My previous post 'Religious bigotry' sparked some interesting debate. Sometimes I think it's important to bring this kind of debate to the front page. When I do this, it is because I believe that the commenter is representative of a lot of people on the other side of whatever issue. In this case, the commenter is not particularly speaking for same-sex marriage, but rather in favour of removing funding for separate schools who teach their religious views on this issue. While I understand his reasoning, the underlying disrespect for the views of religious people is typical and I can't just let it go without pointing out the inconsistencies of the argument that gays should be allowed freedom, but religions should not. Koby tries to make public funding the key, but I respectfully submit that the funding isn't the issue. Gay sex is the issue.
(Koby, I suggest that you read the 11th comment, by Linda in the 'Religious bigotry' post from yesterday. You might get a better understanding of moral relativity.)
I will be posting the comments along with the answers and I do not correct the spelling and grammar of the commenters. Koby's arguments are in italics. They are in response both to my post, and to replies I made to his initial comments.
Koby's argument started out that no schools should be taking a stand one way or another.
One, should schools recieving public money (many recieve provincial funding in addition to being tax deductable) be taking a stand one way or the other.)
In the next paragraph he said:
(I)t is not the opposition that most people find offensive, but rather the arguments used (e.g., that homosexuality is wrong, that homosexuality is a mental disorder) . . . One of the reasons for providing public money to private schools and the vast majority, some 90% are religious schools, is to keep some control on what is being taught. Public money public rules . . . Of course, if, as some of claimed, religious schools are not playing by public rules, all public funding, in whatever form, should be removed.
I suggested that I agreed, with the proviso that gay advocacy should not be allowed in public schools either. After that, Koby seemed to think schools should be taking a stand -- so long as it was the 'correct' one:
Just so we're clear, sex ed that does not talk about homosexuality is incomplete. For one, gay students have less of a support network and for this and other reasons are more vulnerable then other students.
Name calling or slurs are wrong against anybody and parents and educators have a responsibility to encourage respectful behaviour amongst all students. All teenagers are vulnerable, but I would argue that gay youth have more outreach available to than other marginalised youth-- say fat ones, or kids with acne -- because in today's sex-driven, self-gratifying culture, it's chic to be gay.
Aside from that, talking about homosexuality in school and promoting it are two very different things. Public school sex-education is about learning the anatomical functions, reproduction, and pregnancy & disease prevention. When schools bring in gay activists (which they do), they aren't giving a lesson in anatomy or biology, they are promoting their agenda and expecting acceptance from an impressionable, captive audience.
It used to be that those who pushed for sex-ed in schools were in favour of leaving out the 'morality' issues, but your statement implies you expect the school system to be advocates for 'vulnerable' gay youth.
As for the RC schools teaching the morality side, they do teach the existence of homosexual acts and birth control, with the explanation and rationale for the church's position on them. Nothing in what they teach is intolerant -- unless you equate 'tolerance' with 'approval' in which case I suggest you invest in a dictionary. The Supreme Court allowed separate school funding knowing full-well the implications of that decision.
I could care less what they (parents) think about "gay rights activists". I am not a moral relativist. The arguments allegedly showing homosexuality to be morally wrong are a joke. The same goes for divine command ethics. Recognition of this has laid the foundation for homosexual Canadians having been granted many of the same rights and protections given to other groups and to Canadians as a whole.
The bulging Catholic schools system and the growing private schools system are indicative that parents want a say in what their children are being taught -- whether Koby 'could care less' or not. If school is to teach kids the 3Rs let them do that without imposing on them the post-modern, liberal, secular, morally relative worldview -- then tell me that Catholic schools should be limited in what they can teach their students or have their funding revoked.
You think you and the government know what's best for the nation's children. By what authority do you proclaim that 'homosexuality is not wrong'? You mock and disparage anyone with whom you disagree, but you haven't presented a cogent argument to support anything you say. You just make sweeping statements that have no foundation. The arguments allegedly showing homosexuality to be morally wrong are a joke. If that were true, this would not be a contentious issue. It would be a given.
Explaining to our children that homosexuality exists and that homosexuals should be treated with human respect, is fine. Giving gay activists a forum to present the 'positive' aspects of their lifestyle is inconsistent with not teaching morality. Sexuality and its expression will always be a moral issue. It isn't about accepting the right of homosexuals to live and work along side everyone else in society -- they already have that right, and so they should -- this is about de facto endorsement of their sexual behaviour. The state has never said homosexuality isn't wrong, it has said that homosexuals should not be discriminated against. It is not discrimination to teach that certain behaviours are wrong -- even if the government sanctions those behaviours (abortion, divorce, premarital-sex, promiscuity).
Giving homosexuals the same rights and protections as other Canadians makes sense -- not because they are homosexual, but because they are human. Equating their sexuality with hetrosexuality is disingenuous. As expressions of 'love' a person might believe they are 'equal' but believing that they are not 'equal' acts at their core is just as valid an opinion, biblically based, or not.
The abortion debate, by the way, is infinitely less clear cut once one moves beyond the ridiculous notion that personhood begins at conception.
So it's magic that all of a sudden this fully formed human pops out of a woman after nine months? Before birth, it was just a blob of cells and then it hits the air - and what do you know -- a person.
Anyone who has ever had an ultrasound while pregnant knows that not only is that a living thing inside of you, but it is also a person. The argument that at some point during gestation that it acquires 'personhood' defies logic and science. An embryo has all the criteria to be defined as life. The pro-abortion crowd chooses to ignore evidence against their rationalizations in the name of 'choice' and as a result an entire generation has been indoctrinated with the notion that life begins when the mother (note -- not host-- mother) says it does.
Does it never occur to the pro-abortion side that while a tiny skull is crushed in and suction rips a fetus from the womb in one operating room, in a second, doctors are using all available means of neo-natal care to save a baby of the same gestation period. The only difference in the two is 'choice'. Call it what you like if it makes you feel better; what you call it will never make it right.
The debate with regard to rightness or wrongness of homosexuality is settled. Do not believe me? Step into a first you ethics class in any university in Canada.
Please. Universities are bastions of political correctness and forced conformity. When universities don't struggle with issues like this, you know they've got it wrong. Places of higher learning are supposed to engage in debate, not indoctrination. The fact they you could believe the argument 'settled' because they told you so at school, shows an utter lack of critical thinking skills.
The Catholic Church can pronounce homosexuality a sin all it wants. After all, a sin is simply what the bible says is a sin. It is all a matter of biblical interpretation. However, to pronounce homosexuality a mental disorder is another matter all together and most certainly a bigoted charge, but certainly not unconstitutional.
And in your world, there is no sin, except the sin of thinking differently from what the professors tell you. As for believing that homosexuality is a mental disorder, that's not bigoted -- it might be wrong, but it isn't bigoted.
Instead of being a reactionary, you might consider that the people who believe this are conceding that homosexuality is not a lifestyle choice, that it is part of a person's innate make up. Your fear that homosexuality might be thought a mental disorder suggests an intolerance of the mentally disordered. How bigoted of you. Besides, it isn't bigoted to note that homosexuality is different from the norm -- they make a big display of that every year at PRIDE. Bigoted is demanding that everyone think the way you learned in uni.
BTW, the American Psychiatric Association never stated that homosexuality isn't deviant or perverse, just that if a person was able to accept it within himself, that is isn't a psychatric issue. Remember too, that they 'delisted' homosexuality as a mental disorder at a time when there was great social upheaval and a push for 'free love', open sex, etc.
I don't hold much esteem for their opinions anyway. They recently issued opinions on paedophilia suggesting that child/adult sex is not really harmful to children. They've since modified their position somewhat, saying that it wasn't quite what they meant, but in 2003 the APA seriously considered delisting pedophilia as a mental disorder too. 'People whose sexual interests are atypical, culturally forbidden or religiously proscribed should not necessarily be labeled mentally ill, they argued. Different societies stigmatize different sexual behaviors, and since the existing research could not distinguish people with paraphilias from so-called "normophilics," there is no reason to diagnose paraphilics as either a distinct group or psychologically unhealthy, Moser and Kleinplatz stated.' 'However, the APA failed to address whether it considers a person with a pedophile orientation to have a mental disorder. "That is the question that is being actively debated at this time within the APA, and that is the question they have not answered when they respond that such relationships are 'immoral and illegal,'" Nicolosi said.'
A growing number of intellectuals who are chomping at the bit to make this their next project of 'tolerance' with the APA quietly leading the way. I'll give their opinions a pass, thank you.
(From my response to Koby)"Why is it that liberals believe that walking into a public school and teaching my children at the altar of liberal secularism is a-ok, but if a RC school teaches its doctrine it's wrong. Both schools receive public funding. Each is being taught a particular value system. Who decides which one is the right one?"
I suppose if you are moral relativistic you could take such a position. At any rate, the position of the state is clear. Homosexuality is not wrong . . .
The position of the state is not clear. The state says discrimination against homosexuals is wrong. That does not translate to: homosexuality is right and good. You are making the leap that if one teaches against homosexual acts, one is teaching against homosexuals. It is consistent to insist on respect for all humanity while disapproving of certain behaviours.
. . . and for the state to provide money for those who would want to teach otherwise violates one of the main tenants of Canadian society namely tolerance. Supreme Court Justice Clair L’Heureux –Dube drew the appropriate analogy in passing judgment on the Surrey school board: "Parents may be extremely racist, but we don't prevent the school from teaching that racism is bad." If RC wants to teach that homosexuality is wrong, let them do it entirely on their own dime.
Equating race and homosexuality is non sequitur. Race is what you are, not what you do. Homosexuality is who you are and what you do. All churches, all schools, have a responsiblity to teach 'tolerance', but tolerance and approval are vastly different things. While I am with you when you say that discrimination against homosexuals is wrong, teaching against homosexual acts is neither intolerant, nor bigoted. Just remember that even Catholic dimes go into the education pot. What are we teaching on their dime?
Now, there are some things that leave one open to ridicule. Believing that the earth is flat is one. Believing that the earth is only 6000 years old and that dinosaurs roomed the earth with humans is another.
And some would say believing that an orifice designed for eliminating waste is just an alternative to a vagina and is in no way repugnant -- is ridiculous. After all, your finger fits up your nose, but that isn't where it belongs.
Those on the pro-same sex marriage side consistently argue that all they want is what is just and fair. In their enlightened view, freedom of thought is okay, so long as it doesn't contain a hint of old fashioned 'morality' and is approved by the state.
In this worldview, the teaching of values becomes the right of the state. Biblically based values are voided by their very foundation. Secular values require no foundational argument but are accepted by virtue of being non-religious (and of course because the universities teach to it).
Citizens are obliged to take guidance on issues of conscience from the state, which derives its 'values' through a thought system whereby all acts or behaviours are equally valid -- a sort of, it's okay, so long as it's not hurting someone -- the 'fun's fun till someone loses an eye' creed.
The state takes its authority from being separate from religion, which it pretends to mean that it is somehow separate from pious dogma. The state orthodoxy is based on self-esteem building without expectation of personal responsibility. It is based on personal freedoms (determined by the state, of the state and for the state) and uniformity of thought, and does not brook dissent. If that seems paradoxical, it doesn't matter; logic and consistency are not part of the debate. Non-adherents are painted as radicals, and against freedom -- which gives the government the right to restrict their freedoms (in the name of freedom).
Koby, to suggest that you are not a moral relativist, is deluding yourself and indulging your vanity. In your assessment of things, we are all moral relativists. Our value systems are the ones we seek to promote and preserve. The difference is where we derive our inspiration.
I believe there are moral absolutes and universal truths. I believe they are part of something bigger than you and me, and governments and nations.
You believe the collective will of the governing party (or the judiciary) is the supreme light by which we should be guided.
You perceive me to be a moral relativist (which you use pejoratively) because you can't accept that there is more than one reality. While I believe in universal truths, I am aware that my beliefs cannot, and will not be accepted by everyone-- so I seek compromise. I will live along side you but teach my children what I know to be true. I will hold my convictions, but accept a middle ground solution. I refuse to endorse same-sex marriage, but will accept civil unions. But your side doesn't accept there having to be compromise. You speak of freedom, but seek to limit mine.
You believe in -- what? The wisdom of the courts? The teachings of your profs? There is no central authority in your orthodoxy -- it comes from you -- what you think, what you feel, what you need. You, and those like you, don't give up when it comes to imposing your worldview on the rest of us. Where I can tolerate your existence -- you cannot tolerate mine. You want to purge the world of those who think like me, and you want to start with state indoctrination from the cradle (national daycare) and continue it in a public school system that won't abide such heresies as personal opinion. The state teaches to its test of correctness -- whatever that happens to be at any given moment.
Koby, you might be right that RC and private schools teaching against homosexuality should not be funded through public money, but if that is so, neither should your brand of (in)tolerance.
Homosexuality is not wrong and for the state to provide money for those who would want to teach otherwise violates one of the main tenants of Canadian society namely tolerance.
Why is it so difficult for some people to accept that not everyone sees the act of gay sex as equivalent with the act of heterosexual sex? Homosexuals and heterosexuals are equal. The value of their respective sexual expression to society is not equal.
If society is going to fund and endorse public schools as being the starting point of gay advocacy, then suggesting that separate schools shut up because they are publicly funded, moves from being a funding issue to a freedom of speech issue.
If you really think separate schools should stop preaching, then start believing that public schools should too. At least be consistent.