F&P Episode 115: South Dakota’s Pivotal Moment on Abortion

South Dakota’s 2023 legislative session marked the first time that state lawmakers had gathered since the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its June 24, 2022 decision in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which overturned Roe v. Wade and restored to the states the ability to set their own public policy on abortion. Host Michael Pauley is joined by Dale Bartscher, the Executive Director of South Dakota Right to Life, for a discussion on how state lawmakers responded to the Dobbs decision, and how South Dakota’s pro-life community is responding to a citizen-initiated amendment that proposes to create an unlimited right to abortion in the state constitution.

F&P Episode 114: Obscenity and the First Amendment

During the 2023 legislative session, South Dakota lawmakers introduced five different bills that sought to regulate the spread of obscenity, especially by limiting the access of minors to harmful materials. Despite a growing public awareness of the harms caused by obscene material and programs, not one of the anti-obscenity bills made it through the legislature. Michael Pauley is joined by Norman Woods of the South Dakota Family Heritage Alliance to discuss the debate surrounding obscenity laws, the role of the courts and their interpretation of the First Amendment, and the surprising involvement of South Dakota’s public-school establishment in opposing anti-obscenity legislation.

F&P Episode 113: The abortion pill on trial

In the year 2000 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the drug mifepristone (also known as RU-486 or Mifeprex) as part of a regimen for chemically induced abortions. But on April 7, 2023—late on Good Friday—a federal judge in Texas issued a preliminary injunction that suspended the FDA’s approval of mifepristone, pending a trial on the merits of the case. The preliminary injunction was partially reversed on appeal, but the judge’s opinion in Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine v. FDA casts a spotlight on the damage that mifepristone has caused to women and their preborn children. Host Michael Pauley is joined by Adam Schwend of Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America to discuss the implications of the Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine case, regarded by many legal experts as the most important abortion-related litigation since the Dobbs decision.

F&P Episode 112: Marijuana, addiction, and South Dakota’s future

In 2022 voters rejected a measure to legalize recreational marijuana in South Dakota. Yet in the 2023 session of the state legislature, a dozen bills were introduced related to marijuana, and in 2024 yet another ballot measure on marijuana is likely to come before voters. Why is this issue still so unsettled? To answer this question, host Michael Pauley is joined by Jim Kinyon, the Chairman of Protecting South Dakota Kids, and the Executive Director of Catholic Social Services in Rapid City. Jim and Mike discuss the ambitions of the marijuana industry in South Dakota, some troubling aspects of the state’s “medical marijuana” program, and why Catholics should care deeply about the effects that marijuana has on our society.

F&P Episode 111: Sex, gender, and surgery: a Catholic doctor’s perspective

Host Michael Pauley is joined by Dr. Alfonso Oliva, a physician specializing in plastic and reconstructive surgery, and a member of the Executive Board of the Catholic Medical Association. Dr. Oliva and Michael discuss the various controversies surrounding the use of drugs and surgeries as “treatment” for persons experiencing gender dysphoria. What are the purported benefits of such procedures, and what are the known complications? Dr. Oliva shares his thoughts concerning the rapid rise in cases of reported gender dysphoria among adolescent females, and the growing trend of administering drugs and performing so-called “gender reassignment” surgeries upon minors in the United States.

F&P Episode 110: The abortion threat in South Dakota

Michael Pauley is joined by Jon Hansen for a discussion of a proposed amendment that would create a right to abortion in the South Dakota state constitution. Hansen is the Speaker Pro Tempore of the South Dakota House of Representatives and also serves as Vice President of South Dakota Right to Life. Hansen and Pauley discuss the implications of the proposed constitutional amendment, which would be placed on the ballot for the November 5, 2024 election, if sponsors are able to gather the legally required number of signatures. Supporters of the amendment describe it as an initiative to put Roe v. Wade into the state constitution, but Hansen explains the amendment would impose a legal regime of unrestricted abortion-on-demand that is far more radical than the policy under Roe.

F&P Episode 109: Marijuana: Panacea or Poison?

Chris Motz and Michael Pauley welcome Dr. Bonnie Omdahl for a conversation about marijuana, Initiated Measure 27, and public health. Dr. Omdahl explores what medical science says about the effects of marijuana on brain development, mental health, and physical health. Chris and Mike share thoughts on the huge gap between the scientific reality of marijuana and public perceptions of the drug. A Gallup survey reports that 71 percent of Americans consider chewing tobacco to be “very harmful” to one’s health, but only 27 percent said the same about marijuana. Dr. Omdahl offers her prescription for what can be done to make cultural perceptions of marijuana better conform to reality.

F&P Episode 108: Marijuana and Crime

Co-host Michael Pauley is joined by Pat West, Sheriff-elect of Meade County, for a discussion of marijuana and its association with criminal behavior. Michael and Pat examine a number of questions relevant to Initiated Measure 27, a proposal in the November 8, 2022 election to legalize the possession, use, and distribution of marijuana in South Dakota. Will legalizing marijuana reduce crime, or make it worse? Is marijuana a “gateway drug” that leads to the use of illicit drugs that are even more toxic, such as heroin or cocaine? What are “marijuana edibles,” and what dangers do they pose? What are the challenges that law enforcement face when dealing with drivers who are under the influence of marijuana? Michael and Pat explore how marijuana use by a minority of the population has adverse effects on the whole of society.

F&P Episode 107: The Pitfalls of Legalizing Marijuana

Co-hosts Michael Pauley and Chris Motz welcome guest Emily Leedom, Executive Director of the Lourdes Center in the Diocese of Sioux Falls, for a discussion of Initiated Measure 27, a ballot measure that would legalize recreational marijuana in South Dakota. The bishops of South Dakota have taken a stand against marijuana legalization, because of the harms it brings to individuals, families, and the broader society. Emily outlines the known impacts of marijuana and the various ways it undermines human flourishing. Chris and Michael also discuss with Emily the current trends in public opinion on marijuana, and explore the frequently-cited argument that marijuana use is no different than consuming alcohol.

F&P Episode 106: Catholics and the Two Cities

Michael Pauley welcomes Fr. Henry Stephan, O.P., of Notre Dame University to the program for a far-reaching conversation on how Catholics should engage with politics (the City of Man) without losing sight of the eternal home we are called to (the City of God). Michael and Fr. Henry discuss the thinking of Augustine and Aquinas on politics, examine three temptations that Catholics should avoid as they engage in political life, and review the current debate in Catholic intellectual circles on the subject of “integralism” and whether Catholic beliefs can be harmonized with the economic and political tenets of classical liberalism.

F&P Episode 105: Protecting the Vulnerable: Children with Down Syndrome

Chris Motz and Michael Pauley welcome to the show Lauren Costabile, founder and executive director of Hearts of Joy International, an organization that helps babies with Down Syndrome gain access to needed care, especially open-heart surgery. The ongoing debate about abortion after the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision frequently revolves around so-called “hard cases,” including pregnancies in which a pre-born child has been diagnosed as having a disability. It is estimated that between 60 and 90 percent of pre-born children diagnosed with Down Syndrome are aborted, compared to 18 percent of pre-born children overall. Chris and Michael discuss with Lauren the competing visions in our culture regarding the value of human life. Catholic social teaching reminds us that our worth as human beings is anchored in the fact that we are created by God. But this worldview is challenged by a utilitarian ethos that measures the worth of a human being based on abilities and achievements. Lauren Costabile offers a powerful testimony about the inherent dignity and value of every child.

F&P Episode 104: Dobbs Case: A Closer Look

Michael Pauley and Chris Motz take a deeper look at the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Dobbs vs. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, this time focusing on three concurring opinions written by justices who voted to uphold the pro-life law in Mississippi that was challenged. While all three justices agreed that Mississippi’s statute limiting abortions after 15 weeks gestation should be deemed constitutional, there were stark differences in the reasoning that each justice used to reach the same conclusion. First, Michael and Chris look at the intriguing concurrence penned by Justice Clarence Thomas, who offers a vigorous critique of the Supreme Court’s history of using “substantive due process” analysis to expand the court’s power. Next they examine the concurrence of Justice Brett Kavanaugh, focusing on his argument that the Constitution “does not take sides on the issue of abortion.” Finally, they consider the concurrence of Chief Justice John Roberts, who argues that the court should have upheld the constitutionality of the Mississippi law, but without overturning the prior precedents of Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood vs. Casey.

F&P Episode 103: Catholics and “Pride Month”

Michael Pauley and Chris Motz tackle the political and cultural phenomenon known as “Pride Month.” Governmental bodies and America’s largest corporations loudly celebrate this event every June, but what exactly is the message that’s being promoted? Michael and Chris explore the sexual ideology that underlies Pride Month, and contrast it with the Catholic Church’s teaching on human sexuality and how this dimension of our personhood can be lived in a way that contributes to human flourishing. They also discuss resources that are available to help Christians better understand issues related to same-sex attraction and transgender ideology.

F&P Episode: Supreme Court Decision on Dobbs Case

On this episode Michael Pauley, Executive Director of the South Dakota Catholic Conference, and Chris Motz, Chief of Staff for the Diocese of Sioux Falls, provide an initial overview of the momentous decision released June 24, 2022 by the U.S. Supreme Court in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. They discuss the court’s decision to overturn its previous cases, Roe v. Wade (1973) and Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992), that asserted the existence of a federal constitutional right to abortion, and unpack what this means for the state of South Dakota.

F&P Episode: 102 – Introducing the new SDCC Executive Director

The bishops of SD are pleased to announce the appointment of Michael Pauley as the executive director of the South Dakota Catholic Conference. Mr. Pauley previously worked as a consultant specializing in government affairs and public communication. His clients have included several non-profit organizations that advocate for public policies to defend vulnerable human life, safeguard religious liberty, and protect marriage and family life. Mr. Pauley has served as a policy aide for government officials at both the federal and state level. He is a graduate of Georgetown University, where he received a bachelor’s degree in foreign service. On this episode of Faith & Politics, Chris passes the baton by introducing Michael and asking Michael about his background.

F&P Episode: 101 – Labor and Leisure in a Fragmented World

On this episode, Chris hosts Dr. Michael Naughton professor of Catholic Studies at the University of St. Thomas and author of Getting Work Right: Labor and Leisure in a Fragmented World. They discuss ‘leisure’….and no, they’re not talking about polyester wide-lapeled suits from the 70’s. Drawing from the definition articulated by the 20th century German Thomist Josef Pieper, leisure is “an attitude of the mind and a condition of the soul that fosters a capacity to perceive the reality of the world” as it truly is. Mischaracterized as “wasting time,” it is fundamentally about being, not doing, in a way that our hearts and minds become more open to the good. At the core of leisure is Sunday, the Lord’s Day. In order to get Monday right, Dr. Naughton argues, we must first get Sunday right. The conversation draws on Pieper’s famous 1947 book, Leisure, the Basis of Culture.

F&P Episode: 100 – SCOTUS Dobbs Leak

Chris welcomes back Katie Glenn, Government Affairs Counsel and Americans United for Life, to discuss the recent unprecedented leak of a draft opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health. First reported by news outlet Politico, lead author Justice Samuel Alito and four of his colleagues appear poised to completely and unequivocally overturn Roe v. Wade, which would return abortion to the states as a political issue. Katie and Chris unpack what was in the draft opinion, what it means for the pro-life movement, the sheer significance of leak from the Supreme Court, and the path ahead for pro-life citizens.

F&P Episode: 99 – Virtue, Law, and Community

Chris welcomes back Dr. Chris Burgwald. First, they discuss Pope Francis’s recent invitation to the bishops of the world to join him in consecrating Ukraine and Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. They then discuss a book they’re reading together, After Virtue, by philosopher Alasdair MacIntyre. They specifically dive into the themes of Chapter 12, titled “Aritsotle’s Account of the Virtues,” using a reading guide authored by Christopher Lutz. They discuss the connections between virtue, law, and community; the virtue of prudence; and Aristotle’s view of “friendship” as a foundational virtue for a polis or civil community, prior even to the virtue of justice!

F&P Episode: 98 – Hey, What’s the Problem?!

The Problem of Evil. Chris is joined again by Dr. John Schaff, Professor of Government and Director of the Center for Public History and Civic Engagement at Northern State University. They discuss the problem of evil, what evil “is” (or rather, “is not”), historical errors in understanding it, natural evil and moral evil, and why God might permit it.

Show notes: As mentioned by Dr. Schaff, here’s Peter Kreeft’s Critique of the Philosophy Behind Star Wars

F&P Episode: 97 – Evangelicals & Catholics Together

On this episode, Chris welcomes back Norman Woods, executive director of the Family Heritage Alliance. Chris announces his departure from the helm of the Catholic Conference and gives Norman a book as a parting gift, Evangelicals & Catholics Together: Toward a Common Mission, a 1995 book co-edited by Evangelical leader Chuck Colson and Catholic priest Fr. Richard John Neuhaus. Norman shares a quick take on “Catholics” and Chris does the same on “Protestants,” then they turn to their “top 3” bills to review for the session. They discuss mobile sports betting, surrogacy, parents rights, marijuana, education choice, and bathroom privacy.