Is “Morality” Bigotry’s Trojan Horse?
You have no doubt heard countless commentators condemning gay lifestyles as immoral because the Bible or Koran says so. They routinely expound an illiberal argument whose real intention must be to dictate people’s lives and beliefs on the basis of mythical religious concepts. Yet, religion is as subjective as it is based purely on superstition which one either believes or doesn’t. There is quite simply no evidence that non-believers go to an entirely different afterlife than believers so one is always lost when one hears anyone pronouncing where the “sinners” are heading.
Doctrinaire religious zealots make the same mistake when they aver that Catholic doctrine or Islamic teaching cannot be questioned. A one Timothy Kalyegira (New Vision May 16, 2005) once went to the extent of announcing that anyone who questioned the Biblical word was “crazy.” So, despite the fact that Jesus, on whose teachings Catholicism is based, never mentioned abortion or homosexuality, Kalyegira lumped all these into one “evil” and branded anyone who doesn’t share his moral indignation against them “crazy.” Perhaps Kalyegira was loosely borrowing from Pope Benedict XVI who once said that that Christianity:
“… is a revelation; it is a message that has been consigned to us, and we have no right to reconstruct it as we like or choose.”
Yet, even the Catholic Church (On the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons, 1986) admits that there are gay people that are involuntarily so, a deviation surely from the “all homosexuals are evil” refrain. Else, if someone is born gay, is that to say that they were born evil? The Vatican Encyclical steadfastly refers to homosexuals as intrinsically evil, but it conveniently omits to explain how people who are gay through no fault of their own are evil. And what then are we to make of the teaching (Genesis 1:27) that all human beings were made in the image of God?
The supremacy of the Bible (and other religious books written by man) is the basis of most of the moral indignation against homosexuality and prostitution. But then, rather strangely, the same people that tell you that their indignation has its roots in religion are usually the same ones that also say that homosexuality is against African morals and/or is a Western import into what, to them, were once morally superior cultures. This thinking overlooks obvious evidence of illicit sex in many African communities, brothels in Ethiopia as far back as 700 AD, in a country that was never colonized. They ignore the pernicious problems such as the marrying off of pre-teenage and teenage girls to dirty old men (we now call that child abuse), of married women being returned to their birth homes because they were “sterile,” of female circumcision (female genital mutilation) which is now abandoned in all but the most stubbornly foolish cultural outposts. Does the Bible say anything about female genital mutilation? And can one even begin to compare any of these erstwhile “African morals” to consensual sex for money and same sex relationships?