The contemporary campaign against homosexuals falls in the same moral category as the Crusades, the various inquisitions, the burning of witches, the religious wars of Europe, and the burning of scientists who dared say that the Earth was not the center of the universe.
It is an evil imposed upon otherwise peaceful humans allegedly in the name of some God.
In this respect, this evil even shares certain characteristics with the terrorist attacks of 9/11. Instead of hijacking airplanes and crashing them into buildings filled with innocent people, these theocrats seek to hijack a set of political institutions and use them to crash laws and political obstructions into the lives of tens of millions of people in this country.
If they had their way, they would crash these rules into the lives of hundreds of millions of people around the world. This would be the result if they succeeded in their wish to export their beliefs around the world.
All of the evils, including actions taken against the interests of homosexuals, are defended by people who claim that the harm they do is done for the pleasure of God. This is what makes them no different from those who launched the crusades, jihads, inquisitions, witch burning, terrorist attacks, and similar events of the past.
Okay, this is a rather harsh charge. Is it truly deserved?
Core Concern: Aversion to Homosexual Relationships
The core concern here is that there is no reason for an aversion to others entering into homosexual relationships. I have, in past blog entries, discussed the value of an aversion to killing innocent people, enslavement, lying, hypocrisy, taking things that belong to others, and even incest (though I have met some resistance on the latter). However, there is not even a hint of an argument for promoting an aversion to others entering into homosexual relationships. Such an aversion produces no benefit.
I expect that many people do have a natural aversion to entering into homosexual relationships themselves. Nature and created in us a species whose members are disposed to have sex with members of the opposite gender in ways that result in the creation of children. However, the fact that an individual has no interest in, and may even be adverse to, entering into a homosexual relationship provides no justification for denying others the liberty to enter into such a relationship.
I have an aversion to eating liver. I do not like the smell, or the taste, of eating liver. However, in spite of my personal aversion, it would be wrong for me to use this to justify prohibiting others from eating liver. Because I do not like it, I do not eat it. I could say that I do not like to eat liver because it is intrinsically bad, and because it is intrinsically bad anybody who likes the taste of liver must be defective. I could try to make that argument, but there would be no merit to it. I would be wrong. In my error, I would be interfering with the liberty of others for no good reason.
The aversion to others entering into homosexual relationships does no good -- it produces no benefit. However, it does a great deal of harm. It produces far more harm than a prohibition on eating liver would produce. If the latter cannot be justly imposed on others merely because I do not like it, then the former is certainly prohibited.
Harms and Benefits
Those who favor this particular prejudice deny that there is harm. In the case of homosexuals, the claim is that the relationships they seek are "unnatural", intrinsically bad, and something that no healthy person would want to be in. Homosexuals are provided with the "benefit" of being forced out of a perverse and unwholesome situation that any healthy person would avoid.
However, history tells us that people who do harm have a notorious ability to deny the harm that they do, hiding this behind pretend benefits. Forced conversions in the Middle Ages and during the conquest of America bestowed on its victims the benefit of being able to enter heaven, an option that would otherwise not be available to them. Burning a witch at the stake purified the person's soul. Slavery was defended as the best way to care for the Negroes, who were thought too simple and childlike to take care of themselves. Peoples' habit of pretending that their acts of prejudice produce some type of benefit is legendary.
If we think of pain, we do not ask whether the cause of a pain is natural or serves some natural purpose or function. In general, pain directs us away from things that are harmful. Yet, not all pain is useful in driving us towards these ends. We sometimes experience pain as a result of things that are not harmful. Yet, in evaluating the badness of pain, we do not ask about the cause or if it serves some natural purpose. Pain is to be avoided for its own sake. Even pain that serves no natural purpose is to be avoided.
The person who experiences pain is harmed, regardless of whether that pain serves any natural purpose. The pain itself is that which is bad. Actions that cause others pain – even if that pain serves no purpose – is evil.
The suffering of homosexuals denied the comfort of a relationship that suits them is like this pain. That suffering is real. It does not matter whether that suffering serves some natural purpose or not. What matters is that it is suffering. What matters is that the relationship brings contentment into these peoples’ lives. The person who ignores the suffering, or obstructs this contentment, even where the suffering or the contentment serves no natural purpose, is doing harm. The person who acts in ways that is harmful to others is evil.
If he inflicts that suffering in the name of God, then this suffering is no different from the suffering that aimed in the past to induce forced conversions, burning witches alive, or enslaving individuals and treating them like property – all done in the name of God.
Nature does not care if a person does not reproduce. Nature does not care what a person is doing while they are busy not reproducing. While I am writing a philosophy essay, I am fulfilling some personal desires and, at the same time, I am not engaged in an act of reproduction. The fact that I am fulfilling a desire, and the fact that I am not reproducing, says nothing about the morality or immorality of what I am doing.
If I should spend my life researching and writing essays concerned with moral issues, working, sleeping, and never seek to reproduce, have I done evil? Is it wrong for me to decide not to have any children but, instead, to pursue other interests? I believe that I could live such a life, and scarcely anybody would think me evil to do so.
As a matter of fact, that has been the life I have lived. My wife and I have been married for nearly 20 years, but I have no children. Not one moment of my life has been dedicated to reproduction. Yet, I have heard no complaints that the life that I have chosen is immoral.
There have been, in human history, whole societies that have not cared that some of their members enter into homosexual relationships. This suggests that the aversion to other people entering these relationships is learned. It is not innate. It is learned.
Why learn this prejudice? Why teach it to our children? It does no good, and it turns those children into people who are driven to act in ways that is harmful to others. Raising children to be people who harm others is . . . well . . . it is not the way that a morally and socially responsible person would raise their kid.
There is no moral merit to the harms inflicted on homosexuals. There is only yet one more instance of innocent people being forced to endure an evil forced upon them by those who claim that they inflict these harms in the name of a God.