Topic: Society

Ethics Hero: Professor L. Lynn Hogue
(December 2005)

We often assume that ideologues from the left and the right simply accept a set of positions associated with their ends of the political spectrum and never let facts, reason, principle or fairness alter their views. Too often that assumption is correct. One does not achieve integrity by blindly following a predetermined course. One achieves it by using honesty and courage to determine what is right.

Georgia State law professor Lynn Hogue has integrity. As the leader of the conservative Southeastern Legal Foundation he has fought to display the Ten Commandments in the schools, opposed gay marriage and argued against affirmative action. But he recently filed an amicus brief on behalf of Georgia Citizens for Integrity in Science Education supporting the A.C.L.U.’s argument that the Cobb County school board violated the Constitution when they placed stickers challenging evolution’s validity in high school biology books. Professor Hogue will undoubtedly be called a traitor by those who get their political opinions out of the Far Right playbook, but Hogue’s opinions, whether you agree with them or not, undeniably come from his mind, knowledge and heart, and not from ideological orthodoxy. His willingness to support education unconstrained by theological meddling even when it puts him at odds with his usual allies is the mark of true integrity, and of a deserving Ethics Hero.

Post Script: The Scoreboard strongly objects to one feature in the account of Hogue’s action as it was reported by Greg Land of the Fulton County Daily Report. He cited Hogue’s support for the disbarment of President Clinton for his perjury under oath in the Paula Jones case as an example of Hogue’s string of conservative causes. Virtually any lawyer who lies under oath should and will be disbarred, and to call Hogue’s position on that issue “conservative” simply shows that the reporter has accepted the blatant rationalizations of Clinton’s defenders in this sordid matter. Insisting that a prominent attorney, President or not, who cannot be trusted to tell the truth under oath should be forbidden to practice law isn’t a “conservative” position; the correct adjectives are “traditional,” logical,” and “necessary,” not to mention “100% correct.”

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