From the Editor
Ana Brennan, J.D.
The Journal of
Law & Culture
Winter 2018 vol. 1 issue 1
Welcome! We the founding members of the Society of St. Sebastian welcome you to the very first edition of what we hope will be the premiere scholarly quarterly for the promotion of the Culture of Life, particularly for scholars, professional activists, students, and anyone who wishes to become more intellectually acquainted with public policy issues.
The Society is named after St. Sebastian who was a late third-century Christian martyr. He has the distinction of being considered the only Christian martyr to have been martyred twice. Due to the persecution of Christians by the Roman Emperor, he was required to practice his faith in secret. St. Sebastian was also Captain of the Praetorian Guard, which was the Roman Emperor’s private guard.
When Emperor Diocletian discovered St. Sebastian’s faith, the Emperor gave Sabastian an ultimatum; offer a sacrifice to the Roman gods or death. St. Sebastian chose death. His first chance to achieve martyrdom came by way of arrows. The attempt failed and St. Sebastian was nursed back to health by St. Irene. St. Sebastian was transformed by his near-death experience. Even though he knew he would face death again, Sebastian understood that his former position as Captain of the Praetorian Guard put him in a unique position to challenge the Emperor's persecution of Christian. He realized he had a duty to be the voice for persecuted Christians who did not have a voice under Roman law, and publicly condemn the Emperor for persecuting Christians.
St. Sebastian finally achieved martyrdom when he was clubbed to death for advocating on behalf of Christians before government authority.
It is his advocacy for the defenseless that uniquely suites him to be the patron of our Society. St. Sebastian not only exemplifies the virtues of fortitude and faith in his martyrdom, but he offers us an example of what it means to be a witness to the Catholic Faith in his actions. St. Sebastian knew that his unique position created an opportunity to bring the Gospel of Life to his Emperor. Like St. Sebastian, we have a duty to bring that very same Gospel message to the various legislators we work with.
The Society of St. Sebastian was founded in June 2016 as a private Facebook group comprised of many of the leading pro-life intellectuals and professional activists in the nation. The original purpose was to discuss ideas that affect the Culture of Life within the civil law. Members of the Society have since expressed an interest to grow through the publication of a scholarly journal that would help further educate those who wish to expand and share knowledge that can help restore a total respect for life under the law. Our mission is to accomplish this task with the publication of The Journal of Bioethics in Law and Culture Quarterly.
Many professional activists who have years, sometimes decades, of experience, look to scholars for helpful advice regarding the most effective way to advocate on behalf of the Culture of Life legislatively. There are also those in academia who have various expertise that can contribute to this enterprise. We wish to expand upon this experience by providing a platform for scholars and professional activists where they can apply their unique talents and positions to create a resource that can be used by others to gain a deeper understanding of all pro-life issues.
Sometimes, as a movement, we have become hyper-focused on the very important issue of abortion. As a result, as a movement and as a society we have not adequately examined some other critical issues such as in vitro fertilization, surrogacy, various forms of euthanasia, and destructive embryonic research. It is the hope of the Society of St. Sebastian that the scholarly articles published in our journal will help expose the need to fully address all of these issues. The Culture of Life does not use people as commodities, nor does it support an industry that exploits or even kills embryonic children. Surrogacy has been rife with abuses such as forcing surrogate mothers to abort unborn children. So why is there not more of a push by activists to outlaw surrogacy? The Culture of Death is broader than just abortion. Of course, The Journal of Bioethics in Law and Culture Quarterly address abortion, but it will also address other issues of critical importance when it comes to the unjust destruction of innocent human life.
The Society of St. Sebastian wishes to keep the spirit of this journal civil and respectful. The purpose of intellectual debate is to help further knowledge and to help correct any errors so as not to fall into falsehood. We all must begin with the premise that every member wants to establish a Culture of Life.
To help develop this journal into a reliable resource we encourage all scholars, legal, political, and moral to submit articles and professional activists to submit written testimony for publication. Continuing in the tradition of St. Sebastian, we urge scholars and professional activists to testify and advocate on behalf of the defenseless in their own state legislatures on these important issues. By assembling the knowledge and expertise that scholars have to offer, we can better equip ourselves to create a society built on respect for life.
In some ways, it is providential that both the March for Life and the Feast Day of St. Sebastian fall close to one another. Both symbolize raising voices on behalf of the defenseless. It is vital that we take the next prudential step to better equip both scholars and activists within the movement in order to help further the cause of life. We truly believe The Journal of Bioethics in Law and Culture Quarterly will be this next step.