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Posted by on Jan 7, 2014 in Equal Marriage, Secularism | 47 comments

Catholic teachings on homosexuality are homophobic. It’s that simple.

Whenever I enter into a discussion about the Catholic Church’s stance on homosexuality its apologists usually greet me with the same tired defense of “ethos”, “religious freedom”, “conscience” etc. to justify a position which I deem homophobic and discriminatory. They seem to be believe that as it is a religious belief it is therefore exempt from the usual ethics governing discrimination. However, they fail to realise the consequences of such logic. If Catholics are permitted to discriminate against homosexuals solely based on the theology of their religion then why can’t other religions discriminate against people based on race or sex if their religion permits? To further explore religiously permitted discrimination I will draw comparisons between the Catholic Church’s position on homosexuality and the Mormon Church’s racist stance which it held prior to 1978.

For much of its history the Mormon Church had openly racist policies which discriminated against its black members. They were barred from the priesthood and from certain temple ordinances. Although never banned, interracial marriage was discouraged and was looked upon negatively. Black members were often shunned and white Mormons refused to sit with them, shake their hand, or sleep under the same roof. This was simply because Mormons believed people of African descent were under the curse of Cain. Cain being the the son of Adam and Eve who killed his brother Abel and was cursed by god by being marked. This mark, Mormons believed, was black skin. Although the Mormon Church repudiated the ban in 1978, unless one is a moral relativist, the ban and the treatment of blacks by Mormons was racist and immoral regardless if they felt it was morally and theologically acceptable or not. The reason why it is racism is quite obvious: it was a policy which targeted a fundamental part of an individual and treated them as inferior and defective because of it. The Mormon Church had no rationale for such a racist policy other than theology, which, as we shall see, is also the sole justification for the Catholic Church’s policy on homosexuals.

The Catholic Church’s position on homosexuality is outlined in the Catechism 2357-2359;

Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.” They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.

The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.

Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.

As stated above by the Church itself, its position is based solely on Sacred Scripture i.e. the Bible, the same source used by the Mormons to excuse their racist doctrine. Just as the Mormons made erroneous claims regarding skin colour, here too, Catholic doctrine makes widely inaccurate claims about homosexuality: that it’s intrinsically disordered, a grave depravity, contrary to natural law. None of these claims are objectively true and they hold as much credence as the claim that skin colour is the mark of a curse: none. The Catholic Church uses this doctrine to actively discriminate against homosexuals. Such as campaigning against marriage equality, same-sex parenting, and criminalising homosexual activity.

The similarities between the two policies are numerous. Both target an immutable, fundamental characteristic of an individual, both treat this characteristic as inferior and defective, both rationalise discriminatory practices due to this characteristic, and, most importantly, both solely rely on theological justifications. Discrimination on the grounds of race and gender orientation are irrational and harmful. To call homosexuality a sin or immoral when it harms nobody is simply absurd. Homosexuality has been observed in hundreds of different species and has been a constant throughout human history. It was embraced in many cultures including pre-Christian Europe, the Americas, and Asia.

The question Catholics must ask themselves is, if it is permissible for them to discriminate against homosexuals in the interest of freedom of religion and conscience, then is it not also permissible for Mormons to discriminate against blacks? If Catholics wish to refuse to give homosexuals accommodation at a B&B or access to relationship counseling, then should Mormons not be allowed to refuse blacks access to the priesthood and have separate seating? If theological reasoning isn’t sufficient to allow Mormons to actively discriminate against black people as the rights of blacks trump any notion of religious freedom then theological reasoning isn’t sufficient to allow Catholics to discriminate against homosexuals. It’s is unethical to impinge upon the rights of individuals to simply satisfy theological prejudices. Especially when the persons who want to limit their civil rights would be wholly unaffected should the minority group attain equality.

It is quite evident that for Catholics to continue to push “religious freedom”, “conscience”, and “ethos” to justify their discriminatory practices then they must accept the consequences of such logic and allow other religions to discriminate based on their religious ethos. This could mean that racism and sexism are perfectly permissible if they have a doctrinal foundation. If, on the other hand, Catholics believe things such as racism and sexism are immoral and no amount of theological excuses will trump the civil rights of individuals then they must extend this to homosexuals and their religious beliefs regarding homosexuality must defer to the civil rights of homosexuals.

  • http://skepticink.com/backgroundprobability/ Damion Reinhardt

    There is no doubt that Catholic (and quite often Protestant) doctrine militates in favor of institutional discrimination against homosexuals, and for that matter, women. When you say “Catholics are permitted to discriminate” are you calling for an end to that permission? If so, how could that be possibly affected without resort to force?

    • Fedos

      >If so, how could that be possibly affected without resort to force?

      By no longer giving them exemptions to anti-discrimination laws.

      • http://skepticink.com/backgroundprobability/ Damion Reinhardt

        Are such laws enforced without resort to monetary fines and jail time?

        • Fedos

          Violating the law often results in legal ramifications, in this case fines.

          • http://skepticink.com/backgroundprobability/ Damion Reinhardt

            Should we fine the Church for refusing to marry gays or ordain women? If so, how much and how often? If they refuse to pay up, shall we imprison their leaders? Can we also tell them to whom they ought to serve communion?

          • Jose Soto

            What should we do when a priest molests a child? Should we fine him, should we jail him?

            What do you expect society to do with those who brake the law? Because the way that I see it, religious people tend to have this notion that they are above the law. In other words, religious people are seeking a special right that non-religious people don’t have: the right to pick and choose which laws to obey.

          • http://skepticink.com/backgroundprobability/ Damion Reinhardt

            I’ll answer your questions if you answer mine.

    • http://skepticink.com/humanisticas/ Peter Ferguson

      By utilising the same laws regarding discrimination based on sex, race, religion, ethnicity etc.

      • http://skepticink.com/backgroundprobability/ Damion Reinhardt

        What legal remedies do you have in mind? Should women and gays should be able to sue churches who refuse to train them to become priests?

        • http://skepticink.com/humanisticas/ Peter Ferguson

          I am less interested in how the religious organisations run themselves than I am how they try and influence the public sphere. So although they probably can’t sue if they are not allowed become priests I think they can if, for example, a marriage counselor refuses to give relationship or marital advice to a same-sex couple.

          • http://skepticink.com/backgroundprobability/ Damion Reinhardt

            This seems like a vital distinction to me. If someone is an ordained Mormon elder, and also a secular Justice of the Peace, they may undertake to perform both religious and civil wedding ceremonies. I am quite comfortable applying anti-discrimination laws to the latter but not the former.

  • http://biblicalscholarship.wordpress.com Jayman

    As stated above by the Church itself, its position is based soley on Sacred Scripture…

    Your quote from the Catechism states: “They [homosexual acts] are contrary to the natural law.” The natural law approach to ethics stands or falls independently of Scripture, so the quoted assertion is incorrect.

    Catholic doctrine makes widely inaccurate claims about homosexuality: that it’s intrinsically disordered, a grave depravity, contrary to natural law.

    Since the reproductive organs are ordered towards reproduction, any sexual act (e.g., sodomy) that does not respect this end is wrong and intrinsically disordered on the natural law account.

    Both target an immutable, fundamental characteristic of an individual

    Sodomy is not an immutable, fundamental characteristic of a homosexual any more than vaginal intercourse is an immutable, fundamental characteristic of a heterosexual.

    To call homosexuality a sin or immoral when it harms nobody is simply absurd.

    And which meta-ethical theory do you propose to replace the natural law theory with?

    Homosexuality has been observed in hundreds of different species and has been a constant throughout human history. It was embraced in many cultures including pre-Christian Europe, the Americas, and Asia.

    How is this relevant? Do you understand what the natural law is that the Catholic Church is speaking of? It has nothing to do with what animals or people have done.

    It is quite evident that for Catholics to continue to push “religious freedom”, “conscience”, and “ethos” to justify their discriminatory practices then they must accept the consequences of such logic and allow other religions to discriminate based on their religious ethos.

    And the problem is? If Mormons want to have separate seating for blacks shouldn’t that be legally permissible? If you don’t like it you don’t have to attend or you can start your own Mormon church that doesn’t have separate seating. Respecting the liberty of others means they might do things you disapprove of.

    It’s is unethical to impinge upon the rights of individuals to simply satisfy theological prejudices. Especially when the persons who want to limit their civil rights would be wholly unaffected should the minority group attain equality.

    If a homosexual couple were to sue the owner of a B&B for not giving them the desired accommodations should they win, in your opinion? If the answer is yes, then how can you say the rights of a homosexual, as you’ve defined them, would not affect those who think homosexuality is immoral (clearly it would affect the owner of the B&B)?

    This could mean that racism and sexism are perfectly permissible if they have a doctrinal foundation.

    Aren’t they legally permissible even if you don’t have a doctrinal foundation?

    P.S. Not a Catholic.

    • point_counterpt

      >The natural law approach to ethics stands or falls independently of Scripture

      But not of theology. Despite some proponents’ claims, “natural law” theory is not in any way secular. Aquinas, whose writings shaped much of the theory as we know it today, clearly attributed the wisdom of “natural law” to divine providence.

      >Since the reproductive organs are ordered towards reproduction, any
      sexual act (e.g., sodomy) that does not respect this end is wrong and
      intrinsically disordered on the natural law account.

      Except for NFP, unions between infertile persons, etc. Natural law theory would allow for these and other exceptions because the participating genitals are still “ordered towards reproduction,” but that’s pretty much a semantic and essentialist argument. Besides, in a secular context, there’s no reason to adhere to the principle that sex “that does not respect this end is wrong” and should therefore be avoided. Whether it is or is not “wrong,” what are the consequences of such sex anyway? What is or should be the punishment for engaging in sodomy?

      >Aren’t they legally permissible even if you don’t have a doctrinal foundation?

      Depends on the context. It’s not legally permissible, for example, to deny someone housing or public education because of their skin color.

      • http://biblicalscholarship.wordpress.com Jayman

        But not of theology. Despite some proponents’ claims, “natural law” theory is not in any way secular. Aquinas, whose writings shaped much of the theory as we know it today, clearly attributed the wisdom of “natural law” to divine providence.

        I fail to see how you can’t secularize it. Merely replace divine providence with nature.

        Besides, in a secular context, there’s no reason to adhere to the principle that sex “that does not respect this end is wrong” and should therefore be avoided.

        This assumes natural law is incorrect and you have a secular ethical system that holds a different view on the matter. It is my understanding that some Communist states have punished homosexual acts, so clearly a secular reason can be given (whether you agree with that reason is a separate issue).

        What is or should be the punishment for engaging in sodomy?

        I’m not proposing any legal punishment.

        • point_counterpt

          >I fail to see how you can’t secularize it. Merely replace divine providence with nature

          What do you mean by “nature”?

          >This assumes natural law is incorrect.

          Should I have assumed otherwise? If so, why?

          >It is my understanding that some Communist states have punished homosexual acts, so clearly a secular reason can be given (whether you agree with that reason is a separate issue).

          I thought we were talking about “Natural Law,” not whatever justifications communist states have used.

          • http://biblicalscholarship.wordpress.com Jayman

            What do you mean by “nature”?

            The ability to apprehend moral truths.

            Should I have assumed otherwise? If so, why?

            You shouldn’t have made assumptions. A “secular context” has no moral compass at all. If you are going to assume natural law is wrong then what moral system are you assuming is correct?

            I thought we were talking about “Natural Law,” not whatever justifications communist states have used.

            The natural law position is clear and there’s not much more to say on it. The “secular context” position is not clear, which is why a secularist such as yourself can disagree with a secularist Communist. Should we supplant natural law with chaos? What is the relationship between morality and government that you propose?

          • http://skepticink.com/humanisticas/ Peter Ferguson

            Natural law includes behavioral laws of nature, which would include homosexuality. So even if we do apply secular natural law then it still stands that homosexuality is neither deprived or immoral.

          • http://biblicalscholarship.wordpress.com Jayman

            Natural law includes behavioral laws of nature, which would include homosexuality. So even if we do apply secular natural law then it still stands that homosexuality is neither deprived or immoral.

            That’s incorrect since the telos of the reproductive organs is reproduction.

          • http://skepticink.com/humanisticas/ Peter Ferguson

            Secular natural law includes behavioral laws. You can’t propose natural laws as your reasoning and then deny a huge aspect of it just because it doesn’t suit you.

          • http://biblicalscholarship.wordpress.com Jayman

            What is a behavioral law? Murder is a behavior. Does that mean secular natural law sanctions murder? And where is the appeal to telos in this secular natural law?

          • http://skepticink.com/humanisticas/ Peter Ferguson

            It’s an irrelevant question anyway as the premise of what is natural governing morality is highly illogical.

            Humans are incapable of flight, so by natural law we are being immoral by using planes to fly. The ludicrous list goes on forever and includes homosexuality. And if telos is a governing factor in morality then we are all immoral as we all use parts of our bodies for purposes which they were not originally designed for.

            As Julian Baggini said “Even if we can agree that some things are natural and some are not, what follows from this? The answer is: nothing. There is no factual reason to suppose that what is natural is good (or at least better) and what is unnatural is bad (or at least worse).”

          • http://biblicalscholarship.wordpress.com Jayman

            Humans are incapable of flight, so by natural law we are being immoral by using planes to fly.

            That’s incorrect. I gather you don’t really understand natural law (not that I’m claiming to be an expert myself). To reiterate one of my initial main points, the Catholic Church’s position on homosexuality is not based solely in Scripture. It is based on a meta-ethical system that could be adopted even by atheists. To attribute their position to homophobia is not to engage them.

          • http://skepticink.com/humanisticas/ Peter Ferguson

            It isn’t though. The Catholic Church relies on a theological form of Natural Law. The fact it could be secularised is irrelevant. The Church still relies on the theological form i.e. scripture.

          • http://biblicalscholarship.wordpress.com Jayman

            Natural law, while consistent with Scripture, is not laid out in Scripture. It appeals to non-theological principles. Moreover, that still doesn’t make them homophobic. That’s just an easy way to dismiss someone you disagree with.

    • http://skepticink.com/humanisticas/ Peter Ferguson

      The natural law approach to ethics stands or falls independently of Scripture, so the quoted assertion is incorrect.

      If it was a secular variation of natural law which I very much doubt the Catholic Church is using. The Catholic Church’s use of natural relies on divine providence, ergo they still rely on and use a theological justification.

      Since the reproductive organs are ordered towards reproduction, any sexual act (e.g., sodomy) that does not respect this end is wrong and intrinsically disordered on the natural law account.

      This is the fallacy of the appeal to nature or naturalistic fallacy. I advise you research them, but in short we do not judge what is good or bad based on what is natural or what things appear to be “ordered” towards. Our mouths are made for eating, is kissing therefore “disordered”? And if the Catholic Church is truly worried about sexual acts that are not geared towards reproduction then oral sex and heavy petting between heterosexual couples is also disordered and we are just as “immoral” as homosexuals.

      Sodomy is not an immutable, fundamental characteristic of a homosexual any more than vaginal intercourse is an immutable, fundamental characteristic of a heterosexual.

      To reduce sexual attraction and romantic love to simply the act of penetrative sex quite insulting to both homosexuals and heterosexuals. Sex is simply an aspect of romantic love and attraction. And it is this attraction that is immutable. And if it is only sodomy that is wrong then lesbianism should be ok then?

      And the problem is? If Mormons want to have separate seating for blacks shouldn’t that be legally permissible?

      No it shouldn’t. The rights of individuals must be prioritised over the theological prejudices of any group. Even if it is only expressed among their own congregation.

      If a homosexual couple were to sue the owner of a B&B for not giving them the desired accommodations should they win, in your opinion? If the answer is yes, then how can you say the rights of a homosexual, as you’ve defined them, would not affect those who think homosexuality is immoral (clearly it would affect the owner of the B&B)?

      Allowing the homosexual couple to stay in the B&B will not affect the owners. However, if they refuse and the homosexual couple sue the couple are then affected by the consequences of their prejudice.

      Aren’t they legally permissible even if you don’t have a doctrinal foundation?

      No

      • http://biblicalscholarship.wordpress.com Jayman

        The Catholic Church’s use of natural relies on divine providence, ergo they still rely on and use a theological justification.

        You can replace providence with nature.

        This is the fallacy of the appeal to nature or naturalistic fallacy. I advise you research them, but in short we do not judge what is good or bad based on what is natural or what things appear to be “ordered” towards.

        The appeal to nature says something is good because it is natural. But that’s an oversimplification of natural law. My understanding of natural law is that something is good because it is desirable. Our human nature informs us how to rationally order our actions so as to obtain the good.

        And if the Catholic Church is truly worried about sexual acts that are not geared towards reproduction then oral sex and heavy petting between heterosexual couples is also disordered and we are just as “immoral” as homosexuals.

        True.

        To reduce sexual attraction and romantic love to simply the act of penetrative sex quite insulting to both homosexuals and heterosexuals. Sex is simply an aspect of romantic love and attraction. And it is this attraction that is immutable.

        The Catholic Church is objecting to an action, not an orientation. To say that the orientation is immutable tells us nothing about the morality of a homosexual action. This is why comparison to skin color fails.

        No it shouldn’t. The rights of individuals must be prioritised over the theological prejudices of any group. Even if it is only expressed among their own congregation.

        This is incompatible with a free society. You’ve just trampled on rights of the Mormon congregation. Do you propose having the government spy on the congregation and then punishing them (how?) if they do not sit in the legal manner?

        Allowing the homosexual couple to stay in the B&B will not affect the owners. However, if they refuse and the homosexual couple sue the couple are then affected by the consequences of their prejudice.

        Providing a service to guests does effect the owners. Heck, my ordering of a hamburger for lunch affects the workers at the restaurant. You were lying when you said the rights of homosexuals would not affect others.

        No.

        What country do you live in?

        • mindlessgeek

          >This is incompatible with a free society. You’ve just trampled on rights of the Mormon congregation.

          “Free society” does not mean what you think it means. Or do you propose we don’t punish murderers and thieves either, because we’re trampling on their rights to kill and steal?

          > What country do you live in?

          Anti-discrimination laws exist, what country do YOU live in?

          • http://biblicalscholarship.wordpress.com Jayman

            “Free society” does not mean what you think it means.

            So free societies do not respect freedom of religion and freedom of association? A free society is one where the government dictates the seating arrangement of a Mormon church? How does this free society differ from a non-free society?

            Or do you propose we don’t punish murderers and thieves either, because we’re trampling on their rights to kill and steal?

            I only support government protection of so-called negative rights, such as the right to life and the right to private property. A right to kill or steal would be a so-called positive right.

            Anti-discrimination laws exist, what country do YOU live in?

            I live in the U.S. where a congregation can do what they please.

          • mindlessgeek

            But there are (and there should be) limits to freedom of religion, where you can’t deny employment to someone based on race, for example.

            https://www.aclu.org/using-religion-discriminate

          • http://biblicalscholarship.wordpress.com Jayman

            But there are (and there should be) limits to freedom of religion, where you can’t deny employment to someone based on race.

            It’s debatable whether you should be able to do such things. And, if you support such things, be honest that you do support punishing people. Don’t claim that your ideas won’t affect people. Be blatantly honest that you support, say, forcing a baker to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding and if he fails to do so you support fines, imprisonment, or what have you.

          • http://skepticink.com/humanisticas/ Peter Ferguson

            Yes, we are for forcing people to treat others with esteem and equality. Your hypothetical baker is not negatively affected if he is to bake the cake, he is not harmed in any manner. He would simply not want to due to his prejudice, this is unethical.

            If you want to allow people to discriminate based on prejudice then do you realise the consequences of such logic? It could drag us back decades if not centuries to when racial and sexist discrimination was rampant. However, thanks to anti-discrimination laws people are attaining more equality and are discriminated against less. And I, for one, see this as a good thing.

          • http://biblicalscholarship.wordpress.com Jayman

            Yes, we are for forcing people to treat others with esteem and equality.

            So when a new atheist goes off and treats theists with disrespect I assume you favor the ability to punish him, correct? He should be forced to treat theists with esteem.

            Your hypothetical baker is not negatively affected if he is to bake the cake, he is not harmed in any manner.

            He’s not hypothetical and he would be harmed. His conscience has been violated and part of his liberty have been stripped from him.

            He would simply not want to due to his prejudice, this is unethical.

            You’ve merely asserted it is a prejudice as opposed to a well thought out ethical stance. You haven’t given us the one, true ethical system by which to judge his actions. In fact, atheists can’t even agree amongst themselves whether morality truly exists or not. Nor, ironically, do you seem to see anything unethical in forcing another human being to bake a cake.

            If you want to allow people to discriminate based on prejudice then do you realise the consequences of such logic?

            Do you realize the consequences of enforcing positive rights? Do you not see similarities to slavery?

            It could drag us back decades if not centuries to when racial and sexist discrimination was rampant.

            I find that doubtful seeing as such groups made progress independently from legislation.

          • http://skepticink.com/humanisticas/ Peter Ferguson

            So when a new atheist goes off and treats theists with disrespect I assume you favor the ability to punish him, correct?

            Disrespect and discrimination are not the same. But, yes, atheists should be held to the same laws. But you seem to think it’s ok to discriminate based on personal conscience. So I assume it’s ok to discriminate based on race, sex, religion, ethnicity, yes?

            You’ve merely asserted it is a prejudice as opposed to a well thought out ethical stance.

            No I am using the legal definition of the word, “harm or injury that results or may result from some action or judgement.” As for my ethical stance it is outlined in the post above.

            I find that doubtful seeing as such groups made progress independently from legislation.

            That’s ahistorical nonsense. Here is but a brief list of anti-discrimination legislation in the US. There is literally hundreds of pieces of anti-discrimination legislation in the US. Not to mention the fact that minorities and women still have attained full equality despite such legislation.

          • http://biblicalscholarship.wordpress.com Jayman

            Disrespect and discrimination are not the same.

            You said you are for forcing people to treat others with esteem. Esteem is a synonym of respect.

            So I assume it’s ok to discriminate based on race, sex, religion, ethnicity, yes?

            Legally, I think the owner of a business should be able to serve the customers he wants and not be forced to serve those he does not want to serve. For example, if I go to an atheist baker and ask him to bake a religiously-themed cake and he refuses on the grounds that it violates his conscience I think that should be perfectly legal. I should not be able to sue the baker for damages. I should just go to a different baker or bake my own cake.

            No I am using the legal definition of the word, “harm or injury that results or may result from some action or judgement.” As for my ethical stance it is outlined in the post above.

            So you meant: “He [the baker] would simply not want to [bake the cake] due to his prejudice [harm or injury that results or may result from some action or judgement], this is unethical”?

            That’s ahistorical nonsense. Here is but a brief list of anti-discrimination legislation in the US. There is literally hundreds of pieces of anti-discrimination legislation in the US.

            You forgot to provide a link. I’m not denying there is anti-discrimination legislation. I’m questioning whether the removal of such laws would drag us back centuries or decades. Surely a minority could end or reduce discrimination through non-legislative means.

            Not to mention the fact that minorities and women still have attained full equality despite such legislation.

            So you want me to support laws that violate the conscience and freedom of some individuals despite the fact that these laws will fail to achieve their ends? Perhaps such legislation fails to achieve “full equality” because the government is is no position to determine the worth of an individual to a company.

          • http://skepticink.com/humanisticas/ Peter Ferguson

            Legally, I think the owner of a business should be able to serve the customers he wants and not be forced to serve those he does not want to serve

            So the answer is yes then. But I feel we gave too cushy an example. What about a doctor who refuses to threat a patient based on sex, race, discrimination etc. Or a public school (only one in the area) refuses a student on those grounds, barring them from education.

            I’m questioning whether the removal of such laws would drag us back centuries or decades.

            It may not drag us back but we certainly we wouldn’t be in the position we are today if they did not exist.

            So you want me to support laws that violate the conscience and freedom of some individuals despite the fact that these laws will fail to achieve their ends?

            The laws have worked as best they could. Blacks and women have more equality now than they ever did thanks to these laws. The reason they don’t have full equality is because some laws are still inadequate and no matter how good the laws are they still can’t change the mind of a bigot. But we should keep striving for ever improving levels of equality.

            Here is forgotten link. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_anti-discrimination_acts#United_States

          • http://biblicalscholarship.wordpress.com Jayman

            So the answer is yes then.

            Note I said legally. People have the legal freedom to do many things that I find immoral. If I err it will generally be towards the liberty side of the scale.

            What about a doctor who refuses to threat a patient based on sex, race, discrimination etc.

            I think that should be legal. The doctor in question should inform his employer of his beliefs so he can be accommodated without affecting incoming patients (e.g., don’t have a Jehovah’s Witness who won’t perform blood transfusions be put in a position where will have to perform blood transfusions). Of course, on my view, the hospital or clinic could decline to employ such a doctor without fear of a lawsuit claiming discrimination.

            Or a public school (only one in the area) refuses a student on those grounds, barring them from education.

            A public school is not a business. I think a public institution should serve the public without discrimination. My general opposition to non-discrimination laws also applies to “pro-discrimination laws”. Both try to tell businesses who they can and cannot serve. Now a private school should be able to run its school as it pleases.

            It may not drag us back but we certainly we wouldn’t be in the position we are today if they did not exist.

            That’s a truism. The counterpoint is: how far is the government allowed to infringe on a person’s liberty?

            Here is forgotten link

            Notice how few of the laws pertain to homosexuality, yet I’m guessing you think homosexuals have made progress towards equality. This supports my claim that a minority could end or reduce discrimination through non-legislative means. This would have the added benefit of not having such legislation back-firing in your face down the road.

          • http://skepticink.com/humanisticas/ Peter Ferguson

            Note I said legally. People have the legal freedom to do many things that I find immoral

            Then that is different to the point of this article. Most Catholics who think discrimination of homosexuals is moral but discrimination based on race, religion etc. is immoral. This is the point of the article. Your argument of liberty is an aside.

            A public school is not a business. I think a public institution should serve the public without discrimination.

            Agreed.

            That’s a truism. The counterpoint is: how far is the government allowed to infringe on a person’s liberty?

            Government should ensure the liberty of its citizens. Is the freedom to discriminate really a freedom?

            Notice how few of the laws pertain to homosexuality, yet I’m guessing you think homosexuals have made progress towards equality.

            There are still plenty of legislation governing discrimination of homosexuals. And is it possible to progress towards equality without discrimination? Yes. Does that mean that is they way we should do it? No. Especially as it is way slower and many more people would suffer.

          • http://biblicalscholarship.wordpress.com Jayman

            Then that is different to the point of this article. Most Catholics who think discrimination of homosexuals is moral but discrimination based on race, religion etc. is immoral. This is the point of the article. Your argument of liberty is an aside.

            My point about liberty is that SSM often goes hand-in-hand with laws that limit liberty and hence is not as harmless as it is passed off as being.

            Is the freedom to discriminate really a freedom?

            Yes, it’s the outgrowth of the freedom to live your life as you choose.

            Does that mean that is they way we should do it? No. Especially as it is way slower and many more people would suffer.

            Do you believe human rights are subject to a cost-benefit analysis? For example, if the government determines (rightly or wrongly) that slavery is the most beneficial path, then what consistent counter-argument can you give?

          • Vivisectus

            “Is the freedom to discriminate really a freedom?

            Yes, it’s the outgrowth of the freedom to live your life as you choose.”
            But clearly, if we allow discrimination based on conscience we are allowing the limitation of other people’s basic freedoms. We could, for instance, say that it is OK for the majority of grocery shops or doctors in Ireland to refuse service to foreign people, forcing them to do things very differently based on their country of origin.

            In cases like this, we weigh the right of a citizen to be a racist against the right of citizens to live unimpeded by unreasonable restrictions caused by racism.

            An argument based on liberty only works if you limit your examples to situations where they are an exception: the ONE atheist baker who gets to refuse to make a religious cake.

            But this allows the systematic exclusion of entire parts of the population from activities that the rest of the population takes for granted. Which, of course, is exactly what the result has been for many groups that suffered discrimination historically.

  • Jim Jones

    Google(lyings of a woman).

    Google(centurion pais).

  • ooskaloosa

    You lost me when you wrote “Mormon’s”. Not once, not twice, but over and over again. For the love of anything…. apostrophes should never be used to pluralize a word! EVER.

    • http://skepticink.com/humanisticas/ Peter Ferguson

      Yes, I know this and how I managed to do it three times I will never know. Fixed now.

      • funkyderek

        You still have “comparison’s” in paragraph 1

        • http://skepticink.com/humanisticas/ Peter Ferguson

          Gah, last time I write an article in the wee hours of the morning.

      • Guest

        Peter if I could write like you and only walk away with a few punctuation errors I would be damn happy with myself. Small mistakes show that you are human and probably have a sense of humor. Not being able to read a paragraph because of a few punctuation or grammatical errors… well that just shows you probably need more fiber in your diet… especially when you feel the need to caps lock your final “instructions”. Thank you for your work Peter!

  • Simón Hall

    Tim Minchin sums up the church’s position nicely: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=534723829879643

  • mindlessgeek

    No, you see… Mormons were wrong. But we are right, because we have the correct interpretation of the Word of God, that which was passed down verbally for many generations and then written in several languages, some books included and some excluded to the whims of a few powerful men centuries ago, and then translated and retranslated hundreds of times. There’s no way there was anything lost in that process since Jesus himself founded our Church! The Bible says so!