Islamic law, a man may have up to four wives – but he’s also obligated to care and provide for each of them properly. Interested in a potential child bride and unable to afford the added expense of a second wife, the husband maneuvers his wife into tending house for a recent widower. Then he falsely accuses her of infidelity, after blackmailing other male village elders, including the mullah – the town’s religious leader - into colluding in his lie. Iranian Director Cyrus Nowrasteh is with us.
Second Topic – Natural Law as Fact, Theory, and Sign of Contradiction
Natural law is a fact about human beings, and a theory that humbles itself before this fact. Yet it is something else as well-a sign of contradiction, something that exasperates, offends, and enrages. The transient cause of such rage is the suicidal proclivity of our time to deny the obvious, but a more enduring cause is the Fall of Man. Our hearts are riddled with desires that oppose their deepest longings, and we demand to have happiness on terms that make happiness impossible. Philosopher J. Budziszewski threads a path between these various abysses. Among his questions are how the knowledge of good is related to the knowledge of God, how things that seem to run against the grain of human nature can become 'second nature,' and whether natural law can be reconciled with Darwinian evolution. Turning to politics, he takes up such topics as who counts as a human person, whether human dignity is compatible with capital punishment, what courts have made of the United States Constitution, and how an ersatz state religion can be built in the name of toleration. We look at natural law and its implications for both scholars and the general public.