Family values?

Monday, January 17 2005 @ 08:51 MST

Contributed by: evilscientist

Calgary\'s Bishop Fred Henry weighed in on the same sex marriage debate on Sunday with a lecture delivered by his bevy of priests to the faithful. Naturally Bishop Henry presented homosexuality as a threat to the family, equating it with prostitution, pornography and adultery. Frankly I\'m surprised he didn\'t pull in communism, unions and hemorrhoids. Now I understand it\'s his job to hold outmoded ideas, he is a leader in a church after all. It is also his job to tell his flock what to do, so what\'s the problem? Well there\'s not a direct problem. It is the right of the Catholic Church (or any other church, Christian or otherwise) to tell it members what to think. It is also the right of the followers of that Church to choose to accept those edicts to remain members of those faith communities. Whatever a church teaches its members, no mater if it makes sense or not, is contradictory or consistent, it is allowed due to freedom of religion.

The problem does arrive from the same religious freedom that allows Bishop Henry and his followers to hold their beliefs. Freedom of religion also means freedom FROM religion. Freedom of religion also allows for the belief that whatever two consenting adults agree to is OK. The problem is that Bishop Henry and his followers only want THEIR beliefs to hold. No other belief, or lack thereof, are to be allowed. They hide behind religious freedom, but then refuse to allow others the same privilege. To them, religious freedom seems to mean you can worship at the Christian Church of your choice. The same sex marriage debate is only a symptom of this. It could easily be some other perceived moral issue.

What the debate is really about is moral relativism. In general, what one person does is their business and between them and their conscience. If it\'s harming no one, why care? I think a lot of it comes down to the fact that society has moved past the point where the moral absolutism laid down in a 2000 year old tome has little relevance. This scares churches as they see what little power they have wane even further, their message becoming more and more irrelevant to modern society.

This doesn\'t mean that I think there are no moral absolutes. Murder is still wrong. To deprive another of their freedom and property without the due process of law (and the protection of that freedom and property of that same law). Note how I said murder is wrong, not killing. Even here moral absolutism has problems. For example, is it wrong to kill someone in the defence of yourself, another or your country? The answer is of course no. Morals are meant to guide us through our lives by giving us a base to make our decisions, not to make those decisions for us. Further, what is moral and just to one person, is not to another. This means that in an issue that has not threat to life, liberty or property, finding a common morality is not necessarily a possibility. Commonality isn\'t even a necessity or even desirable. Diversity allows for a variety of ideas, which eventually leads to our standard of living.

Back to the same-sex marriage debate. If married same-sex couples exist, there is no conceivable threat to anyone\'s life, liberty or property and thus no threat to them. This also means that there is no tangible threat to any one person, families and society in general. The only threat to any one person is that their right to love the person of their choice is being infringed. The only threat to society is where one member of society is being repressed, we\'re all repressed. The threat to the family, well that\'s another diatribe.

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