Monday, August 16, 2010

No Right to "Unnatural" Conduct, part II

This post is a follow up to the email discussion I have engaged in concerning homosexual conduct and government policy: No Right to "Unnatural" Conduct. The comments of my interlocutors are presented in quotes:
"I don't know if I could call it [homosexual conduct] un-natural, because animals do it"
Ben: Some clarification is necessary here.

The concept "natural" can be used and understood in many different ways. Everything that happens in nature may be called "natural". But when we talk of "natural" in terms of human moral conduct we are specifically arguing concerning the conduct which is appropriate to the purpose of human nature. The same thing can be done relative to organism in nature, for example it is natural for bees to produce honey, but not for bears.

From a Christian perspective this theory presupposes that there is such a thing as a purpose for human nature because God had a divine purpose in creating human beings in his image. For this reason if some species engage in eating their offspring, for example, it does not imply that it is "natural" for humans to imitate their conduct since it is supposed that humans are to be judged by a higher standard than animals. For humans it is "unnatural"  to engage in such a conduct, because of God's higher purpose for humans in creation.
 "Saying it affects anyone's natural rights other than the people involved is a far stretch that I can not agree with.  As long as it is between consenting adults, and behind closed doors, it does not affect me or anyone else.  The argument that society would become extinct after one generation does not work either (I have tremendous respect for your opinions, Ben) because each couple's decisions would only affect their own posterity.  To make this argument, you would almost have to argue that the government could require me to have children against my will - for the sake of society and future generations."
Ben: Again some clarification: To accept a human right to engage in homosexual conduct affects the whole of society, because it entails a redefinition of human nature against the doctrine of creation.

In Christian terms homosexuality is part of the profile of human conduct that invites the wrath of God upon societies (among others, see Romans 1:17-32).

The argument that society would become extinct if homosexuality became the norm is a simple way to show that homosexuality does in fact carries on social consequences.

In the same way I could argue that gluttony has social consequences, and that therefore government should not protect gluttony as a natural right because it is destructive to society and if it became the norm it would have negative consequences for the whole of society. That does not mean that I am advocating a food  police or alcohol prohibition. There is a middle ground between the extremes of prohibition and defining drunkenness as a natural right.

Concerning the role of government I am only affirming that it has no need to recognize or defend a right for individuals or groups to engage in "unnatural" conduct. But on the other hand good government does have a duty to defend and promote the sanctity of life which includes promoting policies which defend marriage and the family.

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