I’m a big fan of morality. I believe that some things are right and some are wrong. I would love to see people doing right all the time and skipping the wrong. Myself included as perfection seems elusive. I believe that cultures and societies, groups and religions, have the right to decide standards of behavior for their members. I think a good shunning, head shaking, or tongue clicking is a good way to get a person to see the error of their ways.
Yet, I do not support passing laws to enforce my morality. There are several reasons for this, one of which is the simple fact that it’s not morality if it’s forced. Another is that I believe people should be allowed to behave however they like as long as it doesn’t interfere with the rights of other people.
Clearly there are many people who disagree with my perspective. We see it all the time on both the left and the right. Traditionally mostly the right but the left has joined in as well recently.
In the video linked to below it discusses a woman that is filmed drinking and dancing – terrible to be sure – and if that wasn’t bad enough she’s doing it with men. This happens all the time in America of course but the video is in Saudi Arabia. To the Muslim community in Saudi Arabia this is quite a shocking thing to see. It’s immoral based on the tenants of the Muslim faith as practiced in that country to behave in such a way.
Many Christian sects would agree with the Muslims that her behavior is immoral. They would agree that she has violated the tenants of the faith. Within Christianity, depending on the sect, she could be excommunicated or disfellowshipped from the organization and made to go through some process of repentance to be allowed back in. I expect that and if a person has faith they accept that as the natural consequence of their actions having known they weren’t in keeping with the doctrine of their religion.
But in Saudi Arabia, as seems to be the case in most Muslim countries, religion and the law of the land are one and the same. So the woman and others in attendance were arrested and face jail time or lashes, maybe both.
We in American likely look on someone getting arrested for wearing western clothes, dancing, and spending time with members of the opposite sex as incredibly wrong, backwards, and oppressive. That it is. But do we do it too? Do we wish to legislate our morality? Today it’s the morality of one group but tomorrow it could very well be the morality of a different demographic. If you don’t want the force of law behind someone else’s morality don’t approve of it’s use to enforce your morality on others. You don’t have a right not to be offended and you don’t have a right to preach with handcuffs, fines, and iron bars.
If you can’t use the power of persuasion to convince others your morality is the one that will help them live a better life and be happy then it’s likely one of two things is true: 1. you suck at persuading people 2. they aren’t interested. Meaning that you either need to try harder or leave them alone.
A clip from a party posted on YouTube shows a group of young men and women enjoying themselves on the terrace of a building next to bottles of ‘alcohol’ – both of which are illegal