Thursday, March 22, 2007

Immorality Sin Self-Reighteousness and Dissent

So I have had a couple of failed posts. I have several things I'd like to post on, but when I have the energy I don't have the time and when I have a moment I just have not had the energy to put out anything. I am finding that I might actually be in a position of dissent, and it really doesn't fall along lines of conservative or liberal. I am tempted to say this is a form of following Christ that is a complete dissent from the world and all its systems and philosophies that try to pass themselves off as the Truth, even if they deny "Truth" and espouse a relativism.

Read an article this morning about Barack Obama getting flack for not speaking out against one of the joint chiefs of staff saying in an interview that homosexuality was immoral.(I don't have time at the moment to find a link to this story, I read it in hard format.)

On one hand I can understand the offense taken by such a comment. For it perhaps is not a far reach from saying homosexuality is immoral to saying that persons who are homosexual are immoral in their persons. However, I find that reach an implausible one to make. morality is not binary. I am not either moral or immoral. I can tell lies on occasion, but not be greedy or do other immoral things. I wonder though if my views on this are too Christian. I do in fact believe that everyone including myself is sinful. None of us is in truth paragons of virtue or morality. Confession is a sacrament precisely for this reason. If it were possible to be completely upright as a human there would be no place or need for confession.

While I may disagree with the person who said that homosexuality is immoral, I hardly find that holding and expressing such a view is worthy of censure. Even if it is true it is hardly the same thing as saying that homosexual persons are immoral, and is not the same as saying they should be treated as second class citizens etc. Though I think I understand the fear of the label that such a comment might lead to, IE "sexual deviant", and thus being subject to various forms of persecution and .

I don't see how we can claim that discourse surrounding sexual morality can be censured, just because "we" believe that opinion is false and potentially harmful. Especially since that is what the conservatives apparently want just the reverse. Rather it seems a truly "open and democratic society" would have to live with a variety of opinions about sexual morality. And this is true whether or there is a genetic component to sexual expression. Science is not morality, and it is dangerous if not a confusion of categories to expect science to provide guidance on moral issues. The tension we would be willing to live with if we were in fact truly a tolerant society would be that our public policy would come from compromises of a variety of opinions and position based on opposing and contradictory positions. That is public life would be unsatisfactory to everyone in our society, and this would be especially so in regards to sexual morality.

Currently it seems there is a winner take all mentality that especially exists surrounding the public policy and face around appropriate opinions on sexuality.

Now there is probably a whole in my logic as articulated above. But my point is that there is a self-righteousness in the vocal left currently in this country that matches the self-righteousness of the vocal right. This self-righteousness leads people to think that people should be censured for saying things that contradict their position and may pose a danger to their lifestyle and POV.

I understand that a public official saying homosexuality is immoral is painful and even frightening, but unless we begin to enforce an orthodoxy that is simply the opposite of conservatism and fundamentalism, there is no reason to object to a public official expressing such an opinion. I for one have no desire to live in a liberal utopia where such opinions cannot be expressed in public, by a public official. Such a society seems to be as oppressive (obviously to different people) as the society in which traditional sexuality is the only view allowed to be expressed publicly and in the open. There is a self-righteousness in these responses that I find odious and from which I will dissent.

But incidents like this causes me wonder if I have come to "liberal" views based on non-liberal presuppositions. I have liberal opinions because I believe the world is complex and sinful and that people can be simultaneously moral and immoral. I do not hold liberal views because I believe that those who hold other opinions are all backward and fascist whose opinions need to be reformed and suppressed. I believe capitalism needs to be regulated because people are selfish and greedy and will not on their own impulses look out for the good of society and nature. I believe that it is better to allow a variety of forms of sexuality in the open because even if they are sin they are no more sin than any other vices we openly allow and censure no one for. Lets just say I was for protecting gays and lesbians from discrimination long before I concluded that there was an appropriate way for homosexuality to be expressed. Though when I reflect on my own position I realize that I am still working within a fairly traditional view of sexuality, that it is appropriate only between two people who have committed themselves to a permanent relationship. Anything else is a sin and immoral. I do not judge people in their person on the degree to which they agree or disagree with this moral stance.

This is my question: Is it really "liberal" or progressive to censure public moral discourse? Isn't that censorship that "we" get all up in arms about when the right does and conservatives do it?