Here's to a good time, a good life, and a good death.
About a year ago, my dad quietly announced in a sort of ordinary manner that he would be taking a moral stance at work. Despite other co-workers advocating a less discriminatory policy, he decided that, in his company, he would not allow parents acting on homosexual preferences to be hired as foster parents. Now, I just want to clarify, that I think he has every right to make this type of decision, I just do not understand why he made the decision that he did. This position struck me as particularly ironic, even more so considering he has homosexual employees within his management, as is common anyhow. He was willing to forego the lost revenue from gay couples over the morality of this issue. Despite all the respect that I carry for my father, this decision is a terribly great window into the selective nature of religions and especially Christianity. My father will penalize couples who are gay, but he also shares other commonplace interpretations on the Bible regarding the sinfulness of theft, drunkenness, gluttony, etc. Does he punish other workers for being immoral in those aspects? Not that I can tell. Hmmm, sure he can’t tell as easily if those moral codes are being disregarded by employees, but still, shouldn’t he make some sort of point of it for consistency?
A couple months ago, my mom went on a bit of a rant (for lack of a better word) about how gay people were harmful to the economy… Needless to say, her self-discussion was entirely difficult to follow, if even comprehend in the slightest terms. To be blunt, she said a bunch of incomprehensible nonsense.
Yesterday, my mom approached me with “bad news” at least as she said it. An old friend, Nicolene, who helped manage my siblings and I for a short period of time a decade ago while my mother was largely occupied, had now married a woman. My younger brother Tayler seemed less than thrilled at the news as well. Just an hour before this news was disclosed, Tayler and I had watched an episode of the Walking Dead, in which a gay couple kissed on the TV screen. Before the footage was displayed, Tayler, already having seen the episode, lamented that he hated this episode because of these inappropriate displays of affection. I quickly communicated that I have a “you do you” policy when it comes to non-violent or harmful acts, basically advocating tolerance. Then I thought for a minute, and asked Tayler if he had any gay friends. To my lack of surprise, he said no.
Refer to the Harm Principle in blog post 4. Let’s ask an easy question. Does being gay physically harm other non-participatory individuals? The answer is very close to a no (there may be some low probability that in certain cases that it does), but it is seems substantially less than that of let’s say driving a car, etc. Thus, we can move towards the conclusion that having homosexual preferences does NOT make one immoral by the Mill’s harm principle.
Since it meets that criteria, let’s consider if being gay violates the pro-sociability interaction complex (PSIC) discussed in blog post 4. Does being gay isolate oneself from communities? Not seemingly directly or necessarily. It does present a social hurdle for traditional norms, but norms are malleable and constantly evolving. The only aspect of homosexuality that comes into potential conflict with PSIC would be found in the failure of procreation. However, reproduction isn’t really to be viewed as a requisite for morality, but rather more like the product of moral or good behavior. I mean, after all, plenty of people are sterile and that may have little to no impact on the individual’s life. Conversely, it can also have enormous impacts, but all we need is the possibility of no impact. In this case, the potential violation of PSIC becomes a more neutral area than anything else.
Now, the Bible does include some verses regarding apostolic commentary on the subject. Particularly, Paul says a great deal on homosexuality and it’s sinfulness. But, as we established above, it generally fits the PSIC framework. So maybe, we can agree that a Christian can believe homosexuality is wrong, but subsequently respect others that may think differently. Further, Christians could recognize that the role of government is not to make policy with an attempt to not be blatantly morally influenced, but instead rather to reflect society’s preferences. So perhaps we have a compatible argument for why Christians could support both the policy of legalization of gay marriage and still personally believe it wrong.
If we want to think about a complexity policy solution, I would advocate the consideration of 3rd party delegation. In other words, it would be great to see a national policy stating that churches would respectively choose who to marry and not to marry. Now personally, that is my favorite solution.
This is one of the biggest wrenches that I have seen thrown into the gears of contemporary Christianity. Not only does this “anti-gay” stance expose the selective emphasizing nature of religion, but it also breaks from the relational derivation of morality (that we concocted in blog post 4). While I want to see a loving and supportive policy emerge from Christian doctrine and teaching, I can’t reconcile the responses that I saw from my family, one of the most devoted Christian families that I know. It leaves me grasping at straws to explain why?