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What gave Abraham Lincoln the authority to declare the freedom and choice to own slaves as immoral? After all, the law of the land allowed it. What gave Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King the authority to lead a whole movement calling civil laws immoral and demanding new civil rights laws that recognized the equal dignity and worth of "all God's children" without exception? After all, segregation was legal. What gave the United Nations the moral authority to claim and designate absolute human rights in an international declaration, though some member nations were already violating them?
Principles. First principles. In their founding documents, the United States and the United Nations recognized the principles that all men have inherent dignity and that they deserve equal rights. They both have declared those principles the conditions fundamental to freedom, justice, and peace. Yet both the United States and the United Nations have within them powerful political forces passing laws or resolutions that violate first principles and put at risk the most vulnerable populations.
This book goes beyond the politics of pragmatism and cultural relativism to reacquaint the reader with first principles. It demonstrates what the Church has to say about the most important issues of our time and why. It anticipates the questions readers will ask and provides the answers they will need in the struggle to restore respect for human dignity.
"Sheila Liaugminas is an articulate voice of the New Evangelization and as she demonstrates in this powerful book, being seriously Catholic today means being part of a culture-reforming counterculture."
- George Weigel, Author, Evangelical Catholicism
- Francis Cardinal George, O.M.I. Archbishop of Chicago p>"Sheila Liaugminas stresses in her fine book that 'Complacency is not an option,' and she hammers home that point with brilliant insight into the past, present and future of all the so-called 'social issues' that continue to divide America. This book is a must-read for every person of faith who understands that action is needed – now – if we ever hope to build a free, just and humane society."
- Dr. Alveda King, Director of African-American Outreach, Priests for Life
"I truly admire Sheila Liaugminas. She is an outstanding journalist. We have dialogued extensively on her radio program about the rights of conscience and the protection of what we call our 'first principles.' Sheila has laid out in great breadth and depth the need for a revived understanding of the essentials of human dignity and societal organization."
- Jeff Fortenberry, Member of Congress
- Most Reverend Thomas Paprocki, Bishop of Springfield, Illinois
"Sheila Liaugminas brings her keen insights on applying timeless truths to important issues of the day. She demonstrates how 'first principles' have made free, just, and humane society possible and explains why these principles must be non-negotiable. As America grapples with issues of freedom and justice today, Sheila's book is a must-read for those who want to understand why it is critical that we do not back down from "human truths" – affirmed by the Catholic Church and others – if we want a society that protects every individual's life and dignity."
- Dan Lipinski, Member of Congress