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(Kaylia Metcalfe)


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Hitting her... but for a "good" reason



There is an outdated belief that lacking a religious moral code is the same as lacking any sort of moral code… that if one doesn’t believe in a god, then one lack convictions in other areas… that a nonreligious person is a non-moral person…etc.

Not only are these ideas ludicrous, but blogs and articles written by better writers than I have already tackled (and I think beat soundly) these backwater views. So, I will let it alone.

But there is a part of the discussion that I think gets left out sometimes. Yes, its all well and good to be an active member of the Out Campaign, to write about the fact that people who are non religious still have moral codes and are on the whole just as likely to be good people as those religious types… but what about the idea that the religious code isn’t always a moral code? What about the fact that just because an ethic system is divinely inspired it isn’t always right.

Anyone else see “Gone Baby Gone”?

Or… to put it in a different box of pop culture references… anyone been following the Harrison debacle? No? Well allow me to enlighten you.


Harrison, Football player for the Steelers. In high school he jeopardized his football career by soind ‘silly little things” like shooting a BB gun off in a locker room. Nowadays though his old couches see him as a “mature young man.”

A mature young man who apparently open faced slapped his girlfriend knocking her glasses off… after breaking her cell phone when she tried to call 911.

Now, he isn’t the only Steelers player to be in trouble for domestic violence…. Wilson was in trouble recently for punching his ex girlfriend. And while both men face legal issues, Harrison was allowed to stay playing (getting paid etc).

Why the difference? If you think that it might have to do with the level of violence (a weak excuse to be sure) you would be wrong. In statements made by team leaders, it seems Harrison’s case wasn’t that big of a deal not because slapping is less violent than punching.. but because he had a “good” reason to slap her.

And what, you ask, was the reason?

She didn’t want her son to be baptized. He did. They argued. He hit her. He hit her because she didn’t want to take part in his religious ritual. So he hit her.

And the team is okay with that. Team chairman Dan Rooney:

"I know many are asking the question of [why] we released Wilson and Harrison we kept,'' he said. "The circumstances -- I know of the incidents, they are completely different. In fact, when I say we don't condone these things, we don't, but we do have to look at the circumstances that are involved with other players and things like that, so they're not all the same.""What Jimmy Harrison was doing and how the incident occurred, what he was trying to do was really well worth it," he said of Mr. Harrison's initial intent with his son. "He was doing something that was good, wanted to take his son to get baptized where he lived and things like that. She said she didn't want to do it."


Well okay then.

This is an even weaker defense than “God told me to do it”… this is “I was within my rights to bodily inure someone who doesn’t share my belief system.”

Think I’m being extreme? Think about the violence carried out in the name of religion, in the name of a vengeful and angry god.

It is incorrect to believe that people who aren’t religious aren’t moral. It is even more incorrect… and dangerous, to believe that just because someone is religious, they are also guaranteed to be moral.

Religious moral codes are not beyond reproach…. Nor should they be.

Something worth thinking about.




Sources:

http://feministing.com/archives/008856.html
http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/08072/864335-66.stmhttp://shakespearessister.blogspot.com/2008/03/domestic-violence-ownership-of-women.html

3 comments:

JayRod said...

Philosophers such as Socrates, Plato & Aristotle tackled the ideas of a morality that was similar to the nature versus nuture ideas and they existed well before the beloved christan moral code was around. And don't get started on the old testiment. I would say that most monotheistic religions like this are the violence excuse givers for society. It's ok to kill someone in the name of god or beat your wife for having an affair that violated the sanctity of marriage, etc. It's the extremely religious who encourage the hate behind most hate crimes in this country. If anything, I think that being strongly religious should be more of a cause for us to question someone's moral code, since they have an "excuse for it".

Mark said...

The problem with subscribing to an organized religion (some more than others) is that despite instructions to be tolerant or non-violent from religious teachings, active participation often leads the believer to the fallacious logic that because they are "right" anyone who does not believe as they do is not simply misguided, but is purposefully and willfully "wrong." The two positions (being 'tolerant' and being 'right') are in such theoretical opposition that in most cases where it occurs, the subscriber does not realize that they are in a state of diametric synchronicity until an extreme has been achieved.

Individuals do this. Not religion.

Religion, specifically the Christian religion, does not teach this practice--although some would argue that it endorses it thoroughly even into its very belief structure. Indeed in the New Testament, the Christian God appears to have abandoned the strict discipline and righteous punishment which He (supposedly) established in the Old Testament for what today we would consider to be crimes of minor consequence.

If individuals were not able to exercise their own interpretation of whatever religion they subscribe to, every Christian would be parading up and down the streets with bags of stones to hurl at people eating shrimp in restaurants, having premarital sex, or working on Saturdays. Yet people still quote the Bible as a source of divine mandate that homosexuality is Wrong, thus justifying their discrimination.

It makes into us a society of hypocrites. We are each allowed the intrinsic human nature to believe that, no matter what we are nor what we do, we as individuals are Right.

If we are all Right, then how do we know what is Wrong? And how do people who subscribe to a RELIGIOUS moral code (which our politicians invariably do these days), create and induct a SECULAR moral code to be implemented?

Herein lies the difficulty of living in a "free nation."

If we lived in a community in which a national religion were declared, and all citizens had to observe its traditions, life would be simple. Common belief, common practices, common traditions, common punishment for dissidents with no questions asked. Very direct, lacking unnecessary complication, and absolutely no room for individuality.

In a free nation, wherein all citizens are supposed to be allowed to subscribe to whatever if any religion, adherence or lack thereof to a religious moral code cannot be punished by secular law unless it adheres to a particular religious moral code itself. Otherwise, disciplinary action taken against a single religious moral code will be seen as discrimination by secular law, and taken against all religions would be considered tyrranical oppression.

And if disciplinary action is not taken under ALL circumstances, we wind up with customized and individual circumstances that lead to every situation and unlimited possibilities to different punishments for the same crime but with different motives. Because everyone is Right everyone gets to defend themselves in the eyes of secular law even if their alleged crime is--according to any/all religious moral codes--blatantly and inexcusibly wrong.

Welcome to American Law.

Kay said...

I think the difference… and thus the conflict, can be summed up like this:

You have every right to swing your arm around in big ass circles.
Your right to do this, ends at the tip of my nose.

Now, your question about how, if everyone is right, how do we know who is wrong… well greater minds than mine have struggled with this.

Perhaps a future post.