Saturday, May 30, 2015

Marriage legal and moral

Some people would argue for a distinction between the legal acceptability of same-sex marriage and its moral acceptability. Consider the following case: a man leaves his wife and three kids, and runs off with a Playboy bunny half his age. He divorces his wife, and goes down to the courthouse to get a license to marry his new girlfriend. The courthouse won't ask any questions about whether he was moral or not in starting this relationship which began as an adulterous affair. They just check to see if his divorce is final, and if it is, they issue the marriage license. But if a photographer who knew about how the relationship starter, and who believes in the Seventh Commandment (Thou shalt not commit adultery) was asked to photograph the wedding, would such a photographer be reasonable in saying "I recognize that you are getting married legally, but I can't be part of the celebration of your new union, given what I know about how you got together. Sorry, please find another photographer." 

(Interestingly enough, the above case seems to be one of the stronger reasons in support of same-sex marriage, since it points out that in heterosexual cases like this one, the government doesn't hand out licenses based on what they perceive to be moral or not, either on religious grounds or on any other grounds). 

If that is reasonable, then could someone who object morally to a same-sex marriage do the same thing, since they are being asked, really, to be part of the celebration of something they don't feel right about celebrating? 

97 comments:

B. Prokop said...

What the proponents of same-sex "marriage" do not seem to understand is that if they were to just leave people who don't agree with them alone, most of this "culture war" would simply disappear.

Thought experiment:

Person "A" does not approve of gambling - he thinks it is objectively sinful. He doesn't engage in it himself, and no one is asking him to applaud or "celebrate" those who do. No caterers are being boycotted or taken to court if they refuse to service casinos. No one is mounting social media campaigns to force people out of their jobs if they make statements against gambling.

Why can't the same rules be applied to the wedding industry?

Jezu ufam tobie!

Aragorn said...

I think the analogies presented don't hold because in a society where there are widespread negative attitudes towards divorce, gambling or homosexual conduct, it would be rather easy to acquire services as a divorcee or a gambler. Not so for homosexual marriages simply because they are easily identified.

In a society where 99% of people will choose not to serve a gambler, a divorcee, or a married homosexual couple, only the married homosexual couple will really endure any hardship. Allowing such discrimination in law even in a society that favors homosexual marriages will reinforce it to a point where discriminatory attitudes will only increase. A society that discriminates.against homosexuals even just 50% of the time is a society that is less American, less freedom-loving and generally less than one where such discrimination is not allowed. One can still object to the marriage while still offering one's services to them - they are not as mutually exclusive as those on the right would have people believe.

B. Prokop said...

"they are not as mutually exclusive as those on the right would have people believe"

That is precisely where you are so wrong, Aragorn. They are more mutually exclusive than you think. "For what partnership have righteousness and iniquity?" (1 Cor 6:14) "Be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch nothing unclean" (Isaiah 51:11)

This is the 21st Century equivalent to the Roman Empire demanding the early Christians offer incense to the statue of the supposedly divine emperor. The vast majority of the persecutors were mystified by what they saw as unreasonable Christian intransigence. "It's just some incense!" they'd argue. "What's the harm? Sprinkle it and go on your way. But refuse, and we'll feed you to the lions."

There's always a breaking point when increasing pressure is applied, and for me it came with the campaign of terror being waged against people supporting objective morality. Dare to dissent from the current fashion, and be labeled a hater and a bigot, have your business and livelihood destroyed, and... what next? Mandatory re-education? Have your children forcibly remanded to the state? Soviet style "psychiatric measures?" "How dare you engage in thought crime, comrade? Shut up and get in line!"

Jezu ufam tobie!

John Moore said...

Victor makes a great distinction between the legal and the moral, and he points out how the government tends to stick to the legal side and let individuals work out morality among themselves.

Now the question is whether public businesses should be more like the government or more like a private family. I think the answer is simple: When you open a business and take part in the free-market economy, your business must follow all the laws and must not cast judgment on individual people's morality. A public business is like a government bureau in that sense.

Christians should try to accept that they are not their business. Just make a stark distinction in your mind. It's like separation of church and state - the government is not the same as your church, and your business is not the same as you.

The key thing is to not try to force your particular beliefs on others. A business owner can't expect his employees to share his particular interpretation of scripture. Customers either. Just because you own a business, that doesn't mean you can lord it over other people like that and impinge on their freedom of conscience.

Ilíon said...

The (ahem) argument given above begs the very point at question. Moreover, it commits one to a slippery-slope that can only end in the destruction of the institution of marriage.

But then, that it the whole point of "gay" mirage.

B. Prokop said...

"The key thing is to not try to force your particular beliefs on others."

PRECISELY. To slightly paraphrase your own words, "Just because you're a customer, that doesn't mean you can lord it over other people like that and impinge on their freedom of conscience."

The fashionable orthodoxy had better realize that they've crossed a Red Line here (and one that actually means something). This is a Bridge to Far for genuine Christians concerned about their eternal destiny. Participating in objective evil is today's version of offering incense to the emperor's statue. This alone will separate the true Body of Christ from the Docetists.

Aragorn said...

Again, the crucial issue is being ignored in the discussion - that homosexuals have historically been the target of discriminatory behavior and that they are easily targeted within the wedding services industry precisely because homosexual weddings are certainly going to be hard to miss. Take away those key factors and any comparisons will be going to be disingenuous.

The person who wishes to invoke their bronzed-aged superstition in order to discriminate against homosexuals better be prepared to defend themselves in court and in the court of public opinion. One is free to worship whoever one wishes to, but one is not free to act on one's bigotry. Homosexuality is not immoral and much as we want yokels out there to realize this, all we can really do is ask them to be decent on pain of a lawsuit and social disapprobation.

John Moore said...

So both the Christian business owners and their gay customers feel their freedom of conscience is being impinged on. Who can mediate here? How can we resolve this so everyone lives together in peace?

One tactic that Victor implied and I suggested is for Christian business owners to separate themselves morally from their businesses. What's wrong with that? Can Christians even consider this idea?

A business is not a spiritual entity with a soul that goes to heaven or hell. A business is just a legal institution, a handy set of procedures for people to trade goods and services. Thus, businesses must conform to the law, but they can't worship God or have any kind of spiritual purity.

Again, what's wrong with this idea? Why can't Christians even consider it?

grodrigues said...

@Aragorn:

"Again, the crucial issue is being ignored in the discussion - that homosexuals have historically been the target of discriminatory behavior and that they are easily targeted within the wedding services industry precisely because homosexual weddings are certainly going to be hard to miss."

You keep repeating how "the crucial issue is being ignored" and then go on to blissfully ignore the crucial issue that B. Prokop raised. That homossexuals have "historically been the target of discriminatory behavior" does not justify trampling freedom of association and throwing to the Wind as a mere convenience the firmly held convictions of others, i.e. that it would be material cooperatiopn of evil to cater for an SS "wedding". As a response to B. Prokop what you say is a non-issue, and rather disingenuous to bring it up.

@John Moore:

"So both the Christian business owners and their gay customers feel their freedom of conscience is being impinged on. Who can mediate here?"

Do not be an idiot. "Gay customers" are *NOT* having "their freedom of conscience" impinged upon.

B. Prokop said...

You beat me to it, grodrigues. I was wondering the same thing. How on earth is the customers' freedom of conscience being impinged upon? What a weird false equivalence.

I also took note of dear Aragorn's peace overtures. Cries of "bigotry" and "superstition" and various other gnu favorites. It's clearly evident exactly what sort of "peace" we could expect from his like - the peace of the grave.

By the way, Aragorn - News Flash: the Bronze Age is the period between roughly 3300 B.C. and 1200 B.C. Note the "B.C.", meaning the era was one thousand two hundred years before the New Testament was written. That's a time span equivalent to that separating us from Charlemagne! Now kindly explain to us just how Christianity is a "Bronze Age superstition".

Ilíon said...

an expansion of my post above

B. Prokop said...

Ilion raises a lot of interesting points over on his own site, but I'd like to expand the conversation even further. How many times have we heard discussions on DI about whether or not atheists can be "moral". And if you've been paying attention, you already know my answer, which is "Of course they can. Even if they deny the existence of God, that doesn't change the fact that God has written His Law on their hearts, regardless of what they believe or do not believe." But unfortunately, that guarantee does not hold for nations and/or societies. Countries do not have souls, and there is nothing for God to write on. So far, the atheists have been fortunate enough to live off of the scraps that fall of the Christian table in keeping society sane. But once you've driven Christ out of the public sphere, the steady supply of table droppings falls off and eventually stops. Then what?

So while individual atheists, having souls whether they like it or not, can still be moral, it is impossible for a nation or society to be so without God.

Jezu ufam tobie!

Ilíon said...

Here is another "interesting point" for you all to mull over ... and it's related to the question of whether 'atheists' can be moral -- In this very thread, short as it is so far, already we see 'atheists' talking out of both sides of their mouths: both making assertions of objective transcendent morality (which, of course, their metaphysics denies even can exist) *and* advocating that might makes right ... ao long as the might is being employed by persons with whom they broadly agree for ends they desire.

But, if might makes right, then they really don't have any ground upon which to object if normal people, who are the vast majority, after all, decide to use governmental violence to suppress, or even persecure, "gays", or 'atheists'

DougJC said...

Victor,

"I recognize that you are getting married legally, but I can't be part of the celebration of your new union, given what I know about how you got together. Sorry, please find another photographer."

Can businesses engage in moral shaming with the blessing of the state? Because that's really what this is. You refuse someone for their (lack of) moral character, you shame them. The problem with moral shaming is that it hurts the target of the shaming, and hurting people is a tricky sort of business.

Now, sure, hurting evil people is okay, bastards deserve it. But what if they don't think they're evil, or worse, what if they really aren't evil at all and I'm the one that's wrong? Now the state has to get involved to mandate when moral shaming is legal and when it isn't. That's a mess.

I like John Moore's point: business owners should expect to seperate themselves morally from their businesses. That means business owners won't refuse service based solely on the perceived morality of the customer (unless the business exists to perform specific moral services, and also assuming the customer's activities are clearly legal). This seems to be the directions things are going.

B. Prokop said...

"Can businesses engage in moral shaming [of customers] with the blessing of the state?"

How about "Can customers engage in moral corruption [of business owners] with the blessing of the state? Because that's really what this is. You [hate] someone for their [insistence on maintaining their] moral character, [so] you [corrupt] them. ... Now, sure, hurting [Christians] is okay, the bastards deserve it [for insisting on objective morality]."

"business owners should expect to seperate themselves morally from their businesses"

I think not. That's the Eichmann Defense. ("I was only following orders.")

Jezu ufam tobie!

msgrx said...

John Moore:

One tactic that Victor implied and I suggested is for Christian business owners to separate themselves morally from their businesses. What's wrong with that?

Well, the obvious problem is that people don't cease to be people just because they're currently being paid to do something or working as part of a larger organisation. As B. Prokop says, we don't accept "I was only following orders" as a legitimate excuse for government employees, so why should it be any more compelling for employees of other corporations?

DougJC said...

B. Prokop,

"Can customers engage in moral corruption [of business owners] with the blessing of the state? "

If everyone agrees on morality, you just legalize morality and make "legal" and "moral" mean the same thing, problem solved. But that's not America or any modern secular society. If you agree with separation of church and state, you can't consistently privilege certain controversial moral views that hurt others with moral shaming in a secular context. Only a Christian Theocracy will give you that sort of power.

"You [hate] someone for their [insistence on maintaining their] moral character, [so] you [corrupt] them."

No, it is the hurting of others with moral shaming for reasons society finds unjustifiable that is "hated", not the insistence on maintaining moral character.

"... Now, sure, hurting [Christians] is okay, the bastards deserve it [for insisting on objective morality].""

No, hurting some Christians (by denying them exercise of certain moral intuitions in the practice of business) is deemed okay if those same Christians hurt others (with moral shaming for reasons society find unjustifiable). We generally feel that it is okay to hurt those who hurt others (in some just, proportionate way).

"[Per Moore, I wrote]business owners should expect to seperate themselves morally from their businesses"
I think not. That's the Eichmann Defense. ("I was only following orders.")
"

In Nazi Germany, the government insists that you torture and kill people in violation of your moral principles, today's government insists that you not hurt people with moral shaming in a business context no matter your moral principles. Hard to see any equivalency.

grodrigues said...

@B. Prokop:

Take a close gander at these morally obtuse, illiberal fascists, and how the question that bubbles on their lips is "Why won't you just roll over?"

B. Prokop said...

grodrigues,

Doug's latest comment is a perfect example. "Why won't you obstinate Christians just agree to burn a little harmless incense before the emperor's statue? What is your problem here? Look... a little incense, and we let you go. No more persecution. But if you persist in your refusal, then it's the lions for you!"

But what the God-haters don't understand is that we've been here before and survived. First the Temple Authorities tried to wipe out the Faith. Then the Romans. Then the Barbarians. Then the Muslims. Then the Norsemen. Then the Muslims again (under the Ottomans). Then the French revolutionaries. Then the Communists and the Nazis. Now the secularists and the gnus. What part of "the Gates of Hell shall not prevail" do they not understand?

You know, I honestly feel sorry for the other side. I really do. In their corner, they've got the courts, the government, fashionable orthodoxy, the media. And in our corner... the Almighty and Everlasting God, maker of Heaven and Earth, and the Incarnate Word, and the Church, the Bride of Christ. And you don't think the Lord is going to do whatever it takes to defend His precious Bride? No, not a fair fight at all. I truly pity them.

Jezu ufam tobie!

Aragorn said...

How is "I'm not going to serve homosexual weddings because it is taking part in evil against my religious convictions" different from, "I refuse to serve blacks in the same place I serve whites because it is taking part in an evil against my religious convictions"? There's no difference at all - and yet we feel it is right to compel business owners to serve blacks but not homosexuals.

The key issue is one of discrimination and the ease by which members of both classes can be segregated and discriminated against. This is what some people here conveniently ignore. Your religious beliefs have to take a back seat against the more important goal of preventing harm.

According to your Bible, slavery is a-ok. Let's just say people have a better grasp of what it means to be moral nowadays.

B. Prokop said...

Oh, Good Lord! Not the old "How is this different from racism?" canard again! Don't you guys have any imagination at all, that you keep reverting to the same tired, discredited false analogies again and again?

How is it different? It's different like bicycle wheels are from eucalyptus leaves, or like beach balls are from hand towels, or dung beetles are from lampshades. (In other words, you can't even call them dissimilar - they're just two different things altogether.)

Listen, and listen good. There is NO discrimination in not recognizing same sex "marriage" - none. No more than there is any in not recognizing marriage between siblings, or between parents and children, or between pet owners and their pets. As long as the rules are the same for everyone and everyone is being treated exactly the same, how on God's Green Earth can you possibly say there's any discrimination going on? Now if we treated one set of people in one manner, and another set in a different manner, then you might have a case to say "discrimination". But not here. Everyone, regardless of race, color, creed, sex, orientation, or what have you, is free to marry a person of the opposite sex, and prohibited from marrying a person of the same sex. One rule for all. How is that discriminatory?

Jezu ufam tobie!

John Doe said...

B. Prokop wrote:
"As long as the rules are the same for everyone and everyone is being treated exactly the same, how on God's Green Earth can you possibly say there's any discrimination going on?"

Consider another rule:

"Everyone, regardless of race, color, creed, sex, orientation, or what have you, is free to marry a person of the same race, and prohibited from marrying a person of another race. One rule for all. How is that discriminatory?"

I guess you don't think this is discrimination. Would you honestly be ok with going back to this? I doubt it.

Victor Reppert said...

I don't see that this is moral shaming, in that the act would not be publicized. Shame requires a public to be shamed in front of.

Son of Ya'Kov said...

Gay brownshirts on the March & they have lost all pretense they are still classically liberal.

>How is "I'm not going to serve homosexual weddings because it is taking part in evil against my religious convictions" different from, "I refuse to serve blacks in the same place I serve whites because it is taking part in an evil against my religious convictions"? There's no difference at all - and yet we feel it is right to compel business owners to serve blacks but not homosexuals.

It's easy. I would service any wedding between a gay man and a lesbian even if they where a mixed racial couple. Since male/female marriage is the only natural marriage. But I promise you this if two white, straight and Christian males wished to marry I would not service their so called wedding. Also if a man and woman both straight wished to marry during a Black Mass held at a Satanic Temple I wouldn't service that either.


>The key issue is one of discrimination and the ease by which members of both classes can be segregated and discriminated against. This is what some people here conveniently ignore. Your religious beliefs have to take a back seat against the more important goal of preventing harm.

Spoken like a true ideologue and fanatical totolitarian. How are you harmed fascist boy if you can't force me to attend your wedding against my will? You are not.
It seems I am the one who is harmed here. You are the power hungry wack job who is trying to force his will on me. I don't care if you are a dude who "marries" some other dude. I just want to opt out or do you also believe you can force some poor gay photographer to photograph a wedding at the Westburro Baptist Church against his will? I don't I am for freedom here you clearly are not. It is that simple.


>According to your Bible, slavery is a-ok. Let's just say people have a better grasp of what it means to be moral nowadays.

No chattel slavery is condemned by the moral and natural law as intrinsically evil. Non-Chattel slavery is not against the moral and natural law but the scholastics said by nature it is clearly something that would lead to tyranny and sin in practice because it grants other inordinate power over others that can be abused. Thus it should not be done. Granted certain governments didn't listen too them and hilarity ensued.

(Non-Chattel slavery is slavery where the slave has human rights that must be respected by the person who owns the slave.
It looks good on paper but in practice if implemented would devolve into tyranny and practical chattel slavery).

> "Everyone, regardless of race, color, creed, sex, orientation, or what have you, is free to marry a person of the same race, and prohibited from marrying a person of another race. One rule for all. How is that discriminatory?"

Natural Law has no concept of it being wrong to marry a fellow human being of the opposite sex and another race or ethnicity. Later Racial Protestant ideologies pushed this idea but not Catholics. Which is why South America is a racial fusion of native American, African and Spanish descent.

BTW is this discrimination? ""Everyone, regardless of race, color, creed, sex, orientation, or what have you, is free to marry a person not closely related to them, and prohibited from marrying a person who is. One rule for all. How is that discriminatory?"

Son of Ya'Kov said...

>If everyone agrees on morality, you just legalize morality and make "legal" and "moral" mean the same thing, problem solved. But that's not America or any modern secular society. If you agree with separation of church and state, you can't consistently privilege certain controversial moral views that hurt others with moral shaming in a secular context. Only a Christian Theocracy will give you that sort of power.


Irony Alert! So far the majority of gay so called "Weddings" take place in liberal churches. Fascist boy wishes to sunder the separation between Church and State and compel attendance at a Church Ceremony for let us say a photographer!!!

The modern left is not liberal they are totalitarian fascists.

>No, it is the hurting of others with moral shaming for reasons society finds unjustifiable that is "hated", not the insistence on maintaining moral character.

The Koran tries to shame me as a Christian for believing God is a Trinity. I simply don't believe in the Koran and don't care about it's moral standard of "No believing God is a Trinity".

No problem. I don't get butt hurt over the Koran I don't understand why you whimps are butt hurt over the Bible?

(No pun intended)


>No, hurting some Christians (by denying them exercise of certain moral intuitions in the practice of business) is deemed okay if those same Christians hurt others (with moral shaming for reasons society find unjustifiable). We generally feel that it is okay to hurt those who hurt others (in some just, proportionate way).


You are just sick. You are a willing slave.

>In Nazi Germany, the government insists that you torture and kill people in violation of your moral principles, today's government insists that you not hurt people with moral shaming in a business context no matter your moral principles. Hard to see any equivalency.

How am I shamed if a Muslim refuses to bake a cake with a Pro-Trinity slogan on it for me? How is the Westburro Baptist Church shamed if they can't force some poor gay dude to photograph a wedding at their cult?

The Grod man is right you are obtuse.

Ilíon said...

VR: "I don't see that this is moral shaming, in that the act would not be publicized. Shame requires a public to be shamed in front of."

What's really funny is that all this whining about "moral shaming" is itself a hypocritical attempt at "moral shaming".

Really, people! Stop letting you minds by ruled by such people, who do not have your bests interests at heart.

B. Prokop said...

"What's really funny is that all this whining about "moral shaming" is itself a hypocritical attempt at "moral shaming"."

Priceless! But sad to say, Ilion, they will not get the irony.

oozzielionel said...

Here are my issues with the OP:
1) Participating in a bad heterosexual marriage ceremony does not make participating in a homosexual marriage good.
2) There are good religious reasons to refuse to attend a heterosexual marriage. -the divorce is not final; a marriage between people of different faiths; a marriage that is all about the money.
3) Attending or participating in a religious ceremony should never be compulsory to anyone. Since a wedding is a ceremony with a strongly religious history, a person with different beliefs should not be compelled to participate. It is not just a luncheon, a speech, or a concert; it is a ceremony.
4) The moral is not separate from the legal but it is related. The legal is the least common denominator of behavior that we tolerate from people before we fine them or lock them up. Moral behavior is a standard way above that. Illegal behavior is usually immoral unless it is a bad law. Moral behavior should never be illegal. This is an ideal.
5) Privatization of religion is a big mistake. We should not expect someone to leave their religion out of their business. The practice of religion is best when it encompasses all of life, not just what happens on a special day or between one's ears. Religion is best when practiced in the marketplace. It is hypocritical not to practice your faith in your work.

oozzielionel said...

.

DougJC said...

Victor,

"I don't see that this is moral shaming, in that the act would not be publicized. Shame requires a public to be shamed in front of."

Well, there are certainly degrees of moral shaming, yes. But imagine an interracial couple quietly turned away from a restaurant as the proprietor discretely explains "We don't serve your kind here, sorry". I don't think this really blunts the force of the shame and hurt anti-discrimination laws seek to prevent.

DougJC said...

B. Prokop,

"Doug's latest comment is a perfect example. "Why won't you obstinate Christians just agree to burn a little harmless incense before the emperor's statue? What is your problem here? Look... a little incense, and we let you go. No more persecution. But if you persist in your refusal, then it's the lions for you!"
"

I made no such comment or implied anything remotely like that. That's not my view at all.

Ilion,

"What's really funny is that all this whining about "moral shaming" is itself a hypocritical attempt at "moral shaming"."

Most definitely not. I've gone on record that "moral shaming" is a pointless and futile exercise unless people share and agree on the moral assumptions behind it. Moral shaming without shared moral views is no more than spleen-venting, a self-indulgent display of indignant fury. I don't do that (or I try to avoid it as much as humanly possible).

B. Prokop said...

Doug,

John Moore made the comment first ("business owners should expect to separate themselves morally from their businesses."), but you seconded it, word for word ("I like John Moore's point: business owners should expect to separate themselves morally from their businesses.").

This is a perfect example of the demand that people practice their faith only behind closed doors on Sunday morning, but during the rest of the week they'd pretty damn well act like atheists. Yes, when things start getting tough (and they will), we can expect a majority of Christians will abandon their faith under threat of ostracism, economic ruin, and naked persecution. "those who would not worship the image of the beast [were] to be slain. Also ... all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, [were] to be marked on the right hand or the forehead, so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name." You think that's just fancy poetic imagery? No, it is a precise description of the threatened closing of businesses that fail to fall in line with fashionable orthodoxy, and the driving out of the marketplace those who dare to dissent, who want no participation in evil.

Thought experiment for you, Doug. Should a faithful Christian "disassociate himself morally from his business" if he finds out he works for a company that is a front for the mob?

For the Sake of His Sorrowful Passion...

DougJC said...

B. Prokop,

"This is a perfect example of the demand that people practice their faith only behind closed doors on Sunday morning, but during the rest of the week they'd pretty damn well act like atheists."

I don't see that at all. Unless you are arguing for a Christian Theocracy, you're going to have many different moral beliefs in a society and you surely don't want people from other moral beliefs pronouncing moral judgement on you as a matter of routine economic interaction, so you avoid the same. It's that simple.

Or ARE you proposing a Christian Theocracy?

"Thought experiment for you, Doug. Should a faithful Christian "disassociate himself morally from his business" if he finds out he works for a company that is a front for the mob?"

That's not a moral issue, it's a legal issue. I said before that anyone is free to deny business to someone who is on shaky or suspicious legal grounds.

B. Prokop said...

"you surely don't want people from other moral beliefs pronouncing moral judgement on you as a matter of routine economic interaction"

But, Doug, that is exactly what is happening today, when bakers and photographers and caterers are being compelled, under threat of crippling fines and ruinous legal actions, to have their deepest moral beliefs violated in "routine economic interactions". How can you not see this? The very thing you claim you don't want people to do, you yourself are advocating be done (backed by pitiless state power) to those you disagree with! As you said, "It's that simple." If you're sincere about what you wrote, you ought to be agreeing with me 100% and condemning those who would force their (im)morality on others.

"Christian theocracy" - Be real. There is zero chance of such a thing ever appearing on these shores. What there is a genuine chance of us all seeing, is a secular regime that tolerates no slightest dissent from the fashionable orthodoxy.

OK, you weaseled out of my thought experiment. Try this one on. A sincere, committed Christian works for a real estate firm. He discovers that this company, under complete legal cover with all the bases thoroughly covered, is aggressively using every perfectly legal yet nevertheless totally unjust wrinkle or loophole in the law to foreclose on people down on their luck (or who perhaps made an honest error in making their payments, or whatever), throwing families out on the street at the slightest pretext, raking in millions in profits at the expense of destroying lives without the slightest regard for the human consequences of their greed. No laws are broken in these transactions. Should this person say to himself, "I leave my morality at the door when I go to work, and will continue to assist my boss in these activities."?

Jezu ufam tobie!

DougJC said...

B. Prokop,

"But, Doug, that is exactly what is happening today, when bakers and photographers and caterers are being compelled, under threat of crippling fines and ruinous legal actions, to have their deepest moral beliefs violated in "routine economic interactions"."

"Judge not lest ye be judged" is what is happening here. If moral judgement against homosexuality by those bakers and photographers had not been made in the first place, none of this would have happened.

There is no back-lash for moral kindness, piety, worship, care and fairness. The only thing that causes uproar is moral judgement based on certain religious belief. Do you want moral judgement pronounced on you specific to a creed or belief you do not share as a matter of routine economic interaction? Then judge not according to your specific creed or belief in the same way. Why is this controversial?

"A sincere, committed Christian works for a real estate firm. He discovers that this company, under complete legal cover with all the bases thoroughly covered, is aggressively using every perfectly legal yet nevertheless totally unjust wrinkle or loophole in the law to foreclose on people down on their luck (or who perhaps made an honest error in making their payments, or whatever), throwing families out on the street at the slightest pretext, raking in millions in profits at the expense of destroying lives without the slightest regard for the human consequences of their greed. No laws are broken in these transactions. Should this person say to himself, "I leave my morality at the door when I go to work, and will continue to assist my boss in these activities."?"

Ah, yes, now I see what you mean, and I agree with you. We should take moral kindness, piety , worship, care and fairness with us to business and with us in every economic interaction.

However, we can't do the same with moral judgement based on certain religious beliefs that hinge on something other than kindness, care and fairness. It just cannot work in a secular society. Or if you think it does, I would like to know how it can work without unfairly privileging your beliefs over others.

B. Prokop said...

Ah, Doug, "Ye are not far from the Kingdom of God." All it takes now is to show to you how you have been hoodwinked by the secularists into confusing "tolerance" with "participation with sin". I wish I knew you face to face, because in one hour I could more profitably explain how deadly contemporary society is to our immortal souls than I could ever accomplish in a thousand blog postings. Because in the end of ends, that's what this is all about - not "fairness", not dry philosophical debates, not "the five ways" - none of that, but rather about our eternal destinies.

Nothing is more important than the one issue we've only been dancing around. As ten thousand thousand martyrs have witnessed over the past 2,000 years (and, sadly, continue to do so today), one has to be willing to lose everything - house, possessions, friends, societal respect (for all that's worth), livelihood, profession, family, mother, father, (God forbid, even) children, everything one holds dear, even life itself, for the sake of the Truth, the Gospel, the Word (who is a Person, not an idea).

So the demonic hosts need despair. They will never win. Ever ("the gates of hell shall not prevail"). They can shut down Christian-owned businesses, they can subvert the constitution and the nation, they can even establish a reign of terror (Why not? They've done it before.), but in the end, they can only join the ranks of the Temple Authorities, the Romans, the Arians, the Barbarians, the Muslim hordes, the Norsemen, the Ottomans, the French revolutionaries, the Communists and the Nazis, the secularists and the gnus (and ISIS), in the list of wannabe destroyers of Christianity.

Doug, is that the really company you wish to keep?

Jezu, ufam tobie!

John Doe said...

B. Prokop wrote: "... they can subvert the constitution ..."

Well, we've seen which side consistently wins that particular argument. Hint: not yours. But that's not very surprising, since the "argument from demonic hosts" carries precisely zero weight in a court of law.

Victor Reppert said...

Certainly "Judge not lest ye be judged" can't be used to oppose moral objections to certain types of activity. Even if we may not judge the soul of the person committing this activity, we can say that that type of activity is wrong. Otherwise, a thief or murderer could say "How dare you judge me."

Victor Reppert said...

Also you can't assume that any objection to homosexual activity is simply based on some kind of divine command theory. Natural law arguments are not straightforwardly religious, though they may have underlying religious implications. But they are certainly not appeals to specific religious doctrines. Aquinas would argue that the natural law is aimed at human happiness, not salvation.

Aragorn said...

Wow! Nobody is forcing you to like homosexual marriages. You only need to open your service to them in the same way that your racist predecessors were forced to service blacks. It's that simple. You call the comparison canard and make no attempt at creating a true distinction. Just...wow!

And no matter how you call the kind of slavery that's sanctioned in the Bible, it's immoral.

Ilíon said...

VR: "Even if we may not judge the soul of the person committing this activity ..."

Is it really quite another's 'soul' one is judging/condemning is one says to, or of, him, 'Racha' (i.e. "worthless thing")?

B. Prokop said...

Aragorn continues to muddy the waters with his false and unhelpful analogies, and somehow fails to see that he is the only one in this conversation bringing up race. (Perhaps because everyone else realizes how irrelevant it is?)

"make no attempt at creating a true distinction"

OK, against my better judgement, I'll attempt to explain to Aragorn how they are different. If a black woman and a white man get married, they're actually getting married, regardless of such utterly irrelevant things such as their respective races. It's no different than a redheaded man and a blond woman getting married, or a left handed man and a right handed woman, or a Spanish speaking woman and a Dutch speaking man. Because they are still one man and one woman getting married. All those other attributes are completely irrelevant - including race.

But, you cannot say the same thing if two men or two women claim they are getting married. They may indeed be doing something, but it ain't getting married!

Jezu ufam tobie!

William said...

Strangely enough, the racist laws against certain marriages were called "anti-miscegenation" precisely because they were aimed at keeping those considered genetically superior (ethnic northern Europeans in Nazi Germany, for example) from adding less genetically desirable to the Nazi's (Jewish, black, etc) children to the population. So such evil Nazi style anti-miscegenation laws could be perfectly compatible with allowing homosexual marriage. This implies your comparison of race and sexual preference in marriage law is not a very good one, Aragorn.

Son of Ya'Kov said...

@Aragorn

>Wow! Nobody is forcing you to like homosexual marriages.

No they are forcing me to attend what is more often then not a religious ceremony against my will and forcing speech against my will.

You are against freedom of speech, religion and the separation of Church and State.

>You only need to open your service to them in the same way that your racist predecessors were forced to service blacks. It's that simple. You call the comparison canard and make no attempt at creating a true distinction. Just...wow!

If they show up at my studio and want to be photographed there then you might have a point.
Indeed the Christian photographer who was fined for this offered to do so as long as she did not have to attend the wedding.

Neither Race nor sexual orientation has anything to do with not attending a same sex wedding. Since both participants in a same sex wedding don't have to be gay and I would not attend a Satanic wedding either if both participants where opposite sex.

>And no matter how you call the kind of slavery that's sanctioned in the Bible, it's immoral.

How does someone who is godless say anything is right or wrong?

That is a Tangent. But it is not "against" the moral law for me to pay a debt to you or as punishment for a crime to give you all my lifetimes' worth of labor. But because such an unequal relationship could be abused that is why the Scholastics in the middle ages argued against the institution of non-Chattel slavery.

B. Prokop said...

"How does someone who is godless say anything is right or wrong?"

Ben makes an excellent point.

HERE is an atheist who at least has the guts to admit he condemns "racism, self-pity, greed, resentment, hate, contempt, bitterness, jealousy, violence, slavery, cruelty, revenge, torture, and war" only because he doesn't like them, but refuses to call any of them "wrong" - because, of course, there is no objective morality. (Even more interesting is the echo chamber of adoring comments that follow his article. By their own admission, on what possible grounds do they approve of what he writes?)

Jezu ufam tobie!

DougJC said...

Victor,

"Certainly "Judge not lest ye be judged" can't be used to oppose moral objections to certain types of activity. Even if we may not judge the soul of the person committing this activity, we can say that that type of activity is wrong. Otherwise, a thief or murderer could say "How dare you judge me.""

Right. But I'm characterizing a particular subset of moral judgement as (1) specific to a creed or belief and not widely share by general society, and (2) done as a matter of routine economic interaction. That combination seems virtually guaranteed to clash with secular society.

"Also you can't assume that any objection to homosexual activity is simply based on some kind of divine command theory. Natural law arguments are not straightforwardly religious, though they may have underlying religious implications. But they are certainly not appeals to specific religious doctrines. Aquinas would argue that the natural law is aimed at human happiness, not salvation."

In general, yes. But what I mean by "specific religious doctrine" is that it is not shared by the religious equally. There is a diversity of views.

Moral issues surrounding sex seem related to Haidt's Sanctity/degradation moral intuition label. While everyone seems to "get" Care/harm, Fairness/cheating at face value, issues of purity, sanctity and what exactly constitutes degradation in the moral sphere can be all over the map even among the devout.

If everyone is allowed to make moral judgments of purity as a matter of routine economic interaction, this seems to be a recipe for violent conflict sooner or later, because we don't all agree on what purity is, and we do get very hot-under-the-collar when accused of being impure.

Son of Ya'Kov said...

>Right. But I'm characterizing a particular subset of moral judgement as (1) specific to a creed or belief and not widely share by general society, and (2) done as a matter of routine economic interaction. That combination seems virtually guaranteed to clash with secular society.

Bullshit! There is no divine law I recognize that forbids me to draw a picture of Muhammed. But I don’t see how I have the right to go into a bakery and order a cake from a Muslim baker that has a picture on it. Or go into a bakery run by a gay person and make them bake a cake with Bible verses on it that condemn homosexual acts.

Yet you believe you can force me to photograph a wedding I object too?

What is your damage!!!!!!!!

>If everyone is allowed to make moral judgments of purity as a matter of routine economic interaction, this seems to be a recipe for violent conflict sooner or later, because we don't all agree on what purity is, and we do get very hot-under-the-collar when accused of being impure.

So you are going to start killing people unless they tell you that your immoral lifestyle is moral?

Fuck off!

B. Prokop said...

OTT, Ben, OTT.

Son of Ya'Kov said...

You are right Bob but this new species of anti-Catholic lefty loon is just one step away from being full blown Nazis.

B. Prokop said...

"just one step away from being full blown Nazis"

Well, the Nazis are the ultimate in Evil, and it's truly hard to compare anyone to them. I think a more apt comparison would be Semiramis, legendary queen of Assyria - condemned to Hell (or, at least, to the Second Circle of Dante's Inferno) for the sin of making sexual immorality legal in order to cover her own outrageous lusts.

Rather appropriate, wouldn't you say?

DougJC said...

Son of Ya'Kov,

Please stop your abusive comments and profanity.

"There is no divine law I recognize that forbids me to draw a picture of Muhammed. But I don’t see how I have the right to go into a bakery and order a cake from a Muslim baker that has a picture on it. Or go into a bakery run by a gay person and make them bake a cake with Bible verses on it that condemn homosexual acts."

A Muslim baker refusing to bake such a cake has nothing to do with his perception of your moral character, it's a forbidden rule of his creed. The example doesn't apply. The Bible verse cake likewise has nothing to do with the baker's perception of your moral character.

Any attempt at a valid example has to, at minimum, involve a moral judgement of your character by a business owner that relates to purity or sanctity concerns (not fairness or harm concerns) for which the penalty (in part) is a refusal of services.

"Yet you believe you can force me to photograph a wedding I object too?"

Only if you run a secular photography business. If you have purity concerns about working with people made impure by lusts (as opposed to people made impure by malice, harm and cheating) then your business really should be a religious business catering exclusively to those of similar beliefs.

I'm not saying this in a moral sense but in the sense of the path of least resistance in a secular society. If your goal is not coexistence, then overthrow of secular society is the only alternative that I can see.

B. Prokop said...

Doug,

Yet another thought experiment for you. Assume that you are a male photographer, and your moral code forbids you from gazing on the naked bodies of women who are not your spouse. Now let's say a customer comes in and says they plan on holding their wedding ceremony in the nude, and want you to be their photographer. Are you saying this person has no right to say, "My religion forbids me from looking at naked women other than my wife. Find another photographer."?

Jezu ufam tobie!

Ilíon said...

"Assume that you are a male photographer, and your moral code forbids you ..."

It is a grave mistake, and a grave disservice to liberty, to frame this as a matter of religion, or of "religious freedom".

B. Prokop said...

Ilion,

That's not my intent here. Since Doug is advocating we leave our moral standards at home when we go to work, I am asking whether we should thereby be willing to participate in acts we regard as sinful, solely because they are being done in the workplace.

He has already conceded that we should not cooperate with illegal actions at work (as in my example of working for the mob). Now I am taking it up a notch. Nude weddings are clearly not illegal, but can nevertheless be legitimately considered as sinful. My question to Doug is, "Should a person be compelled to participate in sin while on the job?"

(And yes, I know of several arguments he may raise, saying "yes, he should." I have answers prepared for such, should they arise.)

Jezu ufam tobie!

Son of Ya'Kov said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Son of Ya'Kov said...

>Please stop your abusive comments and profanity.

Says the moral pseudo Nazi who threatens violence because someone might call him sexually immoral or suggest his or her private behavior is immoral.
Bite me! Let us be clear here I hold you in complete contempt. Not because of whatever you do in your personal life which is between you and God but because YOU REJECT FREE SPEECH, FREEDOM OF RELIGION and advocate tyranny.

>A Muslim baker refusing to bake such a cake has nothing to do with his perception of your moral character, it's a forbidden rule of his creed. The example doesn't apply. The Bible verse cake likewise has nothing to do with the baker's perception of your moral character.


You are an obtuse idiot who refuses to interact with the issue. That is your moral character. Nobody & I mean nobody cares about your private behavior. But forcing participation in a ceremony or event whose material content contradicts someone personal beliefs even in business is wrong. It violates the separation between Church and State. It is you who advocate theocracy here not us.


>Only if you run a secular photography business. If you have purity concerns about working with people made impure by lusts (as opposed to people made impure by malice, harm and cheating) then your business really should be a religious business catering exclusively to those of similar beliefs.


The personal equals political. If I am a Christian who owns a business then it’s a Christian one if I so choice. Motives are irrelevant & trying to guess them is irrelevant and a pointless exercise in McCarthyism. If I don’t want to participate in a ceremony whose material content I object too or create a message I disagree with that is my absolute right and the law should reflect it.

>I'm not saying this in a moral sense but in the sense of the path of least resistance in a secular society. If your goal is not coexistence, then overthrow of secular society is the only alternative that I can see.



The path of least resistance is too not force a gay baker to bake a cake decorated with bible verses that condemn homosexuality. Not force a Muslim to bake a cake with a picture of Muhammed on it & not force a Christian to bake a cake with a pro-gay message or a message that celebrates a same sex union.
You also can’t force any business to participate in a ceremony the owner objects too. So no gay photographer can be forced to photograph a wedding at the Westburro Baptist Church.

It is called freedom. Something you clearly don’t believe in & for that I hold you in abject contempt.

Son of Ya'Kov said...

Doug the stupid really believes the REASON I wouldn't want to photograph a same sex wedding is because two gay people are getting married!!!!!!!!!

Ah NO!!!!!!

The problem I have is two people of the same sex are getting married and that is against my religious beliefs. Does Doug the Stupid really believe I won't photograph a wedding between a Lesbian and a gay man? Does he think I think "Oh my God they are gay! Unclean! Unclean!".

So if Chuck and Larry two straight men wanted to marry then I would be OK with it?

Seriously!!!!!!!

This guy is either a troll or an idiot or both.

Ilíon said...

"So if Chuck and Larry two straight men wanted to marry then I would be OK with it?"

As per this alleged marriage

Ilíon said...

... which "anger[ed] both "gay" "rights" campaigners and conservative groups."

---------
"Otago University Students Association Queer Support co-ordinator Neill Ballantyne says the wedding is an insult as marriage equality was a hard-fought battle for gay people."

----------
"Family First, a lobby group opposed to same-sex marriage, says the outrage expressed by gay rights groups is ironic.

National director Bob McCoskrie says the change in law was “an arrogant act of cultural vandalism”.

“This competition makes a mockery of marriage, but so did the redefining of marriage,” he said.
"

--------
"Mr McIntosh told the Otago Daily Times he thought the marriage would last about two years.

Opposition was understandable but the wedding was not mocking the institution of marriage, he said.

“It’s just seeing how far two good mates would go to win a trip to the Rugby World Cup.”
"

=========
Yeah, no mockery of marriage there! "I'm gonna "marry" my best bud -- oh, for about two years -- just to see how far two good mates would go to win a trip to the Rugby World Cup ... but I'm totally not making a mockery of marriage"

B. Prokop said...

Rummaging through my well-worn copy of The Gulag Archipelago, I came across this today:

"You can resolve to live your life with integrity. Let your credo be this: Let the lie come into the world, let it even triumph. But not through me."

Bless Solzhenitsyn - he always knows just what to say. That quote sums up everything I've been trying to get across in this conversation. Let's rephrase the thought a bit: "Don't make me a partner in your wrongdoing. You have no right to try, and you'll get no cooperation from me."

Jezu ufam tobie!

Son of Ya'Kov said...

@Ilion

Wow straight dudes really same sex marrying?

That's a real thing?

I am speechless......

Cheers.

PS. I would not photograph that wedding.

Son of Ya'Kov said...

So gay activists call two straight men "marrying" a " the wedding is an insult as marriage equality was a hard-fought battle for gay people".

THE IRONY!!!!!

If you get too redefine marriage then why does marriage have to be for love, long term romantic commitment and involve some type of sexual activity natural or un-natural?

Love the hypocrisy from the first gay activist type to say"That is not a real gay marriage involving two straight guys".

PS If by law an unconsummated marriage can be annulled then how does one define an unconsummated same sex marriage"?

Ilíon said...

"If you get too redefine marriage then why does marriage have to be for love, long term romantic commitment and involve some type of sexual activity natural or un-natural?"

Moreover, *everyone* knows that precious few "gay" "relationships" involve exclusive "long term romantic commitment" ... nor even, necessarily, exactly two parties at any given time.

Thus, to pretend that marriage can be redefined, such that two (or more) men (or women) bopping one another is morally and legally equivalent to a man and a woman promising one another sexual exclusivity, is necessarily to strip the requirement of sexual exclusivity out of the meaning/definition of marriage.

DougJC said...

B. Prokop,

"Now let's say a customer comes in and says they plan on holding their wedding ceremony in the nude, and want you to be their photographer. Are you saying this person has no right to say, "My religion forbids me from looking at naked women other than my wife. Find another photographer."?"

I think it's pretty clear in this case that the photographer is not making a judgement of the moral character of the wedding participants, though, and that is that issue that I have been saying matters most. It is not just any kind of moral judgement but one related to the Sanctity/degradation moral intuition. It is solely our very human reaction to being judged morally degraded or inferior on matters that relate to something other than harm or fairness that seems to be the source of all the friction.

Son of Ya'Kov,

Without civility, I won't read or reply to your comments any further.

B. Prokop said...

Doug,

If you think these photographers, baker, florists, etc. are refusing to take an active part in a same sex "wedding" because they're making some sort of moral judgement against the participants, you are 100% wrong. They're doing nothing of the sort. As far as these transactions are concerned, it's their own souls they are concerned about - not those of the customers. (After all, whether or not they or some other person provides the service, that does not change the action of the customer.) Do you care so little for people's deeply held beliefs that you wish to crush them under the iron heel of state power simply because you disagree with them?

Jezu ufam tobie!

Son of Ya'Kov said...

>Without civility, I won't read or reply to your comments any further.

Your comments are disingenuous. You are not here to change minds by rational discussion but to preach leftist radical dogma & touchy feely poppycock.

I will mock your absurd nonsense not only with insult but with ruthless merciless logic. I will use my free speech before fascists like you take it way & or Victor asks me to cut it out because he owns the blog and has a right too(unless fascists like you get your way and force him post viewpoints against his will).

>It is solely our very human reaction to being judged morally degraded or inferior on matters that relate to something other than harm or fairness that seems to be the source of all the friction.

Bullshit! Do you think i give a flying monkey's butt as to your obvious moral judgement that I am rude and un-civil?

No I don't. But your inability to think is tedious and the true source of friction. That and your belief you can force speech from me or attendance to a ceremony I object too.

Captain Picard gets it why don't you?

http://www.breitbart.com/london/2015/06/04/watch-patrick-stewart-supports-gay-cake-bakery/

B. Prokop said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
B. Prokop said...

"making a judgement of the moral character of the wedding participants ... is the issue that I have been saying matters most"

I think this is what frightens me the most about this whole debate. People like Doug seem perfectly ready (and even eager) to employ the full weight of state power to compel others to not only act in certain ways, but also to think in proscribed fashions. The above quote is crystal clear. The pro same sex marriage side wishes to make disagreeing with them a thought crime, punishable by the loss of one's job, business, livelihood, whatever it takes.

And you think this is improbable? That "it can't happen here"? Well. Over on Ilion's website, he links to a news story about a Canadian jeweler who cheerfully and professionally did everything his lesbian customers wanted. Yet they still threatened action against his business solely because he did not approve of what his customers were doing. So Doug is right. This has nothing to do with cakes, etc. Read the quote at the top of this posting again. It's all about thought crime.

Jezu ufam tobie!

B. Prokop said...

In case I didn't make myself clear enough in my above posting, please pay close attention to Doug's statement. What does he identify as the issue that "matters most"? Is it the service being/not being provided? No. Is it even (alleged) discrimination? No. What is it? It's what the service provider is thinking! In his own words, "making a judgement [is what] matters most."

So according to Doug, it's perfectly all right to fine, take to court, or even close down the businesses of people who "make judgements" contrary to how they wish them to be made.

Doug, even if (solely for the sake of argument) they were making some sort of horrendous judgment, what business is that of the government or the courts? Or for that matter, what business is it of the customer? I personally think the guy I hired to clean my carpets last year before I sold my house had some pretty awful, borderline obscene, bumper stickers on his van, impugning the moral character of our current president and those who voted for him. But you know what? He did a fantastic job on my rugs, and I cheerfully paid him for his service. What kind of world would we live in if we had to check the political and sociological credentials of everyone we did business with before dealing with them?

Jezu ufam tobie!

Dan Gillson said...

That's a nice strawman you've made out of Doug's arguments, Bob.

B. Prokop said...

How so? It's his own words.

Dan Gillson said...

Quit with the pretense. You're only selectively engaging with portions of Doug's arguments that you can either spin or easily refute.

Crude said...

Dan,

Quit with the pretense. You're only selectively engaging with portions of Doug's arguments that you can either spin or easily refute.

What parts do you think remain standing?

B. Prokop said...

Sorry, but no pretense - I stand by my analysis. What I wrote is the logical outcome of Doug's own ideas. No strawman here. Show me where I misrepresented him.

Dan Gillson said...

1. You're shifting your position, Bob. When I pointed out that you were selectively engaging you went from, "It's Doug's own words!" to, "It's the logical outcomes to Doug's ideas!" So which is it?

2. Crude, Doug's correspondents haven't really addressed the problems that Doug posed of how Christians should coexist in a secular society. I think that instead of focussing on whether or not Christians have the religious right to discriminate on the basis of beliefs, we should be focussing on the scope of that religious right. I think Ya'kov hits the nail on the head: forcing bakers, florists, and photographers who morally disagree with SSM to participate existentially in a SSM ceremony is overstepping the boundaries of their religious conscious. However, businesses that are generally providing services to the public (i.e., public accommodations) don't have the right to pick and choose their clientele; if you're serving the public, you're serving the public.

Anyways, instead of selectively engaging with our opponents arguments, we really should be talking about how we can navigate the intersection of Anti-Discrimination Laws with "Don't be a dick" laws.

B. Prokop said...

Dan,

"Which is it?" It's both. And if you start calling that "making a strawman" then you are restricting everyone to simply quoting each other without commentary of any sort. 'Twould make for some awfully dull conversations. So, no "shifting position" involved here - just standard procedure in any debate.

"However, businesses that are generally providing services to the public (i.e., public accommodations) don't have the right to pick and choose their clientele; if you're serving the public, you're serving the public."

I'm sure the uber-libertarians amongst us would find fault with that statement, but let it stand for now. I find no problem with agreeing with what you said when it comes to any sort of public accommodation where the business owner is not an active participant in the action he finds objectionable - where it's not a case of forcing the provider to approve of what he's servicing. (Example: tent rentals to a same sex "wedding")

However, when by participation, you are either actively or passively being placed in a position where you are lending your name and reputation to the event, or creating an approving record of the same (as in the case of a photographer), then the provider has not only the right to refuse, he has an obligation to do so. (We must not burn incense before the emperor's statue, upon pain of our very souls.)

Yes, what I am doing is defining lines, unapologetically declaring "that's different". But in the end, isn't that what society, government, and law are all about? This or that is "over the line".

And as it stands now, the law, under the pressure of fanatic partisan lobbying, is set to deny the right for conscientious providers to exercise their rights to free speech as well as their freedom of religion. A sad day for America, and a sad day for reason itself.

Jezu ufam tobie!

Crude said...

However, businesses that are generally providing services to the public (i.e., public accommodations) don't have the right to pick and choose their clientele; if you're serving the public, you're serving the public.

They're not picking and choosing their clientele. They're picking and choosing what events they wish to service.

should coexist in a secular society.

'Secular society' isn't an apt description of it - it's just a competing religious society.

The moral rightness, even the moral neutrality, of same-sex marriage is no secular fact. It's a claim as religious as any can be.

Ilíon said...

"Over on Ilion's website, he links to a news story about a jeweler who cheerfully and professionally did everything his lesbian customers wanted. Yet they still threatened action against his business solely because he did not approve of what they were doing."

I suspect that the sexual pervert fascists did this on purpose: that they intentionally ordered custom-made "engagement" rings from this jeweler, intending all along to raise the progressive mob against him to demand a refund ... after he had gone to the expense of buying the materials and doing the labor to make the rings.

Dan Gillson said...

Crude,

"They're not picking and choosing their clientele. They're picking and choosing what events they wish to service" ... Yes. In my previous comment I acknowledged that that point is correct.

"'Secular society' isn't an apt description of it - it's just a competing religious society." ... I'm not going to pretend that Secularism isn't hostile to certain aspects of religion (or, depending on the religion, to it entirely), but I'm also not going to pretend that that means that Secularism is, in esse, religious. Religions claim to relate us to the ultimate conditions of our existence, secularism either deprives us of those conditions or it lets us determine what the ultimate conditions are. (This is an interesting tangent, but I'd prefer not to derail the thread.)

Dan Gillson said...

Bob,

1. Yes, uber-libertarians think that public accommodation laws are a farce, but the laws they still are, at least in most states, I believe.

2. I don't find anything objectionable in the rest of your comment, save to say that I don't think that your worst fears that freedom of religion or freedom of speech will be realized. I hope.

Crude said...

Dan,

I'm not going to pretend that Secularism isn't hostile to certain aspects of religion (or, depending on the religion, to it entirely), but I'm also not going to pretend that that means that Secularism is, in esse, religious.

I don't think it's a case of pretending. I think the case gets highlighted here:

Religions claim to relate us to the ultimate conditions of our existence, secularism either deprives us of those conditions or it lets us determine what the ultimate conditions are.

There's no lack of secularists who claim to relate us to the ultimate conditions of our existence. Religions also make claims about the morality or immorality of this or that action. They determine that X is a desirable good and Y is not, or is in fact undesirable.

I don't think what I'm bringing up is a derailment of the thread - in fact, I think it gets at the heart. There's this idea that there are 'religious beliefs', these things which you just can't prove to be true or which require provable assumptions, and while "secular" society may or may not tolerate their existence, they get final say on the extent to which these people and their religious beliefs may influence society or act within it.

Here's a thought: Secular humanism is regarded, legally, as a religion. I don't think 'what is legally taken to be the case' settles anything, because I'm disputing the justification behind various laws to begin with. But if you grant that secular humanism is a religion, I think it goes a long way towards showing that the distinction between 'religious laws' and 'secular laws', especially in the 'marriage' case, is a joke.

It's not about keeping religion from influencing our lives. It's about letting one particular religion run the show.

Dan Gillson said...

Crude,

"There's no lack of secularists who claim to relate us to the ultimate conditions of our existence." ... Secularism has some cultish personalities, yes. However, I don't think that they quite qualify as cult leaders, at least in the sense relevant to this discussion.

"Religions also make claims about the morality or immorality of this or that action. They determine that X is a desirable good and Y is not, or is in fact undesirable." ... I agree that religions do make moral claims, but I don't think that most of them filter those claims as 'desirable goods,' at least not until the religion in question develops a sophisticated philosophical consciousness, e.g., Christianity. Most religions are content to view morality as a set of divine commands, without the Aristotelian gloss.

"There's this idea that there are 'religious beliefs', these things which you just can't prove to be true or which require provable assumptions, and while "secular" society may or may not tolerate their existence, they get final say on the extent to which these people and their religious beliefs may influence society or act within it." ... I generally agree, but unlike you (?) I clearly don't think that that's a bad thing, at least in most cases. I can admit that secularism has its problems, but for the most part I'm glad that it restrains the excesses of the religious imagination from controlling the public sphere.

"But if you grant that secular humanism is a religion, I think it goes a long way towards showing that the distinction between 'religious laws' and 'secular laws', especially in the 'marriage' case, is a joke." ... Yes, if you buy into the idea that secular humanism is a religion, you're going to have a lot of explain if you want to maintain the distinction between secular and religious laws. I think that in order to see the distinction we probably have to consider the best that religion and secularism have to offer, and not what passes for each on the internet.

DougJC said...

B. Prokop,

"If you think these photographers, baker, florists, etc. are refusing to take an active part in a same sex "wedding" because they're making some sort of moral judgement against the participants, you are 100% wrong. They're doing nothing of the sort. As far as these transactions are concerned, it's their own souls they are concerned about - not those of the customers."

Imagine that a business owner sincerely believes interracial marriage is morally wrong. Imagine such a person making the argument above that it is their own soul they are concerned about, not those of their customers. Do you believe there is no implied moral judgement in this business' behavior in refusing to serve interracial customers?

The "soul defense" doesn't allow one to bypass discrimination laws because the act of denying service is all the moral judgement the state cares about.

"It's what the service provider is thinking! "

No, not just that, it's what the service providing is doing; acting by denying a customer solely on the basis of that customer's moral character, and specifically acting based on the Sanctity/degradation moral intuition (which happens to be the same moral intuition used against both interracial couples and same-sex couples interestingly).

"Doug, even if (solely for the sake of argument) they were making some sort of horrendous judgment, what business is that of the government or the courts?"

Again, don't confuse my argument with a moral one. I'm not saying I'm right because my moral intuitions feel right to me. Rather, I'm just pointing out the obvious: people declared impure by denial of basic rights get angry, they march, they petition, they vote. Since our government is by the people and for the people, change therefore happens.

Yes, modern society is running roughshod over people's Sanctity/degradation moral intuition. But I think that is a direct consequence of the decision to make society secular. A secular society can not tolerate purity laws which can take precedence over fairness or care.

B. Prokop said...

"Imagine that a business owner sincerely believes interracial marriage is morally wrong."

Again with the racism diversion! What's with you guys? Wasn't this already discussed earlier in this conversation. Race has NOTHING to do with what we are talking about! It's not even apples and oranges. It's apples and bicycles. No relevance whatsoever.

"Yes, modern society is running roughshod over people's Sanctity/degradation moral intuition"

Well, we agree there. Now let's look up a few definitions of "roughshod", shall we?

"to treat harshly or domineeringly"
"to act with complete disregard for"
"marked by tyrannical force"
"To treat with brutal force"
"to treat someone or something with disdain or scorn"

And then there's this: "In the 17th century, a horse that was “roughshod” was shod with horseshoes with the nailheads, or sometimes metal points, projecting from the bottom of the shoe. When cavalry horses were “roughshod,” they became brutal weapons in a charge against foot soldiers. As bad as being trampled by a horse must be, being struck by “roughshod” hooves is apparently far worse."

Jezu ufam tobie!

DougJC said...

B. Prokop,

"Race has NOTHING to do with what we are talking about!"

Yes, I agree. Race and sexual orientation are two different things.

That said, should people be allowed to use the "soul defense" to support denial of services to interracial couples?

Basically I'm asking how far the "protecting my soul from corruption" goes in your view of a secular society. Where do we draw the line and why?

B. Prokop said...

Red Herring, my dear boy. Red Herring. Before I even attempt a reply, kindly point me to one single verifiable case, ever, where anyone thought they were putting their own immortal soul in danger by serving an interracial couple. If you can't, then your question is nothing but an attempt to change the subject or (worse) to muddy the waters with irrelevant false analogies.

Jezu ufam tobie!

John Doe said...

Ilion said: "I suspect that the sexual pervert fascists did this on purpose: that they intentionally ordered custom-made "engagement" rings from this jeweler, intending all along to raise the progressive mob against him to demand a refund ... after he had gone to the expense of buying the materials and doing the labor to make the rings."

What's next - jet fuel can't melt steel beams? There was a second gunman on the grassy knoll?

Crude said...

Dan,

Secularism has some cultish personalities, yes. However, I don't think that they quite qualify as cult leaders, at least in the sense relevant to this discussion.

It's not about their leaders so much as their beliefs themselves, though their leaders help illustrate that problem.

I agree that religions do make moral claims, but I don't think that most of them filter those claims as 'desirable goods,' at least not until the religion in question develops a sophisticated philosophical consciousness, e.g., Christianity. Most religions are content to view morality as a set of divine commands, without the Aristotelian gloss.

And most secular desires come down to 'what I like and what I don't'. If you're going to deny the religious their sophisticated philosophical consciousness, then let's deny the secularists theirs as well. And there's nothing more secular than picking up a bat and doing in your neighbor because they get on your nerves and have things you want but don't have. Sophisticated philosophy is what turns that into complaints about the oppression the proletariat experiences.

I can admit that secularism has its problems, but for the most part I'm glad that it restrains the excesses of the religious imagination from controlling the public sphere.

If that's because you prefer what typically and currently passes for 'secular values' to 'religious values', that's just part of the problem. If this is about finding the right sophistical argument to maximize the power 'our side' has and minimize our opponents, then to hell with it all.

I think that in order to see the distinction we probably have to consider the best that religion and secularism have to offer, and not what passes for each on the internet.

What does 'the best' have to do with anything? I think it's more directly settled by noting that whatever 'goods' or 'oughts' secularism trades in, ultimately comes from the same source as religion - metaphysics, instincts, arguments based on assumptions about goods and more. (In fact, religion probably has a better resource of those things, since at least it will typically acknowledge the speculative areas they ultimately need to go to to justify their intellectual offerings, whereas secularism spends a hefty amount of time strenuously ignoring these questions.)

Dan Gillson said...

Crude,

"It's not about their leaders so much as their beliefs themselves, though their leaders help illustrate that problem." ... I don't know which secular beliefs you think purport to relate us to the ultimate conditions of our existence, so I can't agree or disagree.

"And most secular desires come down to 'what I like and what I don't'. ... Depending on how you're defining secular desire, sure.

"If you're going to deny the religious their sophisticated philosophical consciousness, then let's deny the secularists theirs as well." ... You misread me, so I'll clarify: I do not think that all religious people lack sophisticated philosophical consciousness. Quite the opposite, actually. Historically speaking, I think that most religions lacked sophisticated philosophical consciousness. Think tribal religions. They may have elaborate narratives, even an interpretive scheme, but what they lack compared to, say, Christianity, is real philosophical reflection.

"If that's because you prefer what typically and currently passes for 'secular values' to 'religious values', that's just part of the problem." ... I'm not sure what you think passes for either secular values or religious values. Perhaps we should clarify this before proceeding.

"If this is about finding the right sophistical argument to maximize the power 'our side' has and minimize our opponents, then to hell with it all." ... I'm not on a side. I'm not here representing anyone but me. You should know that by now, considering that we've been arguing with each other here for over two years.

"I think it's more directly settled by noting that whatever 'goods' or 'oughts' secularism trades in, ultimately comes from the same source as religion - metaphysics, instincts, arguments based on assumptions about goods and more. (In fact, religion probably has a better resource of those things, since at least it will typically acknowledge the speculative areas they ultimately need to go to to justify their intellectual offerings, whereas secularism spends a hefty amount of time strenuously ignoring these questions.)" ... A lot of the values which secularism espouses have deeply religious roots. I have never had any qualm in admitting that, because that is, more or less, a historical fact. However, secularism has supplanted the transcendental framework for an immanent one, thus depriving once religious values of their relations to the ultimate conditions of our existence. I agree that religion is better equipped to handle certain questions, but that is because secularism is a much more recent phenomenon. As Derek Parfit notes at the end of Reasons and Persons, atheistical ethics is relatively recent, and it will take time to gain the ground that religion made.

Crude said...

Dan,

I don't know which secular beliefs you think purport to relate us to the ultimate conditions of our existence, so I can't agree or disagree.

Pretty well all of them, especially insofar as the justification for prioritizing or enshrining secular judgments hinges on an attitude towards the ultimate conditions of our existence.

I'm not sure what you think passes for either secular values or religious values. Perhaps we should clarify this before proceeding.

I think all values-talk is more coherently classified as religious, and that the separation of Church and State in the US presupposed a common metaphysical and theological core. It was never meant to allow materialist anti-theists and theists live together in peace, (namely by removing each and every theistic shred from the public sphere and intellectually ghettoizing them.)

I'm not on a side. I'm not here representing anyone but me.

Fair enough.

A lot of the values which secularism espouses have deeply religious roots.

I'm not talking about their roots. I'm talking about what they must be, intellectually - what makes people turn up their noses about 'religion' and using 'religion' to settle disputes in the public sphere is equally applicable to 'secular thought'.

However, secularism has supplanted the transcendental framework for an immanent one

Secularism has supplanted the transcendental framework for no framework at all. The closest it gets is mob rule and overlapping subjective desires. This isn't the intellectual edifice of a coming future - it's the echoes of the past being heard again.

PZ Myers and Richard Dawkins are both ardent secularists, yet they're at each other's throats lately. PZ Myers is the good little psycho-feminist, and Dawkins I suppose fancies himself as more of a meritocratic thinker. They both hate religion, but they still differ in terms of their values. So why aren't they turning to science and reason to settle their disputes? They have none of that 'religion' between them which makes settling their disputes impossible, they both claim to embrace science and reason, so what's all the trouble?

Wait, I know what it is: their values differ, as do their instincts, and even their wants and desires most likely. Sure, they have in common a hatred of Christianity, but they have a very different idea on what should supplant it, rooted in different views of the world. They can't be reconciled.

But those irreconcilable points of view are precisely the grounds on which religion was deemed unworthy of occupying a place in the public square. People have their beliefs and commitments and they can't come to an agreement on such things, so out with that - let's focus on the Secular. Surely that's tractable, right? And it is, only if everyone substantially agrees to begin with. Otherwise, the same exact problems that led to religious conflicts leads to secular conflicts, just as we've seen throughout history.

So in all the ways that matter, 'secular thought' is just another religion. The only way to avoid that is to remove value judgments from the secular - which none of them want to do, because that's where all the action is, and ever will be.

Ilíon said...

yet another one: "What's next - ..."

You all know what this one is.

Dan Gillson said...

Crude,

"Pretty well all of them, especially insofar as the justification for prioritizing or enshrining secular judgments hinges on an attitude towards the ultimate conditions of our existence." ... Clearly, I'm open to the idea that secular beliefs hinge on an attitude towards the ultimate conditions of our existence (henceforth UCoE), namely the attitude that either there are no UCoE, or that UCoE are self-determined, i.e., not determined by any religious authority, or authority outside my own conscience. However, having an attitude or disposition towards the UCoE isn't the same as being related to the UCoE through, e.g., absolution, or the sacraments.

As for the rest of your post, I'm going to toss out a few thoughts, then I'm going to call it a night.

1. I should have said that secularism supplanted the transcendental framework of political authority for an immanent one, meaning that political authority moved from a divine right bestowed upon a political figure to a right granted by the public.

2. I don't think that secularism is synonymous with science and reason. In fact, I think that when people invoke 'science' and 'reason' it obfuscates political/ethical debates.

3. Part of the argument in favor of secularism relies on the fact that religions can't agree on what the revelation of divine law even is, much less on the dogmas of particular religions. Perhaps at the time that was a strong evidential argument against religion. Secularism is definitely subject to the same sort of fissiparation as religion. Just because secularism shares some of the same fates as religion (fissiparation, irresolvable conflict) doesn't mean that it is the same as religion. The reasons which govern religious beliefs ultimately lead back to a divine authority, whereas the reasons which govern secular beliefs ultimately lead back to the individual conscience.

Here's a good essay to close this discussion, at least for today.

B. Prokop said...

"the reasons which govern secular beliefs ultimately lead back to the individual conscience"

I'm glad you wrote that, Dan, because it annihilates every idea that secularism is somehow more "objective" than a religious outlook. Yes, adherents of various religions may disagree on this or that, and would certainly disagree on what constitutes revelation. But there is still hope that one or another of them is actually correct. On the other hand, if "individual conscience" is the ultimate guidepost, then any hope of objectivity must be abandoned, and any agreement on the Big Issues is pure happenstance, signifying nothing.

Jezu ufam tobie!

Dan Gillson said...

Bob,

"I'm glad you wrote that, Dan, because it annihilates every idea that secularism is somehow more "objective" than a religious outlook." ... I'm not aware of any arguments for secularism that rely on its supposed objectivity. Historically speaking, secularism isn't about determining objectivity. Perhaps certain modern proponents of secularism have conflated it with 'science' and 'reason', but I certainly don't.

"On the other hand, if "individual conscience" is the ultimate guidepost, then any hope of objectivity must be abandoned, and any agreement on the Big Issues is pure happenstance, signifying nothing." ... I'm not quite sure what you mean. The only thing that 'individual conscience' is a guidepost for is whether or not certain political/moral/religious obligations might infringe upon it.

Crude said...

Dan,

Clearly, I'm open to the idea that secular beliefs hinge on an attitude towards the ultimate conditions of our existence (henceforth UCoE),

I don't think 'secular' cashes out to 'a stance that the UCoE is non-existent'. Certainly not originally. My problem, or one of them, is this: the whole point of the separation of Church and State wasn't 'Church is obviously wrong or nonsense, so let's keep it out of important affairs'. It was a number of views, one of which was, 'Religious views ultimately come down to commitments which can't be rationally negotiated between differing parties. So let's stick with secular interests, which everyone can agree on, at least in terms of the basics!'

But no, it turns out not everyone can agree on the secular interests after all. It turns out 'secular values' is a mishmash of different views, and can - and does - just as easily turn to discord and war and conflict as religious disputes did. In fact, the secular track record is worse.

1. I should have said that secularism supplanted the transcendental framework of political authority for an immanent one, meaning that political authority moved from a divine right bestowed upon a political figure to a right granted by the public

Doesn't seem obvious. Go tell 'secular progressives' that the public determines rights, and if the public doesn't back gay marriage or universal health care or whatever their idol of the moment is, it doesn't exist. See if they accept that no homosexual in Russia has a right to gay marriage, or even to promoting an 'LGBT lifestyle'. They have their own crazy eschatology, and their view of the goal of political authority bears more similarities to 'divine right' talk.

Just because secularism shares some of the same fates as religion (fissiparation, irresolvable conflict) doesn't mean that it is the same as religion.

Insofar as religion is ordered out of the public square on the grounds that it involves faith claims that not everyone will share, it pretty well is.

'Secular government' only works smoothly when everyone of various different beliefs all share some common core of values anyway. Surprise - 'religious government' works under the same conditions. But differences in secular values sparks revolt and bloodshed. In fact, it's arguably worse than religious differences. I'd go beyond 'arguably' to 'obviously'.

Dan Gillson said...

Crude,

A few thoughts on your latest post, then I'm done here:

1. I'm still not sure what you mean by 'secular interests'. By definition, the secular is just the privation of the religious. Usually it's a way of saying that a reason, or a worldview, is devoid of an justificatory appeal to some sort of religious framework. A 'secular interest' is just an interest deprived of religious content, which could be anything. It would seem to me that to speak positively about 'secular interests' is committing a category error, but you seem to have some sui generis definition for the term.

2. "Go tell 'secular progressives ... " ... No thanks. I don't feel like jumping into the shark tank today.

3. Religion hasn't been ordered out of the public square. (Not yet, anyways.) Religious reasons may have been, but only if they don't have secular correlates. By and large, I think that that's a good thing, especially when we're talking about coercive laws.

Anyways, 'twas good to talk to you again.

Crude said...

Dan,

1. I'm still not sure what you mean by 'secular interests'. By definition, the secular is just the privation of the religious.

What you call 'secular reasons'.

It would seem to me that to speak positively about 'secular interests' is committing a category error, but you seem to have some sui generis definition for the term.

It's more that I don't engage in the usual game of pretending that 'secular reasons' have content that meaningfully distinguish them from the religious. I think Stanley Fish did a good job of illustrating the problem.

3. Religion hasn't been ordered out of the public square. (Not yet, anyways.) Religious reasons may have been, but only if they don't have secular correlates.

And that's simply not true. You can go ahead and offer up a reason devoid of 'religion' in the sense you mean, base it entirely on 'secular correlates' - and you'll still get smacked down on the grounds that your correlates are still too close to the wrong kind of religion. You actually saw this with Intelligent Design, where the entire view was expressly offered up as dealing with ('secular') design - not God. What was the response? Basically, "Nope, even though your view is presented entirely on non-religious grounds, we think you really mean (the wrong kind of) religion. So, it's not allowed." You can repeat the same event over and over in various permutations.

Meanwhile, policies based on 'reasons' and moral justifications that are every bit as ultimately controversial, ultimately hard to prove, ultimately incapable of being decided upon as religious reasons and moral justifications, get a green light. Even with secular humanism flat out recognized as a religion, 'secular reasons' are treated as entirely fair to force upon people and coerce.

If that's what the game has become - if 'moral reasons' that are in some way religious, or are seen as tracing back to particular disliked religions are illegitimate, but the 'moral reasons' of everyone else get called 'secular' and it's entirely acceptable to coerce people into adhering to them, then to hell with it all. There's another way of putting that: there is no separation of church and state. One church, one way or the other, is going to impose its will on everyone else. There was never any 'living together in peace and leaving each other alone' in the cards.