Several days ago I published a post regarding the basis of our morality which can be found here https://kevinmorris101.wordpress.com/2011/02/09/what-is-the-basis-of-our-morality/
. I subsequently received a comment from Keith in which he states that I fail to provide a coherent explanation regarding the basis of our morality (see https://kevinmorris101.wordpress.com/2011/02/07/book-review-a-study-of-the-british-national-party-by-andi-ali/#comments). Keith subsequently sent me a post, from a Christian minister regarding his (the poster’s) view of the decision, by the English courts to uphold the claim of a gay male couple that they had been discriminated against by not being allowed to share a room in a hotel owned by a Christian couple, (see http://www.albertmohler.com/2011/01/21/now-it-is-the-other-way-around-the-moral-revolution-in-full-view/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+AlbertMohlersBlog+%28Albert+Mohler%27s+Blog%29&utm_content=FaceBook). In brief the argument is that Christian morality is being superceeded by a culture in which the right not to be offended is replacing traditional Christian teachings on ethics.
Thankfully we live in a liberal society in which the right to discriminate against individuals or groups on the basis of sexual orientation, disability, ethnicity etc is outlawed. Discrimination debases both the person being discriminated against and the person who is doing the discriminating. When people open a business catering to the public (as is the case with hotels) their private views as regards morality (I mean consensual sex between adults) should have no relevance as regards how they conduct themselves towards their guests. In other words people are perfectly entitled to hold whatever view they like, what they are not entitled to do is to discriminate on the basis of their belief however passionately they may adhere to it. Would the writer of the Facebook post justify the right of individuals who believe that the races should be separate to discriminate on that basis? I think the answer is almost certainly no. However once one grants the right of a Christian to discriminate against gay people why not grant the right of a white supremacist guest house owner only to admit people of white origin to their premises? It may be objected that no reasonable person would support racist conduct of this nature. However in Apartheid South Africa the majority of the Dutch Reform Church (with a few honourable exceptions) supported the National Party’s policies of racial ssegregation. No doubt many of the Dutch Reform clergy where perfectly sincere in their belief that the bible justified racial segregation so if we grant the right of Christian hotel owners who feel that homosexuality is a sin to discriminate against gay people why then should not the same right be accorded to the white racist who believes in the separate development of the races?
I suspect that the author of the Facebook post would respond by saying that homosexuality is condemned in the bible while racism is seen as evil. However supporters of Apartheid found biblical justifications for their oppression of black and mixed race people in the same manner that some Christians see biblical justifications for discriminating against gay people.
What does all of the above tell us? It tells us that the only basis for morality in a modern pluralist society is to live and let live. We may or may not like our neighbour’s lifestyle, however it is, in the final analysis non of our business how he conducts himself provided that he doesn’t harm others. By harm I mean physically harm. Two gay people walking down the street hand in hand may well offend some traditional Christians, however it is the people who are offended (not the gay individuals) who have the problem.
John Stuart Mill, who I sighted in my previous post is absolutely correct in his assertion that individuals should be left free to pursue their own conception of the good life provided that they do not impinge on the rights of others. We do not, thank goodness live in a theocracy, the only way forward from a practical and moral point of view is to live and let live.