At sexgenderbody (“Immoral Support”), Christina Engela discusses the recent appointment of a vocally homophobic journalist as Ambassador to Uganda, a move that is seen as tacit support of Uganda's recent Anti-Homosexuality Bill (which would mandate a lengthy prison sentence for homosexuality, up to seven years for anyone defending LGBT people and a death sentence for “repeat offenders”). In the process, she discusses South Africa's move toward a morality defined by the National Interfaith Leadership Coalition. I'm not in a position to comment on the South African situation as I've not followed what's happening, but I wanted to both give a shout out, and make a comment on “moral” as purported by legislators who seek to transform various nations into theocratic dominions, whether African nations, or Canada, or America, or elsewhere.
Because in the rush to legislate Judeo-Christian morality, true morality seems to have been erased. If any term needs to be reclaimed, it is the word “moral.”
“of or relating to principles of right and wrong in behavior… ethical… conforming to a standard of right behavior” — Merriam-Webster
After a search of several definitions, I still don't know which church was given province over judging what is and isn't moral. I do, however, have a few thoughts about how the word should be applied.
It is not moral to tell a child they are an abomination simply because they exist.
It is not moral to characterize bullying and beating a child because of perceived orientation or gender expression as a reasonable growing experience.
It is not moral to seek to define sexuality in law in such a way that for someone who has had gender reassignment surgery, no permutation of sex whatsoever is legal.
It is not moral to spin legislation that would protect gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and transsexual people from employment and housing discrimination as a “pedophile protection act.”
It is not moral to flip “transgender” and “pedophile” around to the point of interchangability to give the impression that they're the same thing.
It is not moral to grossly distort history to portray people who you don't like (and who were in fact among the victims) as the architects of Nazi atrocities.
It is not moral to deliberately set drivers' license policy so that it creates barriers for transsexuals in work, travel, living, citizenship and freedom from discrimination.
It is not moral to stand in front of high school students and say that “homosexuals should be executed.”
It is not moral to use the Bible as justification for murder.
It is not moral to call an earthquake that kills (at latest count) 70,000 people a “blessing in disguise” and blame it on an irrational and implausible deal with the devil.
It is not moral to throw a ministry that serves the poor and homeless under the bus because of a disagreement with churches who welcome LGBT people.
It is not moral to willfully distort scientific data to spin in such a way that it paints a group of people in a negative light.
It is not moral to rewrite political history and infuse it with divine genesis in order to reinforce and intermingle your personal beliefs about both.
It is not moral to push for peoples' rights to be put to a vote.
It is not moral to deny people a right to marry and all the benefits conferred by that (i.e. health benefits, death mandates) by making an unquantifiable claim that it would hurt all other marriages to do so.
It is not moral to force a 14-year-old to have sex with a prostitute in order to ensure your child won't be gay.
It is not moral to petition to pay a priest monthly benefits and living allowance after he's been defrocked for the sexual abuse of at least 20 children and call that charity, while pushing a publicly-funded school board to fire a transitioning teacher because this violates the the teaching of the Catholic Church.
It is not moral to force people to choose between God and family.
It is not moral to lie outright in order to assassinate the character of political officials or appointees who are ideologically different from you.
It is not moral to deport someone for a technicality to a nation that will likely imprison them or worse just because of who they are.
It is not moral to campaign for separation of church and state in taxation, but at the same time push for legislation of Judeo-Christian “morality,” overthrow of non-Christian governments, or governmental discrimination according to church principles.
It is not moral to insist that funding to fight the HIV epidemic be refused to organizations that help sex workers even in the slightest ways.
It is not moral to seek to funnel foreign aid meant to be used to combat HIV into abstinence-only programs as a means of funding evangelism, and seek to disqualify the most at-risk groups from funding so as to eliminate the competition (see also comment on sex worker exclusion above).
It is not moral to petition governments to forcibly convert gays through disproven therapies.
It is not moral to rush to pass laws that would subject homosexuals to life imprisonment or even death (in several cases, including “repeat offenders”), 5-7 years for anyone who advocates in their defense, and 3 years to anyone who fails to report them.
It is not moral to hold lawmakers who propose legislation like this up as examples we want to follow or attitudes we want to bring to our country.
It is not moral to hold up Uganda's proposed death penalty up as the right thing to do in Western society and condemn those who condemn the genocide.
It is not moral to do these things in the name of someone who said his commandment was that “you love one another.”
It is not moral to elevate those who do to the level of being keepers of the faith and the leaders to obey.
And while I do not believe that most Christians support the extremes of these examples, it will not be moral for them to sit idly by and allow these attitudes and extremes to go unchallenged.
“Moral” — it's one of those words that needs to be reclaimed, because it has become warped and twisted under the Fundamentalists' watch.
(Crossposted to DBM)