March 25, 2005
Reading the letters replying to David Weintraub in the March 11 issue of your paper, and especially the letter of Paul Goze, I was reminded of a little known quote by Knute Rockne . . “Most men, when they think they are thinking, are merely rearranging their prejudices.”
In response to Mr. Goze’s letter, I offer these musings on the following examples of Mr. Goze’s “thinking” . .
1. “Proper behavior is only reliably defined by the Judeo-Christian worldview.” This is very likely to surprise Muslims and Hindus, among others. Based on 2001 statistics, 33.1 percent of the world’s population was either Muslim (19.7 percent) or Hindu (13.4 percent). Very interestingly, Christians and Jews also made up 33.1 percent of the world’s population (Christians of all denominations 32.9 percent) and Jews (0.2 percent). Other non-Judeo-Christian religions such as Buddhists (5.9 percent), Sikhs (0.4 percent), Chinese folk religionists (6.3 percent) and so-called New Religionists (1.7 percent) would be amazed to learn from Mr. Goze that that their religions can contribute nothing to the discourse on “proper behavior.” Perhaps we had better not tell them because I am sure they believe their religions and worldviews have positive contributions to make about loving, charitable, respectful behavior by mankind.
2. “It is only by appealing to the God of the Bible that we can make sense out of what behaviors are right or wrong, or which concepts are virtuous.” Consulting the Bible yields some very confusing insights into right and wrong behavior and concepts of virtue. Only a few examples will suffice. The God of the Bible tells us that whoever strikes or even curses his father or his mother shall be put to death. (Exodus 21:15 and 17) Similarly, anyone who does any work on the sabbath should be put to death. (Exodus 35:2) The God of the Bible also informs us it is permissible to have slaves so long as they are from nations other than ours. (Leviticus 25:44) And speaking of “abominations,” the God of the Bible would not have good news for Red Lobster or its customers – eating shellfish is after all an abomination. (Leviticus 11:10).
3. “Just as other perversions like pedophilia, homosexuality is only defined by unhealthy and abnormal sexual behavior. In addition it spreads AIDS and other diseases . . ” Homosexuality as such does not create or cause AIDS any more than heterosexuality does. AIDS is caused by a virus and the virus is “spread” by exchange of infected body fluids. Some of the earliest cases of AIDS were caused by blood exchange via transfusions and needle sharing by drug addicts. Outside North America, Europe and Australia the majority of sexual transmission cases of HIV is now by heterosexual routes and the incidence rate of HIV heterosexual transmission has been increasing in developed countries.
4. “. . those who promote homosexuality speak of it as if it were a minority group and use terms like ‘equal treatment,’ ‘rights,’ or ‘tolerance.’ This is deliberate, they understand that race is a morally neutral characteristic and criticizing someone for the color of their skin is unfounded.” Where to start with this one? First, I do not think I have ever seen or heard anyone “promote” homosexuality, touting the benefits of it over heterosexuality. Gays and lesbians just want to be treated fairly and equally. Mr. Goze is so generous as to recognize that “criticizing” people due to the color of their skin is “unfounded” because “race is a morally neutral characteristic.” Presumably this is because one cannot control one’s skin color and because we have finally advanced far enough to now generally recognize that discrimination based on race is flat out wrong – morally. But it has not always been so. The first slaves in America (other than those of Native Americans) were Africans who arrived in Jamestown in 1619; however, the first formal protest against slavery of blacks did not occur until 1688 when Pennsylvania Quakers (much to their credit) raised objections. It took an additional 175 years for slavery to be declared ended in America. Slavery existed in America for some 244 years. As “unfounded” as it is, slavery existed in America longer than America has thus far existed! And recall from above, slavery has every bit as much support in the words of the God of the Bible as does the proscription against homosexuality. Thankfully very, very few Americans would today use the Bible to argue in favor of slavery. Perhaps we will one day reach the same place with respect to those among us who happen to be homosexual as opposed to heterosexual. But this will not happen until people with views like Mr. Goze either fade into a distinct minority or those who are not threatened by homosexuality raise their voices to make it clear they are the majority.
I am one who does not believe that homosexuality is chosen – any more than heterosexuality is chosen. I would like to see us get to the point where in this area, as in so many others, we can learn to, “Do unto others as we would have others do unto us.”
John D. Tew