By: Paul Murano – Oct. 2019
A Moral Relativist (a), and Natural Law theorist (b), Discuss Homosexuality
a) Homosexuality is something you’re born with. There is no moral issue with homosexuality.
b) Some people may experience same-sex attraction from an early age, but this isn’t relevant to the ethical question, which is whether one ought to act on it. While a propensity or orientation may be involuntary, choosing to act is voluntary. Further, a recent study has concluded that there is no genetic link to homosexuality.
a) People can’t help how they feel.
b) But people can choose how they act, regardless of how they feel.
a) Since homosexual orientation is not chosen, it is morally acceptable to act on it.
b) That does not follow. We must first ask if the acts in question correspond to human nature and the ends for which we are designed. If not, these acts violate human dignity and are objectively disordered.
a) People have strong attraction toward sex, homo or hetero, and can’t help but act on it.
b) Humans are not simply animals. We have reason and free will, and are not forced to act on anything. Vice, obsession, and addiction could diminish one’s freedom, but If what you say is correct in principle, there would be no moral responsibly for acting on any sexual impulse.
a) But homosexual behavior is an expression of love. How can you say love is wrong?
b) True expressions of love correspond to human nature. Counterfeit love does not. A small percentage of the population are also sexually attracted to siblings, to children, and even to animals; and a large percentage attracted to many people at the same time. Are these attractions “love”? Disordered feelings of tenderness are not love. There is a natural order to love.
a) But homosexual behavior harms no one. Who does it hurt?
b) HIV and AIDS are disproportionately present among practicing homosexuals, as is depression, breast cancer, domestic violence, suicide, poor general health outcomes, and considerably lower life spans. And this doesn’t even speak of the negative psychological, spiritual, family, and societal ramifications.
a) Since some people have a homosexual proclivity or orientation, it must be natural for them.
b) “Natural” is not something proper to the individual, but to the species. Male-female reproduction is natural in most species of the earth, including humans. And since humans are also persons, this union also has inherent meaning as an expression of marital love. Even when procreation is not possible (as with infertile or post-menopausal couples), persons of the opposite sex still become one flesh by virtue of the union for which they are designed. Neither union nor procreation – the double significance of marriage – is possible in people of the same sex. To use an analogy, the union of a plug and a socket produces something beyond itself – electricity. This is something two plugs or two sockets can never produce, no matter how hard they desire it. People of the same sex can never unite as one flesh. This is simply a reality of human nature.
a) Of course it is natural; a certain percentage of the animal kingdom is homosexual.
b) Activity between animals of the same sex occurs, but it’s not necessarily homosexual. People observing other species’ is analogous to aliens observing the human species from space. They may witness two boys wrestling in their back yard and proclaim, “Look, homosexual behavior.” Likewise it is when humans observe the activity of other animals. No sexual penetration akin to intercourse has been observed under normal conditions in the animal kingdom. Even if it was, it is not always natural to act like animals.
a) Homosexual relationships, if of consenting adults, are fine and nobody else’s business.
b) What is ethically relevant here is whether or not sexual acts between persons of the same sex are natural and healthy – physically, psychologically, for the family, and society. If they are not, it is the “business” of loved ones and society to never condone deviant behavior.
a) Homosexual behavior makes some people happy. Why would you want to keep people from being happy?
b) Many people may ‘feel’ happy but are not, like an addict getting their fix. Adulterers feel happy as they commit adultery, but are not. Feeling happy doesn’t necessarily mean being happy. The question can be asked this way: Can people truly be fulfilled in choosing to act against their nature? The answer is clearly no; no matter how much they may desire it.
a) You sound like a bigot. A homophobe. Hating homosexuals is very wrong!
b) Hating anyone is very wrong. In fact, ethical discernment should always be motivated by love. No parent allows his child to act against his good without correcting him, and no true friend allows one to languish in unhealthy or unnatural behavior without challenging him. Love wills the objective good of the other. Hate doesn’t care, often allowing evil to prevail out of a misplaced compassion.
a) Same-sex marriage has been legalized by the U.S. Supreme Court, and many people agree with the court’s decision. Therefore, homosexual behavior is acceptable. You’re behind the times.
b) Supreme Court decisions have been wrong. Abraham Lincoln affirmed this fact after the Court codified racism. Throughout history, courts and majorities have been wrong (cf. slavery, genocides, etc.). Truth and morals are not judged by a calendar or by popularity.
a) People with same-sex attraction should have equal rights. You’re no better than they are.
b) Of course they should. All human beings inherently possess human dignity and rights that spring from their humanity. However, no one should be given special rights due to their disordered desires, which we all have in some way or another.
a) Do you expect gay people to live as celibates, like priests or nuns!? That is mean.
b) I prefer the term “people with same-sex attraction” rather than “gay people”, since people should not be labeled or identified by their feelings or attractions. To answer your question, some people with same-sex attraction have been able to change through maturity, counseling, prayer, or all three. Others choose celibacy and find fulfillment in other ventures. Sexual relationships are not necessary for happiness. Countless celibates throughout history have proved this by living happy and fulfilled lives.
a) Homosexual behavior and same-sex marriage are not going away. It’s here to stay so you’re wasting your time.
b) If you think my reasoning is faulty, please correct it. Truth is the only goal here, for there is no love outside of truth. The only way to freedom is to live in accord with the truth of our nature. Success in social change is secondary, and outside of my power.
a) I’m not interested in your truth.
b) I don’t have a truth. It has me, as it has you. Truth isn’t something we create, it’s something we recognize and conform to.
a) You live your truth and I’ll live mine.
b) But I …
b) Okay, so long. Have a good day.
Paul Murano teaches college philosophy and theology and is the talk host of ‘Beneath the Surface’ radio and video podcast. Check out Paul’s website at Paulmurano.com, and email him at PJDM@aol.com