As a point of clarification, when I said that the "Achilles' heel" of faith-based morality is the exclusion of faith-based testimony in a court of law, a member of the studio audience responded:
I always thought the Achilles' heel of faith-based morality was that it was based on something non-existent.
I want to distinguish, in these posts, between a fault and a vulnerability. Achilles had many faults. That the coating of invulnerability that protected him did not cover the back of his foot was not one of them. The Achilles' Heel represented the spot at which Achilles was vulnerable to attack.
In these posts, I am not seeking to demonstrate where faith-based morality is mistaken. I have done a fair amount of that in previous posts. I want to show where it is vulnerable – where and how a person can effectively press this argument that faith is not a good enough when it comes to defending policies that cause harm to others.
That is done by demonstrating the role of faith-based testimony in criminal court – against allowing prosecutors to call witnesses who declare that, as a matter of faith without evidence, they believe that the accused is guilty and the jury should deliver such a verdict.
In the discussions that have followed these postings, an anonymous member of the studio audience posted a link to a site that contained four different community brochures opposing homosexual marriage – a Jewish, a Protestant (called "Christian" at the site in question), a Catholic, and a Secular tract.
The point that I am arguing for is to argue that the first three are inadmissible.
Imagine a prosecutor, attempting to gain a conviction of the accused, calling four witnesses to the stand. The first witness is Jewish, who claims that as a matter of unsupported faith he believes the accused to be guilty. The second is Protestant. And the third is Catholic.
Furthermore, imagine a court system where this testimony is meant to persuade those members of the jury who subscribe to that religion. That is to say, when the Prosecutor calls the Protestant witness, swears him in, and has the witness declare, "I believe with a certainty that can only come from God and that needs no evidence that the accused is guilty," this is meant to actually persuade the six members of the jury who are Protestant. That is why the prosecutor put that witness on the stand – to persuade the Protestant jurors to vote that the accused is guilty.
Similarly, not only does the Prosecutor next summon a Catholic to the stand to declare, "I declare as a matter of unreasoned faith that the accused is guilty," the Catholic members are supposed to accept that as proof of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt – proof strong enough to vote for conviction. And the Jewish jurist is expected to vote for conviction on the testimony of the Jewish witness who says, "I believe as a matter of ungrounded faith that the accused is guilty."
Furthermore, these witnesses are being called in a social context where it is considered insulting for the defense attorney to question these three witnesses on a matter of faith. The instant the defense attorney stands to challenge the groundless faith-based testimony of the witness he is called bigoted, intolerant, and militant.
Apparently, justice does not allow the best defense of those who would be harmed. Instead, it requires the unquestioned acceptance of those who insist on doing the harm, as long as the advocates of harm claim that the harm they do is based on evidence-free, faith-based beliefs.
The only arguments that are relevant – and that should be considered – in justifying a policy that deprives others of life, health, and liberty are the secular arguments.
Even here, it is not sufficient that secular arguments exist. It is not even sufficient that there are people who believe those secular arguments. Secular objects must meet more rigid standards than this to count as evidence. These standards are what make secular evidence the only evidence fit to be presented in a court of law.
Furthermore, there is no piece of secular evidence that the prosecutor can provide that the defense attorney is not at liberty to challenge. There is no legitimate claim that the defense attorney must bite her tongue and accept evidence without question on the grounds that the witness would be insulted by the implication his claims are mistaken. The instant that the witness presents secular evidence, the defense attorney is free to challenge that evidence.
The very idea that an individual may be justly harmed by reasons that others offer only on the basis of evidence-free faith, and that the advocate of harm can claim an immunity from criticism on the grounds that criticizing their faith is insulting is, itself, a paradigm of injustice.